UK Slot Machines Will Include Selfie Check to Prove Age of Players

  • Betting machines with built-in cameras will require gamblers to take a photo to verify age 
  • Within two seconds, an algorithm will calculate a potential bettor’s age to within 18 months
  • A survey found 25% of UK schoolchildren used slots, and venue staff didn’t stop two-thirds 
  • Last month, facial recognition technology also launched in pubs and clubs in NSW, Australia
Slot machines
Slot machines in the UK will soon reject underage gamblers with new age-estimation technology that will judge a bettor’s age within two seconds. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New age-estimation technology

Slot machines in the UK will soon be off limits to underage gamblers according to a report in the Daily Mail which revealed that new age-estimation technology is on the way.

betting machines will include a built-in camera

The Monday report stated that the revamped betting machines will include a built-in camera. Gamblers hoping to use the machine will have to allow it to take a headshot selfie. The technology installed by UK based Regal Gaming Technologies — a sub-brand of German gaming and gambling giant the Gauselmann Group — will then determine if the gambler is over the age of 18.

According to the Daily Mail, an algorithm will calculate a potential bettor’s age to within 18 months in just two seconds and “stop them from playing if it decides they look too young.”

The development is symptomatic of the ongoing crackdown on underage gambling in the wake of UK Gambling Commission research that revealed over 25% of UK schoolchildren have admitted to gambling on betting machines.

UK-wide deployment

According to the Mail, staff in premises hosting gaming machines did not stop two-thirds of the underage players surveyed in the UKGC report from playing. Staff are required by law to check if a player looks under 21.

In order to automate the age-checking process, Regal is partnering with British tech company Yoti to roll out the program to thousands of betting machines across the UK.

Regal states it is the UK’s “leading supplier of amusement equipment to the leisure sector.” It operates approximately 15,000 gambling machines in bars, gas stations, and pub chains, such as Greene King and Wetherspoons, in London, Cardiff, Birmingham and other regions across the UK.

Self-service checkouts at UK supermarkets such as Tesco, ASDA, and Morrissons have also been trialling Yoti’s AI.

better than human judgement”

On its website, Yoti claims its facial recognition AI “is better than human judgement” and can analyze a selfie to detect if a bettor is under the age of 23 with 99.65% accuracy. 

A common issue

Policing at-risk gamblers within land-based gaming is a difficult problem in markets across the world.

Last month, facial recognition technology launched in pubs and clubs in New South Wales (NSW), Australia focused on policing self-excluded gamblers. People on the NSW self-exclusion register have already provided photos and permitted them to be used.

Meanwhile, Japan has also looked into implementing such technology to stop addicts from accessing gambling facilities.

To combat underage users trying to pass off as adults on the social media platform, Instagram plans to roll out Yoti software before 2023.