Cashless gambling at US casinos is now the new trend adopted by many land casinos. The reason is obviously to avoid the virus contact and to take precautions for COVID 19. The land casinos want players to avoid handling money during the coronavirus outbreak. Recently, the American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, called on regulators in states where gambling is allowed to update their rules or laws to integrate cashless options for gamblers.
The push follows an 18-month study of the issue by both commercial and tribal casinos, and equipment suppliers to try to pave the way for cashless transactions on a wider basis.
Currently, few land casinos have now started cashless gambling. The players can fund the casino account using debit or credit cards, as well as apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal. Wider acceptance of these options has long been a goal of the gambling industry.
According to Bill Miller the gambling group’s president and CEO, advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of the top priorities since his first day at the AGA. It aligns with gaming’s role as a modern, 21st-century industry and bolsters their already rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures. The COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance their efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives.
Health officials say the coronavirus can survive on paper currency, but that risk is low compared to person-to-person spread, which is the main way people get infected.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says using touchless payment methods is a good idea where possible.
Casinos in Nevada now allow cashless options
Though there has not been widespread adoption of digital payment options at casinos or other gambling facilities in the U.S. casino industry due to several factors including limits imposed by state legislators or gambling regulators. But a handful of casinos in Nevada and some tribal casinos across the U.S. have digital options. Also, technology is a new concept in many places.
Nevada gambling regulators are “open to looking at new ways of how technology, including cashless wagering, that can help attract new customers and be beneficial for not only the industry but even for responsible gaming measures as well. Among the benefits of cashless transactions cited by the AGA are the ability for gamblers to more easily follow and set limits on their gambling activity, and cutting down on the number of currency transaction reports that casinos have to file with the government regarding some customer transactions at the casino.
The continued spread of the coronavirus in parts of the country as many casinos reopen after months of being idled due is another reason the industry wants to ramp up cashless payments quickly.
The types of Cashless payments at land casinos
Following are the types of Cashless payments at land casinos now being popularised:
Gaming companies have figuratively succeeded at placing an ATM inside smartphones via the digital wallet, and drastically shortened table-side transactions via touchscreen technology. Transformation went one step further in late March, at the 2020 trade show and convention of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), when IGT unfurled its land-based IGTPay.
IGT introduced IGTPay for land-based casino operations, designed to fund casino players’ cashless wagering accounts from external sources.
There are two aspects to IGT’s land-based casino cashless payments solution:
•The IGTPay payment gateway product
•Payments services required for ongoing operation
This is the company’s proprietary payment gateway product, which has been operational in U.S. digital gaming and iLottery markets since 2013.
Company officials say that while other funding suppliers have no choice but to integrate their gateway solution into another vendor’s casino management system, IGTPay is unique because its solution is tightly coupled with the IGT Advantage casino management system.
Unlike other options on the market, this product can provide direct access to all available major external funding sources, including credit and debit cards, e-wallets and bank accounts, officials assert.
When equipped with Resort Wallet, a player can enter the property without any currency, stride past the casino cage, walk up to a slot machine and use a mobile device to immediately engage in play.
IGTPay is available for sale as a turnkey, add-on module for IGT Advantage customers who are considering reducing cash handling, and who also want to provide players a cashless experience by accessing an external funding source. IGTPay works in harmony with Cardless Connect and Resort Wallet.
Resort Wallet & Cardless connect
Cardless Connect allows a player’s smartphone to become a loyalty card. Players tap their phone on an enabled machine to card in and immediately collect points. Resort Wallet creates a secure digital player wallet, enabling a patron to easily transfer funds to and from gaming machines and transfer funds to tables, sports betting and retail, all by using their mobile device. Players can conveniently maintain slot, sports and online balances within the same digital casino wallet.
With Resort Wallet, players simply tap their phones on any Cardless Connect-enabled gaming machine to card in, then easily and quickly transfer funds between slot machines on-site, as well as between a casino’s sister properties. Funds in the digital wallet can be redeemed for cash at a kiosk or the casino cash desk, or securely maintained in the wallet for the next play session or property visit.
Quik Ticket solution has drawn a lot of attention since its introduction. The product is aimed at maximizing funds to the casino floor and dispensing a gaming ticket in lieu of cash from an Everi kiosk, which both traditional and new cash-access patrons appreciate.
