The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved amendments to current cashless gaming laws that would make it easier for gamblers to move debit card funds from bank accounts in casinos.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the amendments which were voted on at the gaming commission meeting on Thursday are effective immediately. The changes could lead to new cashless gaming systems that are available to transform into electronic payments using currency in casinos.
The reforms come as casinos and gaming firms explore ways to improve their measures of health and safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos nationwide had been closed due to the pandemic, and reopening only recently began. Casinos in Nevada reopened June 4.
The American Gaming Association last week called on states where gambling is legal to amend cashless choice regulations. The AGA unveiled its new “Payments Modernization Policy Principles.” According to a news release, they came from an 18-month study “to provide regulatory flexibility allowing digital payments on the casino floor.”
The AGA further said that allowing casino customers to make payment choices encourages them to use secure digital payment options instead of cash. According to the Associated Press, a limited number of casinos have permitted the use of debit or credit cards, as well as applications such as Apple Pay , Google Pay and PayPal.
But for most casinos, the technology is not yet available and there are no laws in place to accommodate the cashless alternative in their States.
In the release Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, 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.
“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.”
United Auto Workers Local 3555, which represents casino workers in Nevada, said it opposed the reforms about responsible gambling problems, the potential for fraud or hacking, possible job losses and decreased tips, cdcgamingreports.com said.
According to the Review-Journal report, there was some resistance from responsible gaming supporters in Nevada too. Many industry experts, including the AGA, find cashless usage easier to track and it could require restrictions on expenses.
According to the Review-Journal, members of the Nevada gaming board have noted that technology firms would need to be approved, and the board will still control cashless systems.