Currency exchange machines featuring facial recognition technology have been installed in a variety of airports and travel hubs across Europe, in a bid to streamline the user experience and safeguard against fraudulent behaviour.
Currency exchange kiosks may provide the opportunity for criminals to convert illegally obtained cash, making it harder to trace the criminal activity in line with anti-money laundering (AML) protocols. Many countries have implemented transaction limits per day for all users of currency exchange machines as one way to combat this, but this may require customers to show ID and retain detailed records.
However, Swiss manufacturer ECEX Group uses facial recognition software developed by British company Innovative Technology to implement the AI-powered biometric solution into the Automatic Currency Exchange (ACE) machines as a way to automate these transaction limits. The software is within a compact device, ICU Pro, which provides secure, immediate facial recognition that allows users to quickly and efficiently use the currency exchange services.
The use of ICU Pro as a biometric sensor for facial recognition acts as assurance for ECEX and customers alike, helping to adhere to AML requirements by implementing intelligent customer tracking that shows a customer’s previous exchanges and ensuring they stay within their transactional limits.
Similar to how a cashier can visually regulate the amount of times a customer uses a service, the technology enables the kiosks to recognise whether a person has met the standard limits for domestic transactions before they need a passport. This limit can be set in accordance with the AML regulatory requirements of the country, providing a more secure service without intruding on customer privacy.
If the exchange limit is below the threshold, the customer’s facial information is saved locally for one day so the technology can detect whether they make further exchanges during the time period and ensure the threshold isn’t exceeded.
Hizii Denys, Technology & Administrative Officer at ECEX Group AG, said: “We chose ICU Pro for our facial recognition needs because we needed a solution that offered a quick, seamless, secure and – most importantly – compliant service for our customers. The ACE machines are intended to streamline the currency exchange process, and ICU Pro helped us to achieve that.
“The big advantage is that any biometric data cannot be accessed because of the encryption inside the device, so there is no need for GDPR concerns. Our technology is unique and we haven’t found a similar analogous solution around the world, so we’re happy to be able to implement this feature with ICU Pro.”
The implementation of the technology comes during a period of significant public outcry at recent failures to comply with AML protocols by large organisations, and intends to make AML procedures standard within the currency exchange market. The new technology hopes to make it easier for tourists to travel with ease, knowing their money is safe and handled responsibly.
Dr. Andrew O’Brien, Biometrics Product Manager at Innovative Technology, said: “Currency exchange is a complicated process that requires responsibility and regulatory compliance from any services involved. We’re excited to partner with ECEX to enable a further level of compliance and customer security through ICU Pro. Our biometric technology has the ability to link customers’ transactions, and this approach also has exciting opportunities in Gaming, where we can help limit and protect customers from excessive gambling.”
The machines are designed to offer quick and easy access to AI-powered, secure currency exchange, in a range of handy locations including airports, hotels, train stations, banks and more. The ACE machines are already operating in Geneva Airport (Switzerland), Billund Airport (Denmark) and Boryspil International Airport (Ukraine), as well as the Hilton and Opera Hotel in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Entain Provides Update on Current Trading and FY23 Guidance
Entain plc has provided an update on current trading and FY 2023 guidance, as well as plans to update shareholders on the progress of ongoing actions to accelerate operational performance and drive shareholder value.
Post the summer, Online Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) has been mixed across the Group, but in aggregate, softer than anticipated. Q3 Online NGR growth is now expected to be up high single-digit percent, and down high single digit percent on a proforma basis. Key drivers include:
- Adverse sporting results impacting sports margins during September
- Group wide implementation of industry leading safer gambling measures and ongoing regulatory headwinds persisting longer than expected, particularly in the UK
- Slower growth than expected in Australia and Italy
- Good underlying Online growth (ex-regulatory impacts) as evidenced by further strong proforma growth in active customers across the quarter
- Strong performance from recent acquisitions, particularly SuperSport in Croatia
- Robust performance across Retail
BetMGM in the US continuing to perform well: on track to deliver positive EBITDA in the second half of 2023; FY2023 NGR at the upper end of $1.8-$2.0bn guidance; and the successful rollout of Single Account Single Wallet, as well as online sportsbook enhancements supporting strong start to the NFL season.
Entain now expect Group Online NGR for FY2023 to be up low double-digit percent with proforma NGR down low single digit percent. The company reiterate their expectations for FY2023 EBITDA to be in the range of £1.00bn-£1.05bn supported by robust operational controls.
Actions to Accelerate Operational Strategy and Performance
Over the last three years Entain has undergone a significant strategic transformation, improving the quality of earnings and aligning operations to ensure the Group is positioned as strongly as possible to deliver long term shareholder value.
