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New South Wales plots facial recognition tech for pubs and clubs

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The Australian Greens, the third largest political party by vote, has criticized plans to install facial recognition technology in all pubs and clubs in the state of New South Wales. The technology is aimed at keeping people with self-imposed gambling bans from gambling.

Related: Australian clubs call for facial recognition tech to watch drinkers and gamblers

The ClubsNSW and the Australian Hotels Association NSW said a state-of-the-art facial recognition system will be installed in all hotels and clubs in NSW next year. The system will scan the faces of everyone entering the gaming area and check them against a list of people who have registered in the self-exclusion system.

“Close to 100 clubs are already using this technology and the feedback is that it works,” said ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis. He added that they have implemented strict privacy protection measures.

Australian Hotels Association NSW CEO John Whelan said that the technology had successfully been trialed in six hotels.

“Technology now allows us to accurately identify self-excluded problem gamblers and then stop them from gambling,” he added.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann criticized the move, calling it “a sop to the powerful gambling industry.” In her opinion, there are better solutions like cashless gambling cards.

“Pokies operators are so scared of a mandatory gambling card that they’ve turned to invasive and inconsistent facial recognition technology instead,” she said.

“The NSW government has lost its mind if it thinks people want pubs and clubs to have self-managed facial recognition tech. This is as terrifying as it is absurd.”

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