AGA Urges Regulators to Commit to Cashless Casino Payments

  • The AGA has published policies to provide guidance for the integration of cashless payments
  • The report says cashless payments can have safer gambling and anti-money laundering benefits
  • Cashless integration has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Nevada Gaming Commission has a hearing on June 25 for a decision on cashless payments
Person paying for gambling on smartphone
The American Gaming Association has published seven policies to assist regulators in the integration of cashless casino payment options. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

An increased need for cashless

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has published a statement with advice for state and tribal leaders on how to create the necessary regulatory framework for the modernization of casino payment options.

AGA research demonstrates an increased need for cashless payment choices to protect customers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey conducted by the regulatory body over the past year, 59% of casino visitors were less likely to use cash in their everyday lives because of the pandemic, with 54% preferring a digital or contactless payment option for gambling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently encouraged contactless payments as a public health priority for US-based businesses. The AGA believes that these public health concerns could last beyond the current pandemic.

Explaining the AGA’s decision to publish the policies, Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO, said: “Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA. It aligns with gaming’s role as a modern, 21st century industry and bolsters our already rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures.”

The seven principles

As part of its guidance, the AGA suggests that the modernization of payment options can be beneficial in the fight against problem gambling by equipping customers with more tools to wager responsibly. This includes opportunities for customers to self-regulate their own gambling behaviour by allowing them to monitor spends and set spending limits.

a flexible approach to regulation

The AGA also recommends a flexible approach to regulation which permits governing bodies to interpret and update legislation if and when it is appropriate. This allows for any changes to policy that may be necessary as a result of innovations in technology or consumer preference.

Within the statement’s other polices, the AGA advises building confidence in digital payment security among customers and creating a uniform regulatory environment through the widespread adoption of digital payments. The latter is expected to improve anti-money laundering capabilities and enhance the gaming experience for customers.

Steady progress for cashless US casinos

Currently, there are only a small number of casinos across the US with digital payment options. Some industry executives believe this is a result of limits imposed by state legislators or gambling regulators, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the integration of cashless options.

In Nevada, the Gaming Commission will hold a hearing on June 25 during which it will assess the Gaming Control Board’s recommendations for amendments to state regulations. If accepted, these amendments would move the state one step closer toward the approval of cashless payment options.

According to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, cashless payment options are currently legal in New Jersey. The regulatory body is awaiting products to be submitted for approval.

a number of suppliers have released products catering to the new need for cashless gambling

As casinos across the US reopen with enhanced health and safety protocols in place, a number of suppliers have released products catering to the new need for cashless gambling. In May, Scientific Games unveiled its new suite of contactless gambling products, including an e-wallet which allows payment for table games and slot machines using a mobile app.