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Murali Sethuraman

Payments Modernization in Casinos
Murali Sethuraman Associate Vice President, Media, Gaming & Leisure Verticals | January 20, 2021
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Payment methods have a critical role in the gaming industry due to the rapid expansion of sports betting across the US, growth in iGaming sector, and the emergence of new digital payment options on casino floors.

Payment methods have a critical role in the gaming industry due to the rapid expansion of sports betting across the US, growth in iGaming sector, and the emergence of new digital payment options on casino floors.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a majority (57%) of past-year casino visitors report the option for digital or contactless payments on the casino floor as important because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital payments also offer players additional levers to wager responsibly, ability to set spending limits, and monitor their spending and gaming patterns.

The gambling and payment industry is complex and has tremendous regulations and compliances. Hence, when the convergence happens, there must be a disciplined approach in alignment on sharing a common goal related to player experience.

This blog post discusses the governing principles, benefits, and operators/service providers’ roadmap(s) when it comes to contactless payments.

Payment Modernization Principles

The AGA has published new Payments Modernization Policy Principles in the month of June 2020, with an industry effort that was collaborative in nature, offering a framework for flexibility in regulations, enabling payments that are digital, on the casino floor itself. These payment ecosystem modernization principles expect to instruct state and tribal regulators who are allowing for the expansion of payment choices

In Jun'20, American Gaming Association (AGA) has published new Payments Modernization Policy Principles offering a framework for flexibility in regulations, enabling digital payments, on the casino floor itself

The principles showcase the AGA’s continuing coordination with card networks, regulators, financial institutions, responsible gaming and problem gambling advocates, and other key players in the payment ecosystem:

  1. Provide visibility to the players for them to wager responsibly.
  2. Ensure that state Laws enable both flexible regulatory approach and keeping pace with evolution
  3. Give customers payment choice and convenience
  4. Address the public health concerns due to pandemic
  5. Provide guidelines in digital payment security for gaining customer confidence
  6. Create a uniform regulatory environment for all stakeholders
  7. Empower better views for law enforcement to identify offenders

Benefits

The cashless payment choice allows casino customers the ability to supplement cash with safe and secure digital payment options on the casino floor. Having more data allows better decisions and cash handling transactions leaner for the operators.

This improves responsible gaming efforts by equipping customers with digital tools to help them monitor their gaming and set limits. This also provides operators, regulators, and law enforcement agencies increased transparency into matters of anti-money laundering and financial transactions.

These benefits also include providing consumers the convenience of paying the same way they are accustomed to across our integrated resorts as well as in their daily spending. The new principles come at a critical juncture as the pandemic has brought health and safety to the forefront

Implementation Roadmap

Different departments within a casino operator’s landscape are actively involved in the design perspectives covering the governing principles. These include financial shared services group from the treasury and liability reporting, audit group on the resort wallet transactions, treasury services on the bank wallet, compliance team on regulatory and PCI/SOX, digital, gaming, and non-gaming product groups for the wallet integration, enterprise architecture team for hybrid cloud transactions, and the customer services and operations team on implementation and trainings.

From the gaming service providers’ perspective, major players are gearing up with the launch of cashless payment products. Some of the key initiatives and product rollouts are listed below:

  • The IGT’s Resort Wallet™ and IGTPay products help operators update the experience of the player, enhance safety of the player, and lessen in-casino dependency on cash handling and face-to-face interactions.
  • Scientific Games' Unified Wallet aims at cashless gaming experience by giving players the ability to instantly access funds through an app on their personal mobile device
  • Everi’s cashless/contactless solution is called CashClub Wallet® which is their fully cashless integrated mobile solution
  • According to Aristocrat Technologies, the "Resort Wallet" feature allows players to place cash on account at the cashier cage, then use player loyalty card to instantly access those funds on the casino floor

What’s Next

This cashless transition will be as striking for players as it will be for the casino management system. Customer retention managers and operators need to take proactive action to ensure that their most prominent players know of this new flexible layer.

Cashless transitions and contactless payments will deliver improved experience, safety, and flexibility for both players and casino management system

Digital payments include debit and credit options, property-specific gaming wallets, and platforms such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, etc. On this list, e-Wallets seems to be the frontrunner. Mobile channels for transfer of funds are the fastest way for playing.

All-in-one e-Payment kiosks or terminals with a screen and a flexible interface can potentially allow operators to strengthen touchpoints on the gaming machinery, and also house advertisements and targeted messaging.

As we look forward to the new world of gaming at the slots and tables, cashless payment will deliver improved experience, safety, and flexibility. There are actionable steps introduced to prepare casinos as well to make contactless payments a big success.

References

https://www.americangaming.org/new/american-gaming-association-policy-principles-offer-framework-to-advance-casino-payments-modernization/

https://g3newswire.com/us-aga-advances-its-payments-modernization-efforts/#

https://advisory.kpmg.us/events/webcast-homepage/las-vegas-webcast-series/payments-modernization-gambling.html