Facing up to your responsiblities


iView Systems of Oakville has made a biometrics system for face recognition that will be used and unveiled in Ontario by the OLG for casinos in May, to help ID self-excluded gamblers.

iView Systems of Oakville has made a biometrics system for face recognition that will be used and unveiled in Ontario by the OLG for casinos in May, to help ID self-excluded gamblers.

Moving on; at some point after any tragedy we all have to move on.  The literature of psychology is full of descriptions and prescriptions of the process and on that point all are in agreement; it is a process.  I have no personal involvement in the events in Gabrielle Giffords’ life, so I have no real emotional need to move on, except in the way we all had after September 11th of 2001; most of us were not directly effected, but still at the same time the majority of the people in the country did feel a real emotional pain; collectively we entered a period of morning.  We experienced the same type of emotions after the assignations of John and Edward Kennedy and Martin Luther King; political assignations are really scary, they undermine our entire system of government and threaten all of our security.  We have a formal mechanism for replacing elected officials; often after a particularly heated campaign season people from other countries will show surprise at the bloodless transfer of power we experience.  Our system may not be perfect, but a glance at Sudan, Afghanistan or Sri Lanka will indicate it is far from the worse and it produces no battles, deaths or suicide bombers – that is until something like this happens. The attack in Arizona also bothers me because of its implications on public safety in general; we know flying is no longer safe and now shopping or attending a public gathering may not feel so secure.  It further bothers me because of the way some people are trying to use her pain to further their cause.  But now it is time for me to let it go – although petty of others are still shaking it for all they are worth – and move on.

In Ontario, Canada they are installing facial recognition technology to keep self-declared problem gamblers from sneaking into the casinos.  One suspects that the same technology will appear in many places in our lives over time – acting both as a security device and as a pass, possibly instead of a driver’s license or passport and even a system for charging admission – billing the face was data is on file.

However, even this technology would not have helped the gambler in Las Vegas who is locked in a legal battle with the Venetian over his debts.  They say he owes them lots of money, he says he revoked his credit line and told them he was not to be allowed to gamble – and yet they gave him $500,000 more on credit.  That is one of the issue about problem gambling we have yet to solve, how to keep an addicted gambler from gambling if he clearly says he does not want to be allowed to gamble and then does every he can to sneak back into the casino and gamble.  Ontario may have found a solution to that problem, but it is one more step away from personal responsibly and reliance on technology to police our behaviors – not a positive philosophical step in my mind.

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1 Response to “Facing up to your responsiblities”


  1. 1 Rex Stock January 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    As many of you know, Ken and I are friends. Have been for a long time.

    And, I continue to marvel how he is able to take a piece of news like Ontario’s Facial Recognition program and then juxtapose that to things that are going on in the world outside of gaming, and then bring it back to the perspective of gaming.

    This is great writing, fueled by great thinking…

    Ken and I have discussed problem gambling issues for many years, for many reasons. He closes yet another excellent post by wondering if technology might be viewed as a surrogate for personal responsibility, and that this move ‘philosophically’ is not a ‘positive one’, with the underlying premise being that this is just another method to have technology ‘police our behavior’.

    I couldn’t agree more about the Orwellian consequences technology portends, and I think facial recognition touches a defense mechanism that is deeply ingrained in all of us, and I am always a little concerned each time I participate in things like Facebook, Linkedin, etc.

    However, I actually see the case of the guy who asked the Venetian to help-him-help-himself in a little different light– I think this guy actually was trying to show personal responsibility the best way he knew…

    The fact he–like so many other addicts–tries to find ways to get around the reality of their pathological behavior by ‘sneaking back in’ is such a typical story for any addiction. It’s like the days when I was a drinkin’ fool and had friends tell me (after the fact) that I was stupid and had promised not to drink-and-drive…

    I always reminded them–a point a ‘normal person’ would not understand–that I made that promise when I was sober… This type of explanation always infuriates those who don’t understand addiction; and believe me, it never answers any internal questions we addicts beat-ourselves-up-over when we are using…

    I did quite a bit of work on problem gambling a few years back, and I looked very closely at the merits of facial recognition as a tool to control pathological gambling. I am surprised–but then again, not–to see that OLC is adopting this tool, especially given the experiences the folks over in the British Columbia Lottery have had with their use of facial recognition to snag folks who have ‘self-excluded’.

    In my view, the technology solutions for problem gambling do not reside with products like facial recognition; rather, it is my view if we do include technology to combat problem gambling (there are no “silver bullets”) the industry can do so with very simple technology that precludes anyone who has asked to not be allowed to gamble at a facility from being able to activate the gambling device.

    Yes, I know this guy probably lost all this dough playing primarily table games, but even there we could institute technology that affect only those who have asked for help…

    On another note, how ’bout that post Ken did on “Burning Man”? Wow! In a world of limiting our thoughts to 140 characters, everyone too-busy-to-think, isn’t it refreshing to have a forum for serious discussions?

    In my cynical-but-actually-positive outlook, I am “taking the over” on the desire and need for these types of important discussions…


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