Ontario Reveals Technology To Block Problem Gamblers

This story was published more than 12 years ago.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has revealed new technology that will help keep problem gamblers out of the province's casinos.

The software utilizes facial recognition software and was put into some casinos in May. Its overall goal is to help keep problem gamblers out of casinos by catching them as they walk into the gambling location. Cameras will scan the faces of anyone entering the casino, and faces that are not on a blacklist will be discarded almost immediately.

The technology, which was developed by iView Systems is very advanced and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is spending between 3 and 5 million dollars to get the technology in all of Ontario's 27 casinos. It currently is in 19, but is expected to be within all 27 by the end of the year.

Paul Pellizzari, Director of Policy and Social Responsibility for OLG says that the software is a step up on older methods that were used to locate problem gamblers, saying ""We developed some custom algorithms that would biometrically encrypt the facial data that we had in the system. We took what the industry standard was for encryption and we enhanced it and did a number of other things to make hard to hack into. But if it was hacked into unauthorised people would not be able to access the data."

According to Pellizzari, there are around 15,000 problem gamblers who sit on an exclusion list in Ontario, but the number goes up and down. If a gambler is on the exclusion list, the OLG can bar them from entering the gambling establishment. Furthermore, OLG has the ability to block access to casinos from people on the exclusion list for an indefinite period of time. It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 problem gamblers within the province of Ontario.