Casino Industry Proposes Cashless Policy, But There Are Some Concerns
The creation of cashless casinos has been deliberated on for a while now, and major stakeholders are weighing the pros and cons. However, it came as a surprise when the president of Penn National Gaming, Jay Snowden, brought up this topic to the investment community during the Aug 6th earning call.
This subject has been one of the ‘top topics’ for decades, and it gained a divided vote from people who were against or in support. Still, the emergence of Covid-19 has shed new light on the benefits of bringing this idea to casinos, with reasons on how beneficial this policy to prevent the transmission of viruses.
During the conference call, Jay Snowden talked about the importance of enforcing this policy to casinos. He elaborated on how modern tech has made it easy for digital transactions. He used the average day-to-day activities to illustrate the height cashless systems have attained.
He also explained how most grocery stores, bars, and restaurants now make use of cashless payments since almost all customers have a credit or debit card irrespective of age.
Earlier this year, a working group from the American Gaming Association (AGA) researched these concerns for up to 18 months and listed some principles urging for a significant change to current restrictions placed on the use of digital currency in casinos.
The research showed positive reviews from casino customers, who would fancy this development for their health benefits, as it will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Shortly after, The Nevada Gaming Commission – in support of the AGA – approved changes to the rules, which will aid a successful transition from a cash-dependent community to one that uses digital currency. Following behind was the Pennsylvania regulators who responded positively to these new rules that same month.
Major Concerns If the New Cashless Policy Is Enacted
Recently, a new Circa casino located in Las Vegas announced that they would be using a cashless system, and it will be available for all players to access. Players can buy chips using their cards without the need to go to the ATM for withdrawal.
To many people, this is a trend that has some fantastic benefits if it is enacted, but as in all-new initiatives, some problems need careful consideration and safeguard. It will not be an obstacle to the advancement of this idea.
Significant concerns raised focused on gamblers who don’t have control over how they spend their funds. The idea of cashless casinos is excellent and good, but to people who developed these habits, it might not be suitable for them.
Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Gambling, was among the people who brought this problem to light. He explained the problem faced by gamblers and their free-spending habits of not caring for their financial status, although he believed that with careful monitoring and safeguards, this problem could be curbed.
With health and safety concerns associated with COVID-19, Whyte said: “they’re being used, quite frankly, as a means to push through an agenda that has been decades in the making. Cashless [transactions are] part of the economy and society, and certainly the way most transactions are done, but gambling is not just a regular industry like any other. It’s different and special, and that’s why it’s highly regulated … not the same as running a restaurant.”
If a cashless policy should happen, safeguards should be implemented
Keith Whyte referred to the rules created by the AGA if the cashless policy is used. Rules like giving a choice to gamblers to self- exclude or placing tools to set limits on their digital accounts to reduce the free flow of funds etc.
He advised the industry on using this information in developing a safe and useable option for gamblers with these habits.
He also said that if regulators and operators move forward to embrace cashless conversion without thorough scrutiny of potential impacts, the AGA won’t take such concerns into considerations.
He added: “When there is evidence of harm, or suspicion of evidence of harm, you have to raise your level of caution,” he said. “The dynamics of cashless are so attractive, and we understand why, and for the vast majority of customers, it is simply a convenience and doesn’t have a negative impact, but for a percentage … they may well have problems.”