NSW Labor and Liberal tight-lipped on facial recognition technology vendors

The gambling reform packages for both the New South Wales (NSW) Labor and Liberal parties include the use of facial recognition technology (FRT), but neither party has disclosed which vendor technology they plan to use.

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Last month, Opposition leader Chris Minns confirmed that Labor will mandate FRT at gaming venues should Labor win the election next month.

It comes after ClubsNSW announced in October 2022 that 100 pubs and clubs in the state had voluntarily deployed FRT to identify problem gamblers who have opted into the self-exclusion register by matching them to photos that were supplied by the participants.

ClubsNSW and indeed The Star Entertainment Group – which unveiled 15 new facial recognition cameras in September – have not revealed which systems are in place.

Also included in a Labor win would be an additional third-party register for identifying money launderers. Last month, the party announced a list of major gambling reforms it would implement, including a year-long trial of cashless gaming cards, the banning of political donations from clubs and the banning of signage advertising poker machines (pokies) outside venues.

Inspiration may be taken from South Australia, where using FRT to identify people on the self-exclusion scheme was mandated in 2020. Venues are limited to eight approved vendors, with data from June 2021 showing that 80% of venues had deployed Vix Vizion’s Imagus facial recognition software.

However, in contrast to South Australia’s law – which mandates that FRT be used at venues operating 30 or more pokies – the Labor scheme proposes that FRT will be required for all venues that operate gaming machines.

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