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US – AGA advances its payments modernization efforts

By - 16 June 2020

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released new Payments Modernization Policy Principles, reflective of an 18-month, collaborative industry effort, that provide a framework for regulatory flexibility allowing digital payments on the casino floor.

The principles come at a time when the majority (57 per cent) of past-year casino visitors report the option for digital or contactless payments on the casino floor is important to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enabling payment choice allows casino customers the ability to supplement cash with safe and secure digital payment options on the casino floor. This not only improves responsible gaming efforts by equipping customers with digital tools to help them monitor their gaming and set limits, but also provides operators, regulators, and law enforcement increased transparency into matters of anti-money laundering and monitoring of financial transactions.

Payments modernisation is allowing regulatory flexibility to introduce digital payments on the casino floor. It would give customers the ability to use payment methods other than cash, offer the ability to set limits via an app or with their financial institution, and enhance the ability to track their gaming activities on the casino floor. Digital payments include debit and credit options, property-specific gaming accounts or wallets, and platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.

Bill Miller, President & CEO, said: “This is a modern industry and payment options on the casino floor need to reflect that. The AGA’s payments modernization working group has driven our efforts forward and engaged stakeholders across gaming to develop our new Payments Modernization Policy Principles.”

Early last year, the AGA convened a working group of members to evaluate the regulatory, processing, and consumer landscape related to expanding payment options on the casino floor. The Payments Modernization Policy Principles, the product of that collaborative effort, seek to educate state and tribal regulators who are considering expanding payment choice.

The seven principles reflect the AGA’s ongoing coordination with regulators, card networks, responsible gaming and problem gambling advocates, financial institutions, and other key players in the payments ecosystem.
1. Equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly.
2. Ensure state laws enable a flexible regulatory approach, capable of keeping pace with evolving forms of digital payments.
3. Give customers payment choice and convenience.
4. Address heightened customer public health concerns.
5. Provide customers confidence in digital payment security.
6. Create a uniform regulatory environment for casino operators, suppliers, and regulators.
7. Empower law enforcement to better identify offenders through digital payment analysis.

Mr. Miller added: “These principles provide a framework for policymakers adopting payments modernization and advance several industry efforts. For one, digital payment options equip customers with advanced responsible gaming tools like limit setting and spend monitoring while also paving the way for further innovation in the responsible gaming space. They also give consumers the convenience of paying the same way they are accustomed to across our integrated resorts and in their daily spending. And finally, digital payments provide law enforcement with added transparency in regard to anti-money laundering efforts and other matters of financial regulation. This release comes at a pivotal moment as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought health and safety to forefront of the payments modernization discussion. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging contactless payments, there is more urgency than ever to give customers the ability to choose the payment option that makes them most comfortable. AGA research shows that due to coronavirus 57 percent of past-year casino-goers would value digital or contactless payments options while gaming.”

Recent AGA 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. This translates to customer preferences on the casino floor, as more than half (54 per cent) indicate that they would be very likely to utilize a digital or contactless payment option when they gamble.

“The AGA is committed to providing the tools and information needed as our members, regulators, and other stakeholders look to bring payment innovation to the casino floor. In the meantime, best of luck to everyone as we continue to work together to safely and responsibly reopen,” he added.

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