FORTUNE TELLER: Amazon One’s age verification palm scans reducing friction and offer possible insights to inform business decisions. (Courtesy vendor)

Denver ballpark first to use palm-scan tech to verify age

Coors Field, the Denver home of the MLB Colorado Rockies, is the first sports venue to offer Amazon One age verification capability, which allows patrons to make age restricted purchases with a palm scan, venue concessionaire Aramark announced this week.

The free, contactless service allows customers to pay, enter or identify themselves and with the new age verification feature, Amazon One customers can confirm their eligibility to buy an alcoholic beverage without breaking out a photo ID.

The technology, which is used at Amazon Just Walk Out Go markets in multiple venues, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle notable among them, will be available at Coors Field’s SandLot Brewery, touted as the first brewery inside an MLB stadium (where Blue Moon beer was born when the ballpark opened in 1995), and the Coors Light Silver Bullet Bar.

It took 10 weeks to get the system up and running, according to Aramark officials. The food provider declined to provide individual executives for comment, but did answer emailed questions.

To register, new users are instructed to use an enrollment kiosk at the brewery and bar, a process that takes less than a minute. Then customers must use their mobile device to take a photo of the front and back of their ID and then a selfie.

After the process is complete, customers can hover their palm over a reader at the bar. A message is flashed to the bartender along with the patron’s selfie. A second palm scan completes the purchase.

Those who’ve previously enrolled in Amazon One in places like Amazon Fresh stores and Amazon Go outlet, they can upload their ID and selfie at before arriving at the venue.

Aramark says it has been exploring age verification capabilities for the last few years and continues to adopt self-serve models to improve speed at concessions stands and bars in-venue.

Examples include Clear and Mashgin at Citi Field (2019 launch); Wicket and Beer Express at First Energy Stadium (2022); Cargill food lockers at PPG Paints Arena (2022); TendedBar at Empower Field at Mile High (2022); and Gold Medal popcorn at Citizens Bank Park.

According to the company, the impact on business and the guest experience of the new age verification capability with Amazon One, which Aramark also uses for payment at Denver’s Mission Ballroom, will determine if future expansion makes sense.

Private and personal data shared via Amazon One is securely stored and protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device but are instead encrypted and sent to the cloud.

Data collection, however, is a major piece of the puzzle and can inform all kinds of operational decisions regarding inventory and deployment of human and other resources and more.

A problem, however, is what to do with the ever-growing harvest of customer data, says Mell Leis, senior vice president of sales, North America for Tappit, a provider of white label contactless sales solutions servicing clients including the NFL Kansas City Chiefs and MLB Cincinnati Reds. The company is working on similar age verification capabilities in partnership with Clear.

“I’d be shocked if any venue operator didn’t recognize the value of data,” Leis said. “I would not be shocked if they had the data and were not doing anything truly meaningful with it.”

Chris Bigelow, founder and owner of the Bigelow Companies, remarked that the layer of verification “still needs the human bartender to verify it all.”

“As to the collection of data, I haven’t seen any evidence that the concessionaires are using that other than for product sales information,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.