Macau’s gambling betflik11 commission, which oversees the industry, has restricted the use of artificial intelligence tools that can help casino operators track higher-stakes players, VIP players, according to media reports. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has asked Macau casinos not to install any digital monitoring equipment, including cameras or facial recognition systems, that the regulator has not approved, which are closely linked to the increase in the number of players with problems .
Commission on Games Against AI
The AI accession came after a year in which revenue continued to decline with a significant drop in revenuefrom last year’s games. Known as the world’s gambling hub, Macau is the only territory in China where gambling is legal. The latest restriction on casino owners in Macau, China’s biggest gambling hub, comes after a June article in Bloomberg revealed how operators have begun using hidden cameras, facial recognition technology, chips digitally activated poker and digital baccarat tables for player tracking. They collect and provide data to operators, helping companies identify who among the millions of visitors is likely to be a potential VIP player.
The regulator has asked regulatory authorities to comply with laws regarding the protection of personal data. Any video or data used by these monitoring tools should only be stored by casino operators under the new rules. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Macau casino index, which includes MGM China Holdings, Sands China and Wynn Macao, fell nearly 10 percent last week after a broader market sell-off and an unexpected drop in gambling revenue in July. New algorithm technology tracks how players are held at the betting table and manipulates their addictions accordingly. The higher these are, the more chances the casinos have to get more money.
Most guests who enter a casino are well aware that they are being monitored but are unaware of the accumulation of vast amounts of data on their specific spending habits, which violates privacy terms.
This new technology certainly has the potential to break the law, as it expands the scope of players whose breadth and range of activities would now be tracked,” Ben Lee, a partner at Asian gaming consultancy IGamiX, told Bloomberg.
According to a financial report released by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, 2019 marked 4 consecutive months of year-on-year decline in gaming revenue. GGR for the first seven months of the year was €19.3 billion. This is also up 0.9% compared to the same period last year. Moreover, last month’s results missed the estimated 2% increase that analysts had predicted for July.
Experts say the drop in revenue during July operations can be attributed to a drop in VIP demand . This is due to a weaker Chinese economy as well as fears of a possible crackdown on junction operators. The prohibition of VIP programs is also being developed at the European level, where such programs have been shown to be inconsistent with ongoing regulations. Such a measure would bring many damages to this industry, especially to the budget.
With the new directive, the Gambling Regulatory Commission reminds casino operators to comply with personal data laws. Gaming companies must protect any video or data obtained through these high-surveillance tools to protect the well-being of Macau players. Artificial Intelligence , behavior tracking technology allows big casinos to effortlessly discern casual players from high-stakes, potentially serious players and then specifically target them with personalized offers.
The latter being serious violations, both of the regulations imposed for Responsible Gaming and of human rights. Facilitating VIP players is quite a hot topic for the European Gambling Commission , which has seen an alarmingly high number of players who have developed addiction, with 75% coming from the VIP player background.