Finnish Slot Machine Tech to Verify User IDs

New ID verification technology coming to slot machines 2018 and beyond.

Tech for New Slot Machines 2018

Problem gambling is a worldwide issue. Every government, from Canada to Australia, South Africa to Great Britain, is looking for ways to curb it. Prohibiting gambling isn’t the answer. People will always find a way to wager, legal or not, and those governments generate entirely too much revenue to even consider prohibition.

There’s new technology emerging in Finland that Veikkaus, the nation’s gaming regulatory body, believe will help. This new slot machine tech will require all players to verify their identity before they can access the game. We’re not just talking about a staff member checking IDs at the door, either.

ID Tech for Slot Machines 2018 and Beyond

On Tuesday, Veikkaus announced that all slot machines will be equipped with new ID verification systems as of 2023. However, gambling machines built from this point onward may begin installing the new technology right away. So some could utilize ID verification as early as next year.

The gaming regulator says the move to enforce authentication barriers stems from a report by the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL. That report estimates that 130,000 people in Finland are struggling with gambling addiction. It goes on to recommend user authentication as an effective method of reducing gambling harm.

As for how Veikkaus intends to employ the new gambling tech, that’s still up for debate. Simply swiping an ID card would make sense, but Veikkaus points out that payment technology could look a lot different five years from now. Mobile devices are already using things like thumbprint and facial recognition to verify user identity, and there’s no reason to assume slot machines won’t incorporate something similar.

Veikkaus says the new technology will encompass approximately 18,000 slot machines, including those commonly found in petrol stations and supermarkets. As for the cost of equipping games with the new slot machine tech, the regulator estimates the expense to be anywhere from 50 to 100 million euros.

New Slot Machine Tech Probably Not for Lottery

Pekka Ilmivalta is the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Veikkaus. He says the regulator hasn’t decided yet how for they will go with installing the verification systems.

“It still remains to be seen whether or not the requirement to authenticate will affect all games and all types of gambling,” says Ilmivalta.

He doubts the Finnish Lottery will be effected, though. According to regulators, lottery games are among the least harmful form of gambling in the nation. Thus he doesn’t foresee lotto players needing to verify their identity when submitting a coupon.

Will this New Technology Spread to Other Regions?

There is no doubt in my mind that more governments will adopt a similar strategy to battle problem gambling. The only unpredictable factor is when. Some countries may look at Finland’s initiative as a spark worth igniting immediately. Others may take the traditional ‘sit back and wait‘ approach.

One way or another, if Finland’s endeavor to reduce gambling harm through high-tech ID checks in slot machines is successful, these systems, or something very similar, will surely begin appearing on gambling machines all over the world.

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