The American Gaming Association (AGA) has published a new report that is urging state casino regulators such as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to adopt changes that would eventually see land-based casinos becoming cashless, just like their online casinos cousins. AGA Chief Executive Officer Bill Miller explained the report in a nutshell:
“Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA”
He clarified by adding that gaming should do its best to catch up to 21st century standards whilst continuing to uphold “rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures.”;
“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,” Mr Miller concluded.
Cashless Payments Required to Modernize Pa Casino Industry
As casinos re-open following the enforced shut down in response to the global pandemic, all U.S. casinos – including those in the Keystone State – should look to modernize and give preference to relying totally on cashless payments in order to deter the further spread of the virus.
The AGA argues in their report, that cashless payments would assist in keeping staff members and customers safe and avoid them handling money, which could potentially help in reducing those numbers of coronavirus-infected persons nationwide.
The AGA has requested state regulators like the PGCB to seek ways to adopt these cashless moves as a recommendation in their casino licensing agreements and make the adoption of the cashless payment solutions easier and most importantly, ensure their legality under respective current legal gambling statutes across all states.
The AGA has had 18 months to prepare and conduct the nationwide industry survey across all commercial and tribal casinos, however, obviously the spread of the global pandemic has expedited the aim of the survey outcome – creating a cashless future across casino floors nationwide.
Some casinos have already been able to transform and adopt some changes, and are offering payment solutions via Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal. Many of these casinos already have established digital online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which has led to an easier uptake of digital payment methods, however, there’s still work to do.
The Pa Cashless Response
THE PGCB addressed the topic of prepaid casino transactions in a recent June 2020 meeting. It was reaffirmed in the PGCB meeting that under HB 271, Pennsylvania’s 2017 Gaming Expansion Law, that casino customers will be permitted to; “make purchases from prepaid access instruments from casinos.”
Assistant chief counsel at the PGCB, Chad Zimmerman explained the law in full to PGCB members in attendance;
“Casinos in the Commonwealth are permitted to allow patrons to purchase value chips, credits on the slot machine or engage in other gaming transactions using a prepaid access instrument that is issued by the casino. The patron funds the account with either cash or cash equivalents at the casino. They may be able to go online through a mobile application or a website and fund the account with a debit card, credit card or ACH transaction. Once funded, the patron may use this prepaid access – which may take the form of a card, barcode, or unique identifier – anywhere in the casino to play where there is an approved cashless wagering system.”
Clearly, the law applies in Pennsylvania, however, casino patrons will need to wait. The changes won’t be made in time for casino openings on June 29, however, PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach made it clear it will eventually come but changes will need to be made;
“Before this new payment option would come to fruition, there would need to be regulations and approved internal controls from the casinos, along with hardware and software that would need to be tested.”
We can’t wait.