The American Gaming Association (AGA), the gambling industry's national trade group, released on Tuesday a report titled Payments Modernization Policy Principles, reflective of an 18-month, collaborative industry effort, that provide a framework for regulatory flexibility allowing digital payments on the casino floor.
According to the AGA, enabling payment choice allows casino customers the ability to supplement cash with safe and secure digital payment options on the casino floor. This not only improves responsible gaming efforts by equipping customers with digital tools to help them monitor their gaming and set limits, but also provides operators, regulators, and law enforcement increased transparency into matters of anti-money laundering and monitoring of financial transactions.
Early last year, the AGA convened a working group of members to evaluate the regulatory, processing, and consumer landscape related to expanding payment options on the casino floor. The Payments Modernization Policy Principles, the product of that collaborative effort, seek to educate state and tribal regulators who are considering expanding payment choice:
Recent AGA research found that 59 percent of past-year casino visitors are less likely to use cash in their everyday lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This translates to customer preferences on the casino floor, as more than half (54%) indicate that they would be very likely to utilize a digital or contactless payment option when they gamble.
Presently, a small number of casinos use such payments, which include debit or credit cards, as well as apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal. Wider acceptance of these options has long been a goal of the gambling industry.
"Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA," said Bill Miller, the gambling group's president and CEO. "It aligns with gaming’s role as a modern, 21st-century industry and bolsters our already rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures. The COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance our efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives."
So far, there has not been widespread adoption of digital payment options at casinos or other gambling facilities in the U.S. Industry executives say this is due to several factors including limits imposed by state legislators or gambling regulators.
A handful of casinos in Nevada and some tribal casinos across the U.S. have digital options, but the technology is a new concept in many places.
As reported by ABC, the Nevada Gaming Commission has a hearing scheduled for June 25 where it is expected to accept the state Gaming Control Board’s recommendation for amendments to state regulations that would streamline the approval and testing process for modern payment methods.
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said cashless transactions are already legal, adding, "We await products to be submitted by the casinos for approval to use on-site."
Nevada gambling regulators are "open to looking at new ways of how technology, including cashless wagering, can help attract new customers and be beneficial for not only the industry but even for responsible gaming measures as well," said Sandra Douglass Morgan, chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The continued spread of the coronavirus in parts of the country as many casinos reopen after months of being idled due is another reason the industry wants to ramp up cashless payments quickly.