The American Gaming Association (AGA) has just issued a new policy paper on casino payments modernisation. The trade group says its recent research shows nearly six out of 10 casino visitors have expressed interest in using digital or contactless payment in their everyday lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA,” said Bill Miller, AGA’s president and chief executive in prepared remarks contained in a Tuesday press release on the topic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance our efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives,” he added. The paper “Payments Modernisation Policy Principles,” is said to reflect an “18-month, collaborative industry effort”, according to the association.
The AGA is a trade body that represents casino operators, equipment manufacturers and allied casino service providers – and is a promoter of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia trade show and conference that usually takes place annually in Macau. This year’s edition of G2E Asia has been put back twice and is currently scheduled for December.
In its latest policy paper, the AGA says it is likely that “every gaming jurisdiction will implement payment modernisation differently”. It could range “from card services… to using an app on your phone to purchase gaming chips or credits.”
The association further noted: “Adding new payments [methods] to the casino floor allows customers to make gaming transactions in a convenient form that gives them the choice they are used to in their daily lives; creates an omnichannel experience for the patron by reducing friction between gaming and non-gaming segments of an integrated resort; and extends digital payment options currently in use by sports betting and online casino apps.”
Innovations in casino gaming technology – including in payments – require the agreement of regulators even if consumers are keen to try them.
Some existing technologies that are already approved in some markets – such as remotely downloaded game content for casino slot machines to avoid casino engineers needing to be on the player floor – are already being packaged by casino technology suppliers as part of “social distancing” measures.
In the immediate response to Covid-19 – including for those markets where casinos have been temporarily shuttered and then reopened – a number of technology suppliers has already offered products designed to improve the safety of casino chips and of casino slot machine cleaning routines.
After that initial safety-phase response from the industry, more deep-rooted changes in casino consumer preferences seem likely, said the AGA in its press release.
The body stated that some of its recent research found that “59 percent of past-year casino visitors are less likely to use cash in their everyday lives because of the Covid-19 pandemic”. Around 57 percent of past-year casino visitors reported the option for digital or contactless payments on the casino floor was important to them because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The association added: “More than half (54 percent) [of respondents] indicate that they would be very likely to utilise a digital or contactless payment option when they gamble.”
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Aggregate number of visitor arrivals to Macau in October