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Nevada Approves Debit-Card Play

Nevada Approves Debit-Card Play

Players in Nevada casinos will soon be able to use prepaid debit cards inserted directly into machines to wager at the slots. The Nevada Gaming Commission last month voted 4-0 to approve the use of the special debit cards, in an amendment to the gaming regulations backed by several operators and by Las Vegas-based payment processing supplier Sightline Payments.

In the hearings prior to the commission’s decision, Sightline attorney Dennis Neilander—a former Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman— testified that the regulatory changes address all the concerns of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, a long opponent of credit and debit card use for slot wagers.

The cards, for instance, will display a message about problem gambling visible to players when they load funds to the cards from a bank account. They will carry monetary limits based on the rules of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and/or by the limits imposed on cash withdrawals by the banks issuing the cards. Players also can set their own limits when requesting the cards.

Sightline officials say the company’s current agreement with banks places a maximum of $2,000 per day, $4,500 per week and $10,000 per month on funds loaded to the prepaid cards. The maximum on any card at any time is $25,000. Under the new regulation, players won’t be able to use the card for at least 15 minutes after transferring funds.

Sightline is expected to sign deals with Nevada operators to create debit-card programs at each property. The special debit cards will be tied to the customer’s player loyalty card, so customers can use it in lieu of the normal player’s club card to earn points while playing slots. Outside the casino, they will work like any other debit card.

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