Amid Pandemic, Nevada Gaming One Step Closer To Becoming Cashless

Written By Marc Meltzer on June 30, 2020 - Last Updated on July 9, 2020

Last week, the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) held a public hearing to discuss cashless gaming.

The Silver State is now one step closer to launching digital payment technology for its casinos.

During a public hearing, the NGC unanimously approved updated terms, regulations and definitions for cashless gaming.

The changes will impact Nevada gaming in two ways.

First, this will modernize gaming. Second, this will benefit casino operators who are working under Nevada’s COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

Updating cashless gaming terms

The new definition for cashless gaming allows transfers to digital wallets, apps and other similar technology:

“A licensee shall not allow a patron to use a debit instrument for purposes of making electronic transfers of money from a financial institution directly or indirectly to a game or gaming device unless the transfer uses a cashless wagering system approved by the chair for such transfer.”

Problem gaming is a concern, so the gaming commission made sure the language continues to address that. The new verbiage still prohibits direct transfers of money from a bank account to a gaming device. There will still be a step in between taking funds from a bank and directly depositing them into a gaming account.

However, it will be easier for casino customers to move funds from their bank accounts to gaming accounts using a debit or prepaid debit card.

The technology must undergo testing by the Nevada Gaming Control Board before they approve it.

Other language in the regulation was changed, but this addition is the biggest difference.

Gaming industry supports the changes

Prior to the NGC meeting, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released a new framework for how casinos can modernize digital payments on the casino floor.

Shortly after the new terms were approved, AGA President Bill Miller tweeted in support of the NGC’s changes:

In a statement about modernizing digital payments, Miller said:

“Advancing opportunities for digital payments has been one of our top priorities since my first day at the AGA. It aligns with gaming’s role as a modern, 21st-century industry and bolsters our already rigorous regulatory and responsible gaming measures.”

He continued, “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.”

In addition to AGA support, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) also approves of the changes.

Dan Reaser, an attorney representing AGEM, said:

“As we collectively experienced over a decade ago with ticket in-ticket out technologies, driving the gaming environment toward a cashless environment will have profoundly positive impacts.”

Mobile sports betting could also improve

The cashless gaming language mostly focuses on slot machines and table games. However, this could lay the groundwork for improving mobile sports betting.

Nevada was the first state to offer mobile sports betting.

Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, more states continue to legalize retail and online sports betting. Nevada continues to provide a great retail sportsbook experience; however, mobile sports betting is not quite as stellar.

Other states offer easy remote account sign-up with different payment platforms. Nevada still forces sports bettors to visit a casino to sign up for an account. While existing customers can fund an account via a mobile device, there are fees.

In 2019, the NGC voted down mobile sports betting account registration. Presently, the new language could allow it and increase options for depositing and withdrawing funds.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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