Digital payments could be next revolution for casinos

Local News

A worker looks over an electronic slot machine as chairs have been removed from some machines to maintain social distancing between players at a closed Caesars Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas on May 21. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — When casinos reopened on June 4, one centerpiece of adjustments to the COVID-19 virus was the adoption of “touchless” options to reduce the chance of spreading disease.

Now casinos might be headed for another revolution as leaders listen to casino customers who have wanted to be able to make digital payments instead of relying on cash.

Casinos went from coins to tickets years ago. Could cashless be next?

The American Gaming Association completed an 18-month project to establish digital payment options, something customers wanted before and are now clamoring for after months of stay-at-home lifestyle adjustments.

READ: Principles for Casino Gaming Payments Modernization

“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,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO.

Research shows that 59 percent of casino visitors are less likely to use cash because of COVID-19, but gaming officials see benefits far beyond convenience and health reasons. A news release from the AGA identifies some of those: responsible wagering and law enforcement.

People with gambling problems could set limits before they go to casinos, reducing the chance of bad decisions.

And beginning to move toward digital payments could close some of the loopholes that allow money laundering to persist. Tracking payments would allow law enforcement to identify offenders. Specifically, it would reduce the amount of time spend on lower-risk gamblers.

The demand for digital payments is there, officials say. Now they are moving to meet that demand.

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