August 4, 2023 2 min read


Gambling Capital Macau Completes First Round of Iris Check Border Controls

The technology is part of a pilot test with six border control now being prepared to process travelers from and to Macau with the iris clearance technology

There are 500 clearance devices that will be installed moving forward and the government is expected to ask residents to test the technology. Should the test run successfully, the iris-clearing border checks may be rolled out on a larger scale and be introduced at every border check in Macau.

Running More Tests Before Large-Scale Implementation

The technology, although having a dystopian ring to it, is part of legislative efforts promulgated by the Macau Legislative Assembly back in August 2021. The government introduced changes to its immigration control law that allowed it to collect and process the iris data of travelers.

The first round was conducted recently, using fewer devices, and controlled by the police. The 500 devices that will be rolling out will now allow the Macau government to see if it can handle the data and use it to better the comings and goings through borders.

The iris test’s second phase will focus on Macau residents who are aged 18 and above and will ask them to participate in the customs clearance tests. Once phase two of the testing is done, a third phase is expected to follow which will directly link personal iris data to the Macau Resident Electronic ID Card.

This way, residents would not need to use physical identity cards when entering or exiting the territory. This has raised questions, however, as to whether the technology would also become obligatory for foreign tourists – a move that can undermine the Special Administrative Region’s ability to attract foreign tourists.

The technology is also supposedly not mandatory. When Macau Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak was introducing it in March, it was argued that there is no obligation to submit iris data if a person does not want to.

Facial recognition has already been used to allow admittance to many international countries, but iris data has not been collected en masse. In Asia, at least, there is one other country that has used iris clearance data – Singapore, which makes the idea not too outlandish altogether.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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