Focus on eConnect: Unlocking the power of ID scanners in gaming

January 13, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports
January 13, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports

Identity fraud is one of the most serious criminal offenses for casino properties to confront, potentially costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and fines.

The power of eConnect protects properties from identity fraud through the use of ID scanning.  According to Chris Swanger, the company’s chief safety and security officer, the battle is won through the installation of eConnect’s identity management platform.

“Our software is driven by client requests,” Swanger said. “The applications are very casino operations centric. A lot of other vendors in the field have a one-size-fits-all solution. Ours is built for casino operators and tailor-made for casino operations.

“Everything that we do with this system creates alerts that are absolutely mission-critical to casino operators. We’re not just sending alerts and updates to note. These are things where you have to make a decision and deal with it.”

For instance, it is critical that underage gamblers be denied access to the casino floor. To ensure all patrons who enter a property are at least 21 years of age, ID scanners provide instant and accurate age verification of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30.

Advantage players, scam artists, ticket thieves, and other banned individuals who engage in criminal activity on the casino floor are among other unwelcome visitors that eConnect can eliminate.

“ID scanners flag such individuals, and the next time they come in to the property or another enterprise facility, they get ‘popped’ in the system automatically,” Swanger explained. “The system sends pop-up messages to personal computers notifying everybody that the perpetrator just showed up again.”

It’s a fact that some states and countries have laws that require casinos to use ID scanners to ensure that all relevant regulations are being followed.

“ID scanning really has changed the game,” Swanger said. “Now we’re getting information the surveillance teams really didn’t have before. It has been used in the cages when somebody hit a jackpot for government purposes, but now we’re using it in a lot of different ways.”

Because it is a cash-driven business, casino operations by their very nature can be targets for fraudulent activity. ID scanners protect against such crimes as money laundering, identity theft, and other financial crimes.

“ID scanners can hit a face against FBI wanted lists, local wanted lists, and gaming commission lists for bad actors who have cheated at casinos or used some sort of major fraud,” Swanger said.

“We can even create localized databases where the individual casino can upload information that they deem problematic. We are also able to create an enterprise data pool where identity bases can be shared among multiple properties.”

The identity management platform created by eConnect also meshes with casino marketing divisions. ID scanners can be used to keep track of how long patrons have been at the casino, which games they are playing, and how much money they are spending. The information can be used to tailor marketing efforts and improve the overall customer experience.

“Our products have saved our clients major money,” Sanger revealed. “The ROI on it is tremendous. Our customers say the money they have saved on the things that could have happened and the things that have been captured is significant.

“We have a case manager that assists in recording and archiving all the evidence, so they can show the executive management teams what they’re doing with our system. Frequently more cameras are added because what they already have is doing such a great job.

“We have received the top award in the industry for innovation and the overall category for everything the industry and the casino executive community wants to see in a product. Our integrations are very deep. We pull casino data, we integrate with casino surveillance systems, and we have the top-rated facial recognition algorithm that meshes with the identification scanning systems.”

Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) is something that eConnect has mastered. The company’s facial matching technology compares over 70 nodal points of the face to the image on the person’s ID in addition to performing auto-checks of over 50 points of fraud on the ID itself within seconds.

“We’ve been working on facial recognition for about five years,” Swanger said. “The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) grades technology, especially for government installations. Ours is top notch, the best facial recognition you can get in the market, and we’ve done dozens and dozens of installations over the last two years.”

NIST, a non-regulatory agency under the auspices of the United States Department of Commerce, conducts the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT), the most respected benchmark when it comes to the evaluation of facial recognition algorithms for verification and identification.

“We’re an American company with every bit of our code and technology created in the United States,” Swanger said. “We have over 375 casino customers, including some of the largest casino operators, with over 300,000 cameras that we’re monitoring.”

Every state creates its own driver’s licenses and identification cards, which are embedded with unique security features such as micro-printing, ultra violet security features, redundant data, ghost photos, and even intentional errors.

“Every time a state updates the security features embedded in the IDs it issues, our system updates to ensure that the ID is authentic,” Swanger noted. “Couple that with our facial match technology through which any camera that can capture a face can match it back to the ID.”

Another dividend eConnect delivers is the use of ID scanners for employees and vendors. Every individual coming into the property environment is identified, making everyone situationally aware of things that could harm the casino.

Facial recognition technology creates the ability to key in on people before they enter the property and zoom in on license plates to identity the bad actors, of course, but also the valued guests whose arrival can be alerted to VIP services representatives before the person walks through the door.

The identity management platform developed by eConnect is essential to 21st century casino operations if operators wish to protect their property or enterprise from 21st century fraud as well as strengthen the power of marketing.