Las Vegas Strip Casinos Invest in Facial Recognition Technology
Las Vegas Strip casinos are employing facial recognition technology for security and business reasons. PwC Connected Solutions recently put its facial recognition technology on display at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
Alec Massey, the director of PwC’s Connected Solutions practice, said during the G2E that a Las Vegas Strip casino uses his company’s technology. Massey said his company works with a variety of hospitality companies, but all major casinos will use facial recognition technology in the future.
The PwC representative told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “These technologies like facial recognition are being deployed today. The actual wave is happening now.”
Such a prediction might not surprise readers, but Alec Massey said it is the various uses of facial recognition tech which might surprise people. Most people have heard of the iPhone X’s use of facial recognition technology to unlock devices, so they probably understand the boost to security such technology entails. For instance, casinos can uplink to a crime database to make certain dangerous criminals do not enter the resort.
MelGuard Facial Recognition
A casino might keep a database of blacklisted card counters or other players they might consider “cheats”. In Japan, Melco Resorts & Entertainment plans to introduce the MelGuard facial recognition technology to keep track of the number of visits players make in a week or a month; Japan has a limit on the number of visits per week and visits per month for real money gamblers.
What casino are not talking about is the biometric data being collected with facial recognition technology. For instance, some table game manufacturers now place facial recognition tech in their gaming tables.
Massey said, “Forward-thinking suppliers are integrating biometrics into their casino products, greatly increasing the available data on table play. Several companies are doing this now.”
Marketing with Biometric Data
Casino management can use the data collected to market better to customers. For certain, the technology can be used to keep a more accurate count of player activity, so the casino can offer comps to the right kind of customers. Beyond that, biometric data can be used to dissect a player’s gaming habits.
In that case, the casino can see which type of bets appeal to a player, how much alcohol consumption affects play, or the player’s reactions to wins and losses. Like poker history software, casinos can develop a playbook on every individual gambler. They thus can tailor marketing packages to high rollers — or anyone else.
Card Counters Blacklist
Certainly, facial recognition technology can be used to spot card counting or other cheats, by searching for suspicious body language or outright evidence of cheating. But it is the marketing possibilities which will be the workhorse for casinos which collect biometric data.
Alec Massey would not give the name of the Las Vegas Strip casino which bought PwC’s technology. A number of Vegas Strip casino operators contacted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal declined to comment on facial recognition technology or biometric data collection.
How Facial Recognition Increases Security
Massey emphasized the security advantages to using such technology. The Review-Journal article noted:
“Facial recognition technology enables security to potentially identify people, such as criminals, by matching facial features captured on video with an existing database of photographs.
“Massey said hotel and resort operators may use biometrics — such as facial recognition or vein pattern recognition — down the road as part of multi-factor authentication to access physical locations such as guest rooms or back-of-house areas.
“That could potentially stop unauthorized people from gaining access to restricted areas. A Las Vegas man posing as a delivery driver was arrested earlier this year after repeatedly robbed casinos by entering their back-of-house areas.”
Restricted Areas of the Casino
In short, CwP’s technology should bolster casino security. Visitors will be restricted from sensitive areas of the casino, so people like the fake delivery driver cannot rob the casino by gaining access to the backroom parts of the resort.
A year after the Mandalay Bay shooting, casino patrons and shareholders alike want heightened security. Casino companies do not like to place obvious signs of security in many cases, thinking it might hurt their image or turn off customers. Something hidden like facial recognition technology is a way to upgrade security in an innocuous, subtle way.