A new survey from the UK Gambling Commission reveals the work that UK casinos have to do to convince their players that cashless gaming is the future.
The investigation, which saw more than 300 punters questioned, revealed that cold hard cash is still the favoured currency of choice for those playing at land-based casinos.
The main concern for punters using their debit cards or a wallet-based system is that they felt a lack of control could be an issue, with many players wanting to stick to a pre-determined budget – cashless payments could be an issue on that front.
The issue, perhaps, is that society is becoming increasingