Casinos using Facial Recognition to Increase Security

by Joe Ellison Last Updated
casino facial recognition

Casinos use facial recognition technology. Since a few years, casinos in the United Kingdom have been able to track every player who enters their facility thanks to advances in facial recognition technology. If you visit one of London’s ritzier casinos in the west end, you may be required to undergo a face scan and consent to being watched while on the premises.

Although this has caused serious privacy concerns, those fighting gambling addiction and crime also view it as a positive development.

Although it will never be acceptable to everyone, facial recognition software is growing in popularity in the casino sector. Here are some details about how facial recognition technology currently operates in UK casinos and what’s planned for the future…

What Exactly Is the Casino’s Facial Recognition System?

Nowadays, the idea of facial recognition technology is not seen as purely futuristic. It is now a reality, and the UK gambling industry is starting to take notice of the change. An intriguing list of details about the facial recognition technology used in casinos is provided below:

  • Modern technologies like facial recognition are becoming more and more common in many fields, including online casinos.
  • The most recent casino software in UK casinos includes facial recognition to give players a safer gaming environment.
  • Facial recognition technology can identify and apprehend criminals, lessen fraud, and improve overall security measures in casinos with the aid of artificial intelligence.
  • The cost of installing functional facial recognition software can reach £50,000. This is due to the fact that for it to operate efficiently, it needs regular tech updates and trained staff.
  • The faces of players, criminals, and self-excluded gamblers must all be stored in a database that is accessible to casinos that use facial recognition technology.
  • Only a few well-known casinos in the UK are currently utilising facial recognition technology. The technology is, however, anticipated to spread more widely in the future.
  • The casinos in Vegas and Atlantic City in the US can invest in and use facial recognition technology more easily because of their greater financial resources and laxer laws.
  • Although facial recognition technology in UK casinos is still in its infancy, it is anticipated that as the technology develops and becomes more widely available, it will become more widely used.

Casinos with facial recognition

Right now only the biggest highstreet casinos feature facial recognition technology. This includes venues such as London’s Hippodrome, which enacted facial recognition in July 2021.

The casino states:

“If your image is held on our exclusion databases (self-exclusion or suspension), then your image will be processed by the system and our security teams will be alerted to your attempted entry. Security will manually monitor your activity on conventional CCTV to ensure a positive ID, then you may be approached.

“If your image is NOT held on our exclusion database, then your image will be scanned by the system, then immediately deleted. No copies of images are retained in any way beyond this initial scan.”

Thankfully more and more online casinos harness the power of facial recognition. If you download the best casino apps you’ll likely be asked if you want to activate facial recognition with your iPhone or Android device. Apps now come with this level of security as standard, and the casino industry is no different.

However, there is a difference between what land-based casinos use facial recognition for, and how the online industry benefits.

Whereas highstreet casinos need facial recognition to help prevent self-excluded players and criminals from entering their premises, in the online world it’s all about player security. Facial recognition gives online casinos an extra layer of account security for their players. It means hackers find it harder to breach security systems, and player details remain safe.

The actual use of facial recognition to “catch” criminals in the online world is redundant – that’s just not what the tech is used for. 

What is the process for facial recognition in online casinos?

Online casino facial recognition: How it works

Casinos can now track your face when you play at table games and ensure you’re not self-excluded from their premises.

Indeed, online facial recognition in even the best mobile casino is controversial. Critics believe that it is data harvesting and invading players’ privacy. However, advocates claim that the security benefits far outweigh the risks.

Online casino facial recognition is not the same as what’s used on the highstreet. It is not there to catch self-excluded players, or criminals. Instead, it acts as an extra layer of password security when players are accessing their accounts.

And it works in exactly the same way as any other app. Your mobile device has a pre-scanned image of your face, which any iPhone or Android app can gain access to – with your permission – in order to confirm it’s you. All you need to do when opening the casino app is show your face to your selfie camera.

From this point on, the online casino will confirm your identity before giving you access to your account, the casino’s home page, and its collection of games, which includes online slots UK.

And that’s it. Your face acts as a password to gain access to your casino profile. It doesn’t alert authorities that you’ve self-excluded.

Some advantages that casino players can get from facial recognition systems include the following:

There are plenty of benefits of facial recognition that proponents tell us will immeasurably help our lives. These include:

  1. Casino security – Ensuring criminals are not operating in a casino is good for everyone else attending and wanting to have a fun time at the tables.
  2. Account security – People’s accounts are less likely to be breached with facial recognition software.
  3. Monitoring – Casinos have the ability to monitor a player’s gameplay and advise them when they’ve gone too far, potentially preventing them from wagering beyond their means.
  4. Easier access – Casinos with facial recognition software can more easily provide access for players, and swiftly deal with criminals who try to enter.

Of course, a casino won’t reap the full rewards of facial recognition software unless it makes full use of the technology. This requires training security personnel in the effective and efficient use of technology. Additional expenses include keeping an exclusion database up to date and paying for technological advancements.

If a casino is unwilling to do this, players will be less likely to want to play at its tables. After all, a casino with good customer service is more likely to attract repeat business.

Why facial recognition in casinos is controversial

The big issue most people have with facial recognition is privacy. Some may argue we’re already a CCTV nation, so what’s the harm in more monitoring and surveillance, especially if it helps catch criminals?

Well, here are a few of the reasons why casino facial recognition is controversial:

  • Player privacy – There is a worry casinos could track and monitor how often a player bets at their establishment. Perhaps the player doesn’t want people to know.
  • Personal data – Casinos need to be trusted with handling people’s intimate personal data. This is difficult when casinos sometimes attract criminals, and requires a robust security strategy to maintain.
  • Selling data – Selling data to third-party clients is a big privacy worry in the 21st century, and advertisers would love to know if you’re a regular casino-goer.

Is Casino Facial Recognition Here To Stay?

No matter your feelings on casino facial recognition software, it’s fair to say that the tech’s influence will only grow over the next decade.

Highstreet casinos need high-level tech to fight increasingly sophisticated criminals. What’s more, the growing prevalence of self-excluded gamblers means casinos cannot simply rely on their security staff to spot every problem gamer.

As the Hippodrome states: “We make every effort to ensure the building is a safe and enjoyable environment for our visitors and to assist our efforts, we use live facial recognition technology (LFR) in the building.”

In the online world it’s slightly different. If you want to play at the best casino games then you’re almost certain to have provided your facial details as part of account security. Logging into apps with our face is now the norm, it’s not going to go away.

About the Author


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Joe is a journalist, editor and copywriter who specialises in sport, politics, film and the gaming industry. He works on Fleet Street for national newspapers and other publicans across the UK and in North America. He is an experienced product reviewer and editor for global brands and gambing companies. He has interviewed everyone from elite sport stars to the next generation of influential business people.
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