Consultancy Eilers & Krejcik Gaming has urged the casino sector to consider a wider range of payment options for players but warned that further safeguards need to be in place to limit fraudulent activity and risks to problem gambling.

Earlier this month, the American Gaming Association (AGA) published a new document, ‘Payments Modernization Policy Principles’, showcasing a framework for regulatory flexibility to enable digital payments on the casino floor.

Addressing public health concerns with regards to cash transactions, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming ‘agrees with and supports the industry’s initiative to digitize the payment options on the casino floor’.

The AGA report showed that the majority (57%) of past-year casino visitors report that the option for digital or contactless payments on the casino floor is important to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report included six key criteria, beginning with the need to equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly. It advocates giving customers payment choice and convenience and ensuring state laws enable a flexible regulatory approach – one that is capable of keeping pace with evolving forms of digital payments.

It also seeks to address heightened customer public health concerns, provide customers with confidence in digital payment security and create a uniform regulatory environment for casino operators, suppliers, and regulators.

Lastly the report calls for the empowerment of law enforcement to better identify offenders through digital payment analysis and monitoring of transactions.

In a heightened public health environment, Eilers & Krejcik pointed out that by providing gaming patrons with digital payment choices, operators can foster greater customer confidence.

The consultancy firm highlighted the need for ‘more specificity’ around the topic of digital payment security however, suggesting that the AGA proposal needs to ‘include the management of PII (Personal Identifiable Information) not covered by PCI and NACHA oversight’. Eilers & Krejcik also suggested that the ‘prevention and reporting of data breaches’ need to be a part of this principle.

The AGA report also called for a reduction in ‘the overwhelming number of currency transaction reports (CTR) forms from the gaming industry by allowing customers to use modern payment methods’.

By making the transition from cash-based payments to digital transaction networks, the gaming industry can be transparent and support law enforcement partners in obtaining and analyzing evidence relating to the highest-risk patrons.

Commenting on the principle, Eilers & Krejcik said: “We agree that digital is much more traceable and therefore benefits in investigations. CTR’s will go down, but SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) should increase.

“Digital allows for suspicious activity to become more apparent than with the anonymity of cash. Operators will need to adjust to this new increase in payment data to be able to leverage the higher quality of reporting available for Law Enforcement.”

Offering patrons a wider range of payment options can be more convenient, but can also pose a risk of creating an opportunity for problem gambling.

Eilers & Krejcik added: “As advocates of increased payment options, we agree that the gaming floor’s payment should closely resemble other industries options. But we need to understand that adding convenience adds opportunity for problem gambling.

“Funds that are not available because of daily limits for cards associated with a bank account could be made available with the addition of a higher limit bank transfer option on the casino floor. We also agree that it will increase law enforcement ability to stop illegal activity. But new payment options bring fraud opportunities that do not currently exist on the casino floor.

“Converting stolen cards to cash is one of several vulnerabilities that will present themselves. The innovation of cashless options far outweighs the issues, but we need to have mitigating controls to offset the risk.”