Technology

US Gaming Industry Seeks Cashless Betting Options Amid Pandemic

The US gaming industry’s predominant lobbying firm is calling on state regulators to allow casinos to modernize how gamblers bet and transact funds.

A roulette dealer and gamblers wear face masks at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Leaders in the US gaming industry say now, more than ever, is the time for regulators to allow casinos to process funds digitally and reduce the handling of cash. (Image: Ethan Miller/Getty)

The American Gaming Association (AGA) said after 18 months of review, in what was a collaborative industry effort, it has developed seven principles to modernize payments inside casinos. The AGA believes allowing casinos to move from a largely cash-based environment to digital is in the best interest of the house, customer, security, and law enforcement.

Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities,” said AGA president and CEO Bill Miller. “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.”

The AGA’s seven “Payments Modernization Policy Principles” are:

  1. Equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly
  2. Give customers payment choice and convenience
  3. Ensure state laws enable a flexible regulatory approach, capable of keeping pace with evolving forms of digital payments
  4. Address heightened customer public health concerns
  5. Provide customers confidence in digital payment security
  6. Create a uniform regulatory environment for casino operators, suppliers, and regulators
  7. Empower law enforcement to better identify offenders through digital payment analysis

Casinos in the United States currently accept cash deposits and ACH debit deposits. Gamblers can also seek credit lines issued through the casino.

Digital Solutions

The AGA says two of the greatest benefits of moving away from cash is that digital payments could help gamblers limit their losses, and casinos better detect suspicious activity.

Enabling payment choices, the advocacy group said, allows gamblers to supplement cash with safe and secure digital options. “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,” the AGA declared.

Currently, casino cage cashiers are responsible for completing currency transaction reports (CTR) anytime a person transacts $10,000 or more in a single 24-hour period. The AGA says digital transactions would enable security officials in the gaming industry to focus on high-risk patrons, and create a digital trail that can be immediately analyzed.

“The casino industry is viewed as a model for other industries in its efforts to combat money laundering. Creating new payment options for customers provides law enforcement additional insights into sources of funds and customer backgrounds; it also reduces the time law enforcement spends on lower-risk patrons,” the association said in its rationale.

Coronavirus Impact

The need to implement digital payments inside US casinos is being expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic. The AGA says allowing new technological transactions to gamble on slot machines and table games would help those who are uneasy about handling cash get back to their gaming entertainment.

The AGA says consumer concerns regarding handling cash could linger long after the current coronavirus crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued guidelines that encourages contactless payments when possible.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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Devin O'Connor