Macau Government Outlaws Technology-based Gambler Targeting
Macau gambling laws prohibit casino from utilizing high-tech AI player profiling for profit.
For years, renowned gambling jurisdictions all over the world have demanded better player protections and anti-money laundering practices from their licensed operators. I know, that particular statement sounds like this story will be geared towards the online gambling industry, but that’s not the case this time. Today’s concerns revolve around the world’s largest land-based gambling mecca, Macau.
The casinos of Macau can be compared to those of the Las Vegas Strip, but bigger, even more opulent, and much more expensive to erect. Being such an immense draw for the most affluent gamblers around the globe – particularly wealthy Asian VIPs – Macau casinos employ the latest state-of-the-art security technology.
While that high-tech equipment is capable of doing it regulatory mandated job of enhancing security, it’s also adept at exploiting many of the gamblers it was built and installed to supervise. It’s so advanced, in fact, that the government has apparently outlawed its use for exploitative purposes.
Macau Gambling Laws Outlaw Player Profiling
Security cameras are incredibly advanced these days. They can zoom in super close and sustain crystal clear images. They are able to observe people and actions, including illegal activity, with precision accuracy. Endowed with artificial intelligence, many of their abilities don’t even require the constant oversight of human eyes to monitor and report suspicious activity.
As such, casinos aren’t really the place to pull off any form of devious activities. Gone are the days of slipping an ace up the sleeve, altering the number of chips in a bet, or pick-pocketing adjacent players. Those cameras see all, protecting the patrons as much as they do casinos.
If a player has been banned from the casino, facial recognition software is integrated to pin-point them as the walk in the door. Authorities can be notified of known criminals on the premises, and sloppy blackjack card counters can be denied access to the tables.
One would think such technology is performing for the greater good. It is no doubt expensive to install, but with so many governments mandating heightened security, it comes with the territory these days. Of course, if casino owners can find a way to make it work more to their profitable advantage they will – and in Macau casinos, they have.
Tech-Based High-Value Gambler Targeting
Owners have been employing the exact same surveillance and facial recognition software to monitor their players. In doing so, they are able to create in-depth profiles, identify betting patterns – bet sizes, favorite games, frequency and time of day, etc. They’ve been using this information to strike high rollers with targeted promotions custom built to trigger their betting behaviors and induce further gambling.
Catching on to these tactics, the government of Macau has passed new laws that prohibit local casinos from player profiling for profit. With the new laws in place, regulators are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring Macau casinos are no longer using their advanced technology for duplicitous player leveraging.
A report by Bloomberg explains the increased hazard for players when casinos combine digital surveillance and facial recognition with artificial intelligence:
“The new algorithm-driven technology processes the way gamblers behave at the betting table and maps them according to their risk appetite. The higher the appetite for risk, the more likely it is for the customer to lose and the more profit a casino tends to make, sometimes up to 10 times more.”
The government is not commenting on the new Macau gambling laws, and the documentation is being kept confidential. According to Bloomberg’s Jinshan Hong, inside sources who’ve seen the document say the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau now requires all digital surveillance and facial recognition equipment to be tested and approved before use. The covert legislation went into effect as of August 1, 2019.
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