IDConnect pinpoints VIPs and picks off bad guys

August 22, 2023 1:22 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
August 22, 2023 1:22 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

IDConnect is revolutionizing the realm of casino surveillance by integrating facial recognition capabilities with a comprehensive database to boost security systems, according to eConnect’s CEO Henry Valentino.

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The Las Vegas-based company’s innovative cloud-based system provides an easy-to-integrate database tool within the existing software ecosystem. It only enhances security measures, but also optimizes customer-service experiences at various casino properties, Valentino said. Newly launched, IDConnect is already deployed in 35 properties across the country. It will be showcased at G2E in October and rolled out over the next 18 months.

“It’s a game changer. It modernizes what’s already known,” Valentino said. “The casino industry is smart and has been around for many years and the best scammers in the world have tried to attack it, whether it’s card counting or teams of people collaborating on cheating in poker. The concept of sharing a list of bad guys has been around for many years, but IDConnect automates it and uses AI to make it powerful.”

An identities database is a central component of IDConnect, providing a reliable resource of the headshots of known criminals and banned individuals, Valentino said. With the help of artificial intelligence, it significantly aids facial-recognition software by promptly identifying and tracking potential threats, thereby ensuring efficient operations.

“One of things that’s happening right now that’s super interesting is the advancement in AI,” Valentino said. “We’ve been in the gaming space for many years and we’ve been wondering how AI is going to help casino operators get better at what they’re trying to do. Ultimately, our focus is around helping them protect the customers and loss prevention.”

The benefits and use cases of IDConnect extend beyond enhanced security measures and identifying suspicious individuals. It enables rapid identification of anyone requiring special attention, such as VIP customers, high-value players, influencers, celebrities, and public figures, ensuring they receive the requisite level of service or attention.

“With IDConnect, you can easily and quickly take a look at who’s on that list,” Valentino said “How many faces can you remember as a human? The beauty of AI now is you can use machine learning to remember who’s ever been there. If you identify someone who has been a problem and is kicked out, the system will now recognize them when they show back up.”

IDConnect is equipped with mass data-import capabilities, allowing for automatic updating of information about known criminals and the FBI’s Most Wanted list. By eliminating the need for manual data entry, this feature saves significant time and resources for security personnel, Valentino said.

“IDConnect allows members of the security crew or surveillance team to share information in an electronic form and take advantage of the AI and the ability to recognize everybody coming and going,” Valentino said.

IDConnect’s functionality, meanwhile, ties into eConnect’s broader mission of leading the industry in casino surveillance and facial-recognition technology.

One of the standout features of IDConnect is its ability to promote collaboration within the industry, Valentino said. The system allows surveillance directors to share their databases with one another, fostering a more collaborative approach toward security. This feature is particularly advantageous for large casino companies operating in multiple locations, as it enables them to streamline their security procedures and processes.

“Sharing that bad-guy information protects everybody,” Valentino said. “The Strip has a consortium of surveillance directors who get together at least once for a month, even if they work for competing properties. They talk about some of the common scams or things they’ve observed or stopped. Now, they can share that information. It’s essentially a club. It’s not shared with anybody unless they’re members of this club or invited by somebody already in the surveillance or casino community.”

In the past, facial-recognition technology wasn’t very successful in matching up pictures to information on a person, Valentino said.

“Over the last five years and COVID has helped with this, it’s gone from matching 80% to matching to 99.99%,” Valentino said. “It’s always right. If you have a good photo, camera, and lighting, you match every single time. The eConnect system brings it all together with the data that resides in the casinos. Other people do facial recognition, but no one else really focuses on the casinos. Having access to the VIP and bad-guy lists makes for a very powerful offering.”

eConnect has been in business for 15 years and its technology is currently installed in more than 350 casinos around the world. Its core product, POSConnect, ties data from a point-of-sale system to the video to see what’s happening.

“Is that bartender giving someone a free drink or are they charging for a beer and giving top-shelf liquor?” Valentino said. “POSConnect helps them do that.”

Of that 350, 35 properties have added facial recognition and IDConnect, as it’s introduced around the country in tribal and commercial casinos, Valentino said. It’s also being installed at the MSG Sphere and integrated with their weapon’s-protection system. It will also be in place at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas that opens in December.
“A lot of properties in Vegas are embracing this technology,” Valentino said.

With IDConnect, Valentino said there will be a point where people no longer need player rewards cards, because the system will know them. They’ll be rated not just on the time they’re playing tables and slots, but on the entire time visiting the property.

There will also be a point where people can authenticate transactions with their face, Valentino said.