Coronavirus could affect casino regulators on cash – Walk into the recently reopened Las Vegas casino and you will see dealers wearing masks behind plexiglass shields, with cleaners ready for chips and hands. What you won’t see is gamblers paying their bets with their phones.
That’s because Nevada doesn’t allow digital payments on the casino floor. No country does it. But that can change and quickly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “tap-and-pay to limit handling of cash” as part of good hygiene measures to prevent Covid-19. Given this, state legislatures and game regulators may be more motivated to allow mobile payments or digital wallets to help reduce the spread of virus infections.
Nevada’s gambling regulator will hold a hearing on cashless payments on June 25.
Fifty-nine percent of people who visited casinos in the past year said they were less likely to use cash in their daily lives because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association.
“Any customer who is not comfortable using cash on the gaming bonus138 floor due to health or safety concerns should have alternative payment options available to them,” the gaming industry trade group said. AGA CEO Bill Miller has encouraged tribal leaders, legislators and regulators to consider flexible rules that allow for cash alternatives.
“Casinos are really looking for some modernization in an industry that for too long has been almost completely cash dependent,” Miller said, in an interview. Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden said during a second-quarter earnings call that his team had to reimagine how casinos operate.
“We are still an industry, perhaps the last one out there, that transacts only in cash,” said Snowden. “We are working with our regulators now to see if we can actually speed up these property digitization payments.”