UK: Thousands Of Betting Machines To Prevent Underage Gambling Through Facial Age-Estimation Technology

UK: Thousands Of Betting Machines To Prevent Underage Gambling Through Facial Age-Estimation Technology

The UK will see further underage gambling prevention efforts with the installation of new age-estimation technology on thousands of betting machines, whether in bars, pubs, and or service stations across the country. Gauselmann subsidiary Regal Gaming Technologies is teaming up with tech firm Yoti to deliver the solution.

This facial age-estimation technology takes a picture of the player through a camera installed in the machine before they are allowed to play. Within two seconds, an algorithm will determine their age to within 18 months, and stop them from playing if it decides they look too young.

This move comes as a consequence of more than a quarter of schoolchildren admitting to having bet on fruit machines, according to research carried out by the UK Gambling Commission. Two-thirds were not stopped from doing so by staff, who are obligated by law to check whether a player is underage or not.

As reported by the Daily Mail, the British tech firm behind the age-verification software, Yoti, stated the algorithm can analyze a photo to detect when a player is under the age of 23 “with 99.65% accuracy.” It also states it can estimate the age of a person between the ages of 13 and 19, to within 18 months of their true age.

Yoti emphasized the technology is “privacy-friendly”, as it does not cross-check people against a database of faces, and deletes the image instantly once it has been checked. Players can also verify their age on a free Yoti app, and then use it every time they want to play on a machine by scanning a QR code with their smartphone.

The new technology is being installed by Merkur’s Regal Gaming Technologies, which operates around 15,000 machines across the UK and supplies them to chains including Wetherspoons and Greene King.

Instagram recently announced it would introduce the software ‘by the end of the year’ to verify whether underage users in the UK were trying to change their age on their app to appear as an adult.

Robin Tombs, chief executive of Yoti, stated: “We are committed to using our tech for good, in particular how we can help protect against anyone underage accessing age-restricted leisure activities or online content.”