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Exposing the Dark Truth of Our World

Pubs and clubs argue more facial recognition will help ‘protect public’


Hospitality executives in New South Wales are calling for increased use of facial recognition capabilities in venues, despite widespread backlash to the invasive technology as of late.

Is your local pub spying on you?
If not already, they may be soon.


Representatives of New South Wales pubs and clubs say they want further deployments of facial recognition technologies to ‘tackle problem drinking and problem gambling’.

The executives shared their thoughts during the Australasian Gaming Expo on Wednesday, as reported by Inside Asian Gaming.

The exhibition saw presentations from multiple companies selling facial recognition technology, as well as smaller security companies, and some of the biggest names in gambling machine manufacturing.

Speaking at the event, NSW hospitality officials said facial recognition technology must form a central part of a broader harm minimisation platform they say should be rolled out industry wide.

Bankstown Sports Club CEO Mark Condi described facial recognition technology as the most efficient and reliable means of ensuring the industry remains sustainable while fulfilling its “social license”.

Craig Laundy of Laundy Hotels also endorsed the sentiments, stating:

“The big thing on the problem gambling side is facial recognition. I think we need, at least in NSW, a consistent harm minimisation platform that is rolled out across the casino, the TAB and pubs and clubs, with facial recognition being so good now and unobtrusive.”

At present, pubs and clubs can choose at their own whim to install the technology.

My local RSL Club now has biometric capabilities running on a 24/7 basis, for example.

However, this traditionally comes at a cost of $6,000 or $7,000 to install such technology.

Laundy and other CEOs want to explore different funding models to ‘improve’ the gambling space state-wide.

“For me, $6k or $7k is a license to be compliant and a license for opening your doors,” he said.

“But there are clever ways of coming up with funding models so that everyone can get access to it.”

The push for (government or privately) funded ‘minimisation plans’ with facial recognition comes at a time when the controversial technology has received backlash lately right here in Australia.


Despite the gambling industry’s enthusiasm toward the technology, facial recognition has recently fallen under scrutiny in Australia, mainly due to a lack of regulation around its deployments.


The controversy recently expanded when CHOICE filed a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) over deployment of biometric technologies in retail outlets.

This caused The Good Guys, owned by JB Hi-Fi, to pause the trial of facial recognition technology in stores to avoid legal backlashes. Kmart and Bunnings followed in suit soon after.

In June, Adelaide City Council doubled-down on a motion preventing South Australia Police from using facial recognition via a CCTV network planned for the city until appropriate legislation is developed.

This backlash has not deterred companies in the pubs and clubs sector, however, who have continued to deploy face biometrics to increase the security of their facilities.

The Australian Turf Club, for instance, recently hired Oosto to deploy facial recognition software as a means to ‘enhance security’ and identify VIPs.

How long will it be before your local venue is watching your every movement?

Or will there be similar uproar over more biometric expansions into hospitality venues?

We must urgently address Australia’s Surveillance State at all costs.


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