Gaming regulator not moving to ban surveillance equipment

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has confirmed to the Times that, contrary to recent media reports, it is not preparing a blanket ban on surveillance equipment inside casinos. Instead, it is simply requiring that gaming operators obtain DICJ approval prior to installation.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that the gaming regulator had asked casinos in Macau not to install any digital surveillance equipment, including cameras or facial recognition systems that had not been approved by the regulator. Picking up on the story, other media outlets reported that the DICJ was banning all digital surveillance from casinos.

In a statement to the Times yesterday, the regulator clarified that “the installation of any electronic surveillance and control equipment in the casinos depends on the concessionaires submitting an application to the DICJ.”

“In its consideration of the application, DICJ will take into consideration, inter alia, the nature of the equipment’s safety and its compliance with the relevant gaming and privacy protection legislation in Macau.”

It said that, according to Law No.16/2001, which governs the operation of games of chance in casinos, concessionaires must ask the DICJ for approval via a written request addressed to the entity’s director.

Previously, the gaming regulator had said that two or three operators were experimenting with facial recognition technology. It added that the technology was to be used only for security purposes and not, as the Bloomberg report had alleged, to gain insight into the behavior of gamblers.

The regulator has also directed companies to comply with laws pertaining to personal data. Any video or data used or obtained from these high-surveillance tools is to be kept by the casino operators only.

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