A study released late last week by the UK Gambling Commission shows that British bettors are wary of cashless gaming technologies.
The survey found that 79 percent of bettors believe using cash allows them to “feel in control” of how much they risk. In addition, 85 percent of those surveyed who had played at a land-based casino in the past year said cashless gaming solutions too easily allow individuals to bet more than they intended.
The British public agency commissioned 2CV to conduct an online survey of 314 people who had wagered in a casino or other land-based venue in the past 12 months.
Those who prefer to bet with cash say it not only lets them better control how much they spend, it also affords them privacy.
However, land-based gamblers who prefer to use cashless payments said that this was due to security, the speed and ease of making payments, having a record of transactions, and limiting contact in a post-COVID world,” the UKGC report stated. “Preference for cashless skews to younger gamblers, moderate-risk gamblers, and problem gamblers.”
The report comes at a time when cashless is becoming king across the pond. It noted that three years ago debit cards for the first time overtook cash as the primary payment source in Great Britain. Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, cards accounted for more than half of the payments.
Cashless App May Have Some Benefit, UKGC Says
While the Gambling Commission’s study points out the potential pitfalls with cashless gaming, it also points out that the technology comes with potential benefits as well.
Even though there are concerns that the technology may lead to problem gambling, the study said an app that would allow players to track their betting and give operators the ability to monitor the amount of time and money players spent could be beneficial to help those at-risk.
“To protect gamblers, this should be in addition to, not instead of, the option to pay by cash,” the report said.
The concern for now, though, is that most bettors surveyed did not care for gaming companies to have that level of access.
Overall, 22 percent said they would like a cashless gaming app and would be fine with operations having access. But 45 percent said they flatly would not like such an app. The remaining third would like an app, provided the operators didn’t have access.
The study broke that down between gamblers with no-to-little risk of problem gambling, and those who have a moderate or higher risk.
In the higher category, 29 percent liked operators having access, 38 percent did not want operators to have access, and 33 percent did not want an app at all.
In the low-risk group, only 18 percent wanted an app that gave operators information. More than half, 52 percent, did not care for an app, while 30 percent expressed interest in one as long as operators could not access personal data.
US Casinos Embracing Cashless Gaming
Cashless gaming was a buzzword on this side of the pond, thanks to the American Gaming Association, which has promoted it as a necessary step the industry needs to take.
As AGA President and CEO Bill Miller has pointed out, casinos find themselves beside flea markets and garage sales as the last cash-only operations in business.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced casinos to close in the US for a stretch last year, there was already some movement toward cashless gaming. And as casinos reopened last year, momentum picked up.
In June 2020, Global Payments Gaming Solutions kicked off a pilot project for its VIP Mobility solution at the Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma. This month, the company announced the Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, Calif., has adopted the Global Payments technology in its casino.
Last October, Boyd Gaming launched its BoydPay pilot at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Ind., and it’s since expanded to other Boyd properties.
The end goal with these initiatives isn’t just gaming-related. The idea is for patrons to use a digital wallet for all aspects of their stay at a resort.
Cashless gaming has even started to catch on in Nevada. The recently opened Resorts World Las Vegas offers cashless gaming through the hotel’s mobile app. Powered by Sightline Payments, it also can be used to pay for entertainment and hotel costs as well.
“This spectacular resort was designed to usher in a new era of hospitality in Las Vegas, with unsurpassed dining and entertainment, an array of luxury hotel accommodations, and new-age technology,” said Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas in a release issued last week to coincide with the opening of the newest Strip casino.