You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Ohio gamblers’ photos may be on file

Senator wants gambling locations to record images to help fight money laundering.

Photos of Ohio gamblers could be snapped and stored for five years, if one lawmaker’s idea gains steam with casino regulators.

A budget bill amendment sponsored by Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., would authorize facial recognition technology at Ohio’s four casinos, racinos and Internet cafe sweepstakes parlors. Images would be collected when patrons cash out and stored in a database for at least five years to be used to detect money launderers.

“Whether they go to the casino in Cincinnati or the tracks in Lebanon or Dayton, it’s all going to be observed and it’s all going to be cross checked,” Coley said.

Coley said the extra monitoring differs from health or phone records and there is no expectation of privacy in a casino, which operates thousands of surveillance cameras.

“Anybody who’s seen Oceans 11 or walked into a casino understands everything is being recorded,” Coley said.

The provision specifies that cameras would need to be installed at every piece of equipment where any chips, tokens, tickets, electronic cards or similar objects may be redeemed for cash. Coley said he doesn’t know of any other jurisdiction with similar guidelines.

Facial recognition technology works by measuring points between facial features and translating that data into code.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is concerned about the idea. Associate director Gary Daniels said the measure creates a slippery slope for the technology to be used in schools, state agencies and other areas of government. Daniels said facial recognition is not a solid technology and can be inaccurate due to changes in weight, facial hair and other features.

“If you look at the precedent that’s being set, it’s the state government telling private entities they must install and use this type of recognition software,” Daniels said. “If they can demand casinos use it, where does it end?”

It could be a while before Big Brother stares you down as you collect your winnings. The provision, added to the bill containing the state’s two-year budget, does not require the technology but allows the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Ohio Lottery Commission and Ohio Attorney General to write rules requiring it for casinos, race tracks with slots and sweepstakes cafes.

Matt Schuler, executive director of the Casino Control Commission, said the commission has plenty of homework to do before investing in facial recognition equipment.

“We would have to do our due diligence on this technology and the goals of the legislation and work through that and determine whether this is appropriately used in a casino environment or not,” Schuler said.

FBI agent Robert Warfel told lawmakers last month that about $5 billion from illegal drug sales nationally are subject to money laundering schemes every year. Warfel said casino slot machines are a popular scheme: Criminals will exchange cash for chips, play a few games and cash out with new bills.

“Money laundering is a huge problem and you cannot move cash without it,” Coley said. “We want to combat that all the time. There’s some high tech ways to do it.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Ohio

PERSPECTIVE: When comedy meets politics, things can happen

Last November I attended a film festival in Colorado Springs and was moved to tears and laughter by a new movie called “Tickling Giants,” which is focused on Dr. Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian heart surgeon who brings satire to Egypt during the Arab Spring. Youssef is known as “The Egyptian Jon Stewart.” His weekly program, &ldquo...
Selfies could be causing more cases of lice in teenagers
Selfies could be causing more cases of lice in teenagers

Many experts say head lice infestations are at their peak during this time of the year as kids head off to summer camp. A Jacksonville, Florida, woman who owns a lice treatment center said it's most common with young children, but she's also seen an increase in cases of head lice in teens. Mandy Ottesen owns Fresh Heads. She said it’s very important...
Puppy rescued from extreme heat in locked car must go back to owner, court says
Puppy rescued from extreme heat in locked car must go back to owner, court says

An 8-week-old puppy that was rescued from extreme heat in a locked car last weekend will be returned to its owner, the Manor Municipal Court ruled Thursday. Manor police, which charged the puppy’s owner with animal cruelty, had hoped to win custody of the dog, named Annabelle, so they could hand her over to an animal shelter. “The...
Worship event on Sunday at Veteran’s Park
Worship event on Sunday at Veteran’s Park

The Springfield Arts Council will host “When Springfield Sings!” at Veteran’s Park at 8 p.m. on Sunday as part of the Summer Arts Series. This event is an opportunity for diverse congregations of Springfield and Clark County to come together to worship God in the center of our city. The Nehemiah Foundation coordinates this event every...
Clark County group considers civil rights leader a hero
Clark County group considers civil rights leader a hero

Dr. Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912-April 20, 2010), the daughter of a building contractor and a nurse, was born in Richmond, Va. She was an American administrator and educator, as well as a civil rights and women’s rights activist. She specifically focused on the issues of African-American women. Dr. Height set an example for African-American...
More Stories