Cashless gaming is becoming a reality that will improve patron convenience and operator efficiency. By 2015, it has been estimated that fewer than 10 percent of all retail transactions will be conducted in cash. The rest are electronic, based on plastic cards or, more recently, mobile devices.
Primarily due to responsible gaming concerns, regulations have generally prevented casinos from acting like retailers and accepting credit and debit cards. These regulations are changing.
In February, the Nevada Gaming Commission made a significant policy change, for the first time allowing a modern payment instrument to be used to fund gaming play. Sightline Payments, a Las Vegas affiliate of Vantiv Gaming Solutions, worked with Nevada operators and regulators for more than two years to develop a prepaid system and the new regulations that allow for its use in casinos.
When a patron opts for a gaming prepaid card, they are opening an account with the bank that issues the card. Money deposited is protected by FDIC insurance and the card benefits from federal loss and fraud protections.
Patrons can fund their account online via a transfer from their bank account or from a credit or debit card, or a mobile app. From the wagering account they can electronically move funds to and from gaming devices. The prepaid system matches the patron’s player card number with the prepaid account number, so the patron doesn’t alter the usual gaming routine.
The prepaid account comes with a card that resembles any other debit/credit card, but carries the casino’s brand and logo. It can be used at any merchant in the U.S., or online, where the card is accepted. Once a patron finishes gaming, the funds are sent back to the prepaid account.
This gives casinos a powerful new way to market to patrons, knowing customers’ purchasing habits outside of the casino. It also allows patrons to use one sole account to fund both online play and brick-and-mortar play, keeping the user experience consistent.
Nevada is the first state to make this significant change. It is likely that other states will soon follow suit and allow cashless gaming.
For more information, visit sightlinepayments.com.