The Quik Ticket transaction is authorized as a point-of-sale (POS) debit purchase, which may allow patrons to withdraw more funds, compared to traditional ATM withdrawals, which are limited by banks. Everi has consistently seen double-digit organic adoption of QuikTicket by patrons and new conversions to this method, which drives more cash to the floor.
Cash Club Concierge
CashClub Concierge is another solution providing patrons more freedom and convenience regarding cash access and management. The product delivers personalized cash access cage service right at the guest’s table position via mobile tablets and mobile point-of-sale devices, through Everi’s CashClub payments software platform. The solution can reduce the disruption of play, as guests don’t have to step away from gaming to access additional funds. It can also shorten lines and wait times at the cage.
Konami’s Synkros cashless wagering accounts are used by many cruise lines, and approved in multiple land-based jurisdictions, including Nevada.
During a voyage on a cruise ship with Synkros, carded players can perform a “Folio Charge,” entering the amount they want to download directly through the player tracking interface at the slot machine. Synkros then requests the charge to the folio (which has the player credit card on file). If the request is successful, the amount is charged to the credit card on file and downloaded to the slot machine.
If players don’t use all the funds on the slot machine or have winnings, upon card removal the remaining funds on the gaming machine are automatically uploaded to their cashless wagering account. Patrons can then choose to play other games by using the funds in the account, or go to the cage to withdraw physical cash for the funds on their account.
Gamblers can also use an interfaced kiosk that supports debiting or crediting the player’s cashless wagering account to withdraw physical cash for the funds balance on their account. At the end of the voyage, any remaining balance in the account is automatically credited back to the folio. For players who aren’t on a cruise, or simply want to embrace innovation, Soukup touts the Synk Connect mobile application, planned for several key Konami Synkros customers, in addition to those that have already begun using it.
Unified Wallet by Scientific Games allows the customer in getting access across the wallet, the slots, the tables, hotels, online, point-of-sale, the lottery, etc. This is similar to Starbucks, where you tap your phone and pay your bill.
The Unified Wallet solution enables cashless options not only for slots, but also for online gaming (website or mobile). SG Unified Wallet can be funded either through a mobile payment gateway or at a cage with patron deposits. The type of payment method (credit, debit, or ACH) depends on the payment provider chosen by the property.
When it comes to the mobile app, the properties can choose SG’s mobile solution or integrate their existing app with the Unified Wallet module, along with third-party payment gateway integration.
Unified Wallet, on the other hand, is a standalone, cloud-compatible service, built using the latest technology stack that enables enhanced security standards, leverages solutions like Docker for easier deployment, and scales efficiently to meet a wide range of customer needs.
The solution is built with an API-first approach, to make it easier to integrate with a wide range of payment providers and support a wide spectrum of platforms, including social gaming, electronic games, sports betting, lottery, table games and retail purchases.
From an operator perspective, the cashless solution improves player engagement, personalizes marketing, and reduces the friction in onboarding younger demographics. For players, it provides the ability to track spend, gain control of gaming habits and lose something important—lines.
How to do cashless activation at casinos?
As most of the US land casinos have gone online with their own website or an app for mobile.
All you need is to download the casino’s player app from the app store, sign up using the email address and set up the password for the mobile app access.
Next step is registering for the casino’s loyalty program, or linking your existing loyalty account to the mobile app.
The player then adds a funding source by selecting a payment provider and registering one or more payment methods: credit, debit, ACH. Next comes adding funds from the payment provider: for example, $100 from a debit card to the Unified Wallet.
A player then initiates a play session at the slot machine using card or cardless (a phone number, mobile device BLE) and transfers the funds from the Unified Wallet to the slot machine, using mobile or in-game display screens. The funds then can move from the wallet to the slot device using mobile or in-game display screens: for example, $75 from the wallet to the slot machine.
At the end of the session, the player transfers the funds from the slot back to the wallet using a mobile device or in-game display screen: for example, $30 from slot machine to wallet, with an end balance of $55.
Online play is always cashless
Online casinos in the US are always cashless. At any US online casino, there are many online payment mode to fund your casino account. You can make a deposit with Credit or Debit Card; American Express, Bitcoins, Litecoins, Ethereum, EWallets and other methods. Cashless payments are easier, safer and faster and best solutions to stop the spread of coronavirus.