Australia bets on facial recognition for problem gamblers

MELBOURNE – As guests arrive at eastern Australia's Warilla Hotel, a small camera equipped with facial recognition software scans their faces as part of a scheme to tackle problem gambling.

The tech – which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify addicts who have asked to be barred from betting sites – is set to be rolled out across gambling venues in the state of New South Wales next year.

Supporters say it will help curb problem gambling in a country where the addiction affects about 1% of the population and annual losses run to billions of dollars.

But the technology is "invasive, dangerous and undermines our most basic and fundamental rights", said Samantha Floreani, programme lead at Digital Rights Watch, a non-profit.