In an exclusive interview with Yogonet, Leighton Webb, Vice President of iGaming and Sports Betting at PayNearMe shares insights and updates on the company’s current approval to process online sports betting payments in New York. Webb also shares his opinion on cashless payments in the industry and the possible upcoming trends: “Cashless will be a driving factor to bridge the online and offline worlds and create a seamless experience for players,” he says. Lastly, the executive talks about PayNearMe’s future expansion plans for the new year in Arizona and Nevada and adds that PlayLive!, the online casino affiliated with Live! Casinos & Hotels in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, is set to go live on the MoneyLine platform in Q2, and the company also expects to launch its cash-out at ATM option in New York and other states this year.
Earlier this month, the company secured approval to process online sports betting payments in New York. Could you share some updates on this matter, initial feedback, and performance? The company said then it was already live with three operators. Has the company entered or plans to enter into any new partnerships with some of the other six licensed operators?
PayNearMe received New York approval for the MoneyLine platform in December of 2021, expanding its iGaming and online sports betting footprint to 18 states. We were excited to be ready to launch 3 of the 4 approved operators in New York (FanDuel, Caesars, and Rush Street) on day 1. Since then, we’ve launched cash deposits for both BetMGM and PointsBet with a sixth operator expected to go live shortly.
After the first week launched New York quickly became our third-largest market, and following industry stats we expect it will quickly become the largest. An interesting observation is the amount of market share Caesars Sportsbook has gained out of the gate in New York. Nationwide, Caesars (and William Hill) are approximately 5% of the OSB market (per Eilers and Krejcik estimates) but our data indicates that they are enjoying a much larger share in New York.
PayNearMe’s cash deposit feature quickly gained adoption by New York players. Less than one month in, cash adoption is greater than 3x what we’ve seen in other states as launch ramps. Given the geographic proximity of retail locations in New York, Manhattan specifically, and the fact that visiting convenience and bodega-type stores are a common habit for New York City residents, it was not surprising to us to see cash deposits ramp faster there than in other states. The immediacy and proximity of the cash retail network, in addition to cash as a convenient, guaranteed deposit type, makes it an ideal option for any player.
PayNearMe also enables players to easily withdraw their funds in cash at over 18,000 ATM locations in the US, through its partnership with Pin4. For the same reasons cash deposits are convenient for players and combined with the speed of access funds in cash this capability allows, we believe this will be a popular choice for players in New York. We expect to launch our cash-out at ATM option in New York and other states this year.
In the case of New York, where we are seeing a historic launch of mobile sports betting these days with six major operators live and three others set to follow, which payment methods do you plan to offer, and what resources and new technologies do the company intend to use to meet such high demands?
PayNearMe received approval to offer the full MoneyLine suite of payment options in New York in December 2021. Our platform offers players payment choice and convenience, facilitating both a robust set of popular deposit options (cards, ACH, cash, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo) and convenient withdrawal options players want (debit, cash at ATM), all in a single platform.
The technology driving the MoneyLine platform is trusted by organizations across industries to manage end-to-end money movement. Our processing capabilities are built with a modern framework designed to scale with our operators, their player needs, and the industry.
In September of last year, the company gained access in Arizona with Penn Interactive’s Barstool Sportsbook. What has PayNearMe’s balance sheet been? What are the next steps there?
Including Penn Interactive’s Barstool Sportsbook, seven operators currently accept cash deposits in Arizona with PayNearMe’s MoneyLine platform. PayNearMe is approved to offer our full suite of deposit and withdrawal options to operators licensed in Arizona.
In October the company entered into an agreement with IGT PlaySports, what does this partnership represent for the company today, and which added value do you see and expect in your business, including New York as well as any other current or future markets?
PayNearMe has enabled cash deposits via IGT’s proprietary payment gateway IGTPay for IGT’s iGaming and sports betting customers since 2019. This expanded partnership now allows IGT PlaySports customers the option to offer PayNearMe’s deposit and payout solution to their players. For example, IGT sports betting customers will be able to give players the option to deposit and withdraw cash from their online accounts while they are on-site at brick-and-mortar locations.
IGT PlaySports customers will have the option to leverage PayNearMe’s MoneyLine platform to facilitate cards, ACH, cash, and mobile-first deposit methods including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, plus payout options including push-to-debit and cash-out at ATM. Additional benefits include access to MoneyLine’s player engagement engine and business rules.
We’re excited to form a partnership with leading platform provider IGT to offer IGT’s PlaySports customers a workflow-driven UX/UI, flexible payment options, and the ability to get to market quickly.
We are looking forward to launching our first operator together on the MoneyLine platform in Q2 2022.
What trends do you observe regarding cashless payments in the gaming industry today and coming this year?
I think there will be a significant amount of innovation in cashless payments coming this year. Cashless will be a driving factor to bridge the online and offline worlds and create a seamless experience for players. I also think we’ll see a cashless strategy that matches the online experience from a payments perspective, meaning a cashless offering that goes beyond cards and allows players to use the alternative payment options and digital wallets they prefer such as PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay.
How do you evaluate the recent regulation in Nevada that allows remote registration for cashless wagering accounts; which doors are this opening for PayNearMe and the industry in general?
I believe the recent regulation in Nevada to allow remote registration is one step closer to removing friction and making the overall player experience easier. The gaming industry is moving at lightning speed and it’s encouraging to see regulators look at more ways to streamline the process for players, as operators and innovative companies like PayNearMe are doing.
This opens doors for PayNearMe and others in the industry who are focused on innovation to create a better player payment journey. For example, we are continually looking at new tender types (both deposit and withdrawal) that create choice and convenience for the player. The cash out at ATM option in the Moneyline platform is an example of how adding a cash withdrawal method is ideal for players who prefer to deposit with cash. We are also looking at other innovative payment methods that you see in other industries. You will hear more from us on those details soon.
The Nevada regulation is a promising sign for the industry because it makes online wagering easier and more accessible. When the focus is on the player experience, it’s better for the industry as a whole.