As casinos nationwide are diligently preparing to reopen to guests, it begs the question: Will gaming within the "New Normal" now occur in an entirely cashless environment? Even before COVID-19, we saw an increase in contactless and mobile solutions implementations both on the gaming floor and across the resort. The events of the last couple of months have accelerated the adoption of these technologies.
A recent PaymentsJournal story states, "30% of consumers have started using contactless payment methods since COVID-19 started. Furthermore, 70% of those new to contactless payments report that they will continue to use this payment method after the pandemic has died down."
The reality is that some consumers are superstitious when gaming, numerous psychological factors often determine if and when a player places a bet, pushes a button on a specific machine, or takes a card. The act of playing with cash may be one of those determining factors, and as a result, we probably should not expect cash to go away completely. But just as restaurants and retailers are doing, casino operators must make some operational and floorplan changes to ensure proper social distancing occurs.
The most apparent strategies include reducing the capacity of the tables, requiring guests to sit further apart, potentially staggering the operation of individual machines, and aggressively, regularly disinfecting devices throughout the casino. Headed into many re-openings over the Memorial Day weekend, we have been working very closely with our customers to create best practices based on the most up-to-date recommendations from public health and federal and jurisdictional authorities. To help facilitate the process, we have developed a set of COVID-19 Resources for casinos on our website.
For casinos to successfully execute their reopening strategies, they must implement a hybrid approach of these physical changes on the floor and more cashless gaming capabilities. Pavilion Payments' VIP Mobility will play a key role in achieving this as it provides a seamless, digital experience from funding through cash-out and leverages existing casino systems and infrastructure to enable guests to efficiently fund the casino from their account, play slots and tables using digital TITO vouchers, and cash out in several self-service ways to create a contactless commerce environment that supports proper social distancing.
Beyond this phase of reopening and social distancing, we see mobile solutions playing a more significant role in gaming in the future. In addition to a more convenient, enjoyable gaming experience, it gives guests the tools to budget better and control their spending, which is more consistent with how they manage their finances in every other aspect of their lives.
To learn more about VIP Mobility and the industry's move to cashless gaming, please visit https://www.globalpaymentsgaming.com/cashless-gaming.