Macau Bans Use of Casino Tech to Beat Patrons

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A roulette table in one of Macau's casinos.
  • Macau operators leverage tech to beat customers
  • Watchdog sweeps in to restrict the practice
  • Tech is suspended by the regulator

Macau’s operators have been using technology to boost their security and as it turns out to beat the customer. The region’s gaming regulator has reportedly blocked the practice.

Macau’s Operators Banned from Misusing AI/Surveillance Tech

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau in Macau, the territory’s gambling regulator, has prohibitedthe use of technology that gives unfair advantage to the house. As a result, casino properties are barred from installing any digital surveillance equipment, whether it is cameras or facial recognition.

The news is still unconfirmed with sources asking to remain anonymous. According to a person close to the matter, these regulations are already enforced by the watchdog and casinos are aware of the fact as of August 1.

While hidden cameras and facial recognition was previously hailed as a milestone in boosting casino safety, Bloomberg released a report in June pointing to a glaring misuse of these solutions to give operators the upper hand. The agency broke the news about the ban yesterday, June 5.

Sources revealed that digitally-enabled poker chips and baccarat tables have been used to spy on the playing patterns of players as well as target those who are the most likely to lose more money.

Enforcing the Use of Personal Data

Macau’s watchdog has insisted that all casinos should hold personal data to the highest standards of customer protection as well. Data obtained on the premises of the casino must be stored by the casino and be completely inaccessible to any third-parties.

Despite the advantage of technology, a number of properties’ profits slid over the period, including MGM China Holdings Ltd., Sands China Ltd. And Wynn Macau Ltd., marking a very poor July and losing 10% of their value.

Meanwhile, the technology leveraged by these operators would track behavioral patterns and gauge what their weakness were.

Leveraging AI to Beat Patrons

News that Macau’s operators have been misusing tech to take patrons to the cleaners have been swirling all over the place. In June, The Los Angeles Times was among the outlets to report the misdoings of Macau’s properties.

Based on the LA Times report, operators have been using a number of solutions from Germany’s Dallmeier Electronic to Las Vegas ‘Walker Digital Table Systems facial recognition systems, which have been generously used at casinos. While this technology has been good at singling out fraud and collusion, its use to help casinos beat patrons and maximize profits has been rampant, sources have said.

According to observers, Macau properties have been rushing to boost their profits from visitors of the Chinese middle class who have been streaming into Macau to satisfy their appetite for gambling, the only place in China where gambling is legalized.

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