Alongside the Q3 trading update on 2 November 2023, management will share more detail on how these actions are being implemented to accelerate performance and delivery, including:
- A comprehensive market review focusing on long-term sustainable organic growth
- The simplification of Group structures and operations to improve operational leverage and reduce costs
- A plan for the migration of acquired businesses on to the Group’s industry leading technology platform
- Optimising our capital allocation priorities
- Progress on delivery of the Group’s Online EBITDA margin target of 30%
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, said: “We continue to see good underlying growth in our online business and are reiterating our EBITDA guidance for the year despite softer than expected revenue growth in Q3 and the ongoing roll-out of industry-leading safer gambling measures. We continue to attract more customers than ever before to enjoy our products and services. BetMGM remains on track to deliver positive EBITDA in H2 and a full year NGR performance at the top end of our expectations, and we are particularly excited about the product improvements that we are rolling out over the NFL season.
“We have made significant changes to the Group over the last three years. Our focus now is on accelerating the actions we are taking to drive sustainable organic growth, expand our margins, capitalise on the US opportunity and deliver long-term returns for our shareholders. We remain confident in our ability to deliver on the vast opportunities ahead of us, and look forward to sharing more detail about the changes that we are making alongside our Q3 trading update in November.”
Holland Casino Identifies New Groningen Casino Site
Holland Casino has chosen Business Park Ter Borch as the new location for its Groningen casino. Holland Casino selected the location at the gateway to Groningen for its accessibility and construction opportunities. Business park Ter Borch, on the edge of the municipality of Tynaarlo, offers Holland Casino the best opportunities to build a casino that meets the company’s architectural and sustainability requirements. Moreover, the location at the gateway to Groningen is easily accessible for guests and there is ample parking.
CEO Petra de Ruiter said: “We are happy that the decision has now been made. If the Tynaarlo municipal council is as enthusiastic as the board of Holland Casino, we can enter the period of planning and construction. I’m looking forward to that and especially to the moment when the new Holland Casino Groningen is open. That is not only good news for our guests, but also for our employees.
“They will soon be able to optimally welcome guests from a new building and offer the hospitality that can be expected from us.”
Spatial planning councilor Jurryt Vellinga of the municipality of Tynaarlo said: “The location makes sense because of the good accessibility and the space that the business park offers. For us it is a sign that the municipality of Tynaarlo and the region are still popular for companies. This location offers employment opportunities and is a great boost for tourism in our municipality.”
Attention has also been paid to the former Holland Casino location on Gedempte Kattendiep in Groningen. The casino was destroyed in a fire in 2017, with Holland Casino operating a temporary facility since 2018.
“Holland Casino offers the municipality of Groningen every cooperation to ensure that something beautiful comes back to the city center. We are grateful to everyone involved for all the cooperation and support we have received in recent years. We are very grateful to Groningen and Tynaarlo for the efforts made to find a suitable location,” Ms. de Ruiter said.
The new branch of Holland Casino, Holland Casino Groningen, is expected to open in 2027.
Maria’s Room Rebrands into Maria Ozawa Casino, Marking Third Year Anniversary Partnership with M88 Mansion
Renowned international celebrity and businesswoman, Maria Ozawa, is commemorating a significant milestone in her partnership with Asia’s leading online gaming platform, M88 Mansion, as she celebrates her third year as Celebrity Partner.
A highlight of this celebration is the transformation of “Maria’s Room” into “Maria Ozawa Casino,” showcasing her growing influence within the M88 Mansion community and promising an enhanced and thrilling gaming experience for players, with Maria’s personal touch. The rebranding reflects Maria’s lasting impact and the exciting evolution of this partnership over the past three years.
Alan Wafer, Head of Commercial at M88 Mansion, said: “Maria Ozawa has been an integral part of the M88 Mansion family for three incredible years.”
Maria Ozawa said: “Being a part of M88 Mansion has been an amazing experience. I’m thrilled to see Maria Ozawa Casino succeed, as we offer players an enhanced gaming experience. It’s been a fantastic three years, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
In line with her ongoing collaboration with M88 Mansion, Maria Ozawa will participate in the upcoming M88 Mansion-sponsored event, IT’S THE SHIP, Asia’s Largest Festival at Sea, from November 1-3, 2023, enhancing the event with her star presence.
Beyond the virtual realm, Maria Ozawa’s role as a Celebrity Partner extends to a tour across several countries, accompanied by press conferences, allowing the public and media to connect with her.
Maria Ozawa’s three-year journey with M88 Mansion has seen exceptional growth and collaboration. With the transformation of Maria’s Room into Maria Ozawa Casino and her engagement with players, the future of this partnership looks promising.
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