Monday June 10, 2013 : NEW PROBLEM GAMBLING MEASURE TO BE TRIALLED IN NEW ZEALAND
 
Facial recognition software to be linked to slot machines
 
Every year class 4 gaming societies in New Zealand contribute around NZ$18.5 million to the Ministry of Health in the form of a problem gambling levy which funds the Ministry’s Integrated Problem Gambling Strategy, and this week the NZCT chief executive, Mike Knell said that intervention services are working well.
 
He pointed to a recently released AUT study led by Professor Max Abbot, which tracked 462 Gambling Helpline callers and found that, after a year, three-quarters of them had quit or significantly reduced their gambling.
 
"To be sustainable, and to continue helping New Zealand communities, it’s essential we have effective problem gambling services which can support people who need help," said Knell. "Although New Zealand has one of the lowest problem gambling rates (0.3%) in the world, we know this addiction can have serious consequences for those affected."
 
Knell gave an interesting insight into a new project which is now being trialled in land casinos in the land of the long white cloud, revealing that NZCT is trying out facial recognition software, developed by Hamilton-based company Positive Outlook.
 
The software recognises excluded gamblers and turns off any machine they try to play.
 
"This software could be an exciting addition to the suite of problem gambling services available, because it puts the ambulance at the top of the cliff and stops excluded gamblers from using the machines at all," says Knell.
 
"The software is still in the trial phase, but we are optimistic it will be successful. Its early days in the software’s development, but initial results are very encouraging."