Facial recognition in casinos faces complications due to facemasks

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Posted on: April 20, 2020 8:10 pm EDT

The use of facemasks confuses casino facial recognition systems

There is a before and after the coronavirus pandemic. This rapidly spreading virus has set new rules for social interaction that will be taken to the future with us. Places like Las Vegas, which get more revenue from massive visits to its hotels, casinos, arenas and gambling venues, will need to go through some changes. For a place like this to even consider a return to the business scene, a heavy load of protective gear must be in consideration as a minimum requirement to operate. That alone can bring a number of new challenges to the industry, such as the efforts made by artificial intelligence (AI) with its facial recognition software.

The fact that for years most casinos have chosen to ban the use of any kind of face masks it was to prevent and minimize the amount of crime inside of the gambling venues. Even when the outbreak of the pandemic had just started, a security agent asked an elderly couple to remove their surgical masks. The reason behind this request is the feed for the facial recognition software. The gaming industry tends to rely more on facial recognition, more than other industries in the US. The Las Vegas Strip started implementing this technology since 1984. To date, over 8-% of the security camera footage from a casino can’t be perceived by human eyes.

Facial recognition has since then improved significantly in aspects like recognizing players who are counting cards and track undesirables. The problem is that it is not advanced enough to be able to recognize faces with face masks on. Hopefully, this is a temporary situation because AI companies are already working on research and development of features to achieve a masked facial recognition. Amid this global health pandemic, health authorities are recommending the use of facemasks when people visit crowded places, which is the case for Las Vegas casinos.