Growing concern about the rampant spread of the novel coronavirus has led to a renewed push for cashless payment processing by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA recently published a document titled, ‘Payments Modernization Policy Principles’ which provides a regulatory framework for the provision of digital payments at casinos. The AGA has been working hard behind the scenes, alongside industry operators to fast-track the provision of contactless payment processing solutions. By limiting cash transfers on the casino floor, the AGA believes this will reduce the potential for an outbreak of coronavirus at casinos. The moves call for the provision of alternatives to cash, such as digital payments options. This has multiple benefits, including AML, increased transparency of operations, and easy setting of limits vis-a-vis gaming budgets.
AGA Lays Out 7 Principles for Payment Processing
The current CEO and president of the AGA, Bill Miller voiced his full support for digital payments processing in the 21st-century. In his words, ‘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 3-page recommendations set by the AGA feature 7 principles to expand payment processing. Measures include the following:
- Provide greater convenience and choice for players
- The provision of additional resources for responsible gambling activity
- Instill confidence in players about the merits of digital payment security
- Address public concerns vis-a-vis limiting the spread of the coronavirus
- Empowerment of law enforcement for identifying offenders via analysis of digital payments
- Create flexible options at state level which evolve with the needs of digital payments
- The creation of a uniform environment for land-based casinos, regulators, and suppliers
Hundreds of Casinos Reopening as Coronavirus Infections Rise
Since June 12, 2020, some 621+ casinos have opened across 29 states. Plans are afoot for many more to open. The set of guidelines offered by the AGA is designed to make land-based casinos safer for patrons and employees. Granted, surveys indicate that 57% of casino visitors prefer to see contactless or digital payments on the casino floor, while 54% explained to researchers that they would prefer to use a payment option when gambling, and 59% of casino visitors are less inclined to use paper money during the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, only a handful of casinos use options like PayPal, Google Pay, and ApplePay. While CDC officials agree that the risk of spread of coronavirus on paper money is low, it’s the person-to-person interactions that present the highest chance of viral transmission. The obstacles to the adoption of contactless or digital payments processing options at casinos include state-level limits and regulations. Further west, the NGC (Nevada Gaming Commission) recently held a hearing on amendments to the Silver State’s regulations regarding modern payment methods.
Cashless Transactions Facilities at NJ Land-Based Casinos
Back home in New Jersey, the NJDGE director, David Rebuck reiterated the legality of cashless transactions at casinos. The only issue under consideration is the submission of payment processing products for Atlantic City casinos. As part of a much broader move to facilitate safe, secure, and responsible gaming in the midst of the coronavirus, cashless payments systems will be used in conjunction with social distancing, lower footfall traffic, use of plexiglass screens at strategic points in the casino, regular sanitizing of common areas, multiple hand sanitizer dispensers, and hand washing facilities, et al.
When viewed in perspective, the merits of cashless payments processing at casinos are geared towards the promotion of public health. The Principles for Casino Gaming Payments Modernization Modernization lays out each principal, proposal, and the rationale behind it for industry aficionados. It is perceived as part of a common-sense approach to policy-making for the protection of customers.