Lawmaker wants Ohio casinos to keep patron photos

Lawmaker wants Ohio casinos to use facial-recognition, keep patron photos for 5 years

Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) -- An Ohio lawmaker wants the state's four casinos to collect and save photos of customers for five years in an effort to crack down on money laundering.

The proposal calls for the casinos in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo to implement facial-recognition technology and keep photos of customers redeeming winnings for five years. Such a requirement would make it easier for law enforcement to track and clamp down on money laundering, Sen. Bill Coley said Monday.

The Senate approved a budget measure last week inserted by Coley that says the Ohio Casino Control Commission would be allowed to make casinos retain photos of customers for five years.

The commission already has broad powers to approve new rules but is not currently considering instituting Coley's idea, commission Director Matt Schuler said.

"It would take a significant amount of due diligence on the part of the commission," Schuler said.

Coley, a Republican from Liberty Township in southwestern Ohio, said he wrote the budget amendment to make clear lawmakers' desire for facial-recognition technology at the casinos and that they would want photos retained for five years to better help investigators.

No one has been arrested or prosecuted for money laundering at Ohio's casinos, but Schuler said there were an unspecified number of ongoing investigations tied to the crime.

A federal law requires detailed documentation of any casino transactions of more than $10,000, but criminals can get around that by laundering money in lower amounts.

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