Macau casinos 'make facial recognition security work'

A Melco Crown Entertainment senior security executive says the casino owner has been able make facial recognition work as a loss prevention tool across its Macau gaming estate.

Leroy Daniel, executive director for surveillance operations at Melco, says the systems installed in his company's Macau casinos are alerting security staff in real time about banned persons entering the premises, and are subsequently preventing criminal activities.

Security software business Cognitec was the company behind the facial recognition installation, supplying its FaceVACS-VideoScan system to the casino group. Cognitec's tool detects people's faces in live video streams and compares them to databases of banned persons, before alerting security staff who can deny entrance to those individuals.

"By working closely with Cognitec and through a process of internal research, experimentation and analysis, we have found a tipping point," said Daniel, whose company includes resorts such as City of Dreams and Altira Macau within its portfolio.

"We are confident that our joint commitment to this significant project will result in safer casino environments for casino staff and patrons."

Getting facial recognition security systems right has been a challenge for a number of UK retailers, with Harrods' then head of investigations, Steve Wilkinson, saying 15 months ago that the various technologies in this field function well when there are a limited number of people to monitor but they do not pick up all faces in crowded areas.

"It's about finding the right cameras and right location," he explained at a British Retail Consortium event, adding that the retailer was faced with the option of using systems with a "60% success rate or wait for the technology to improve".

There have been advancements in facial recognition technology since Wilkinson spoke in October 2014, of course, and retailers may wish to look to the casino industry to gather an understanding of some successful case studies in this area.

Melco Crown Entertainment's Daniel is set to speak about the business's work with Cognitec, at the World Game Protection Conference at The M Resort, Las Vegas, on 23 February.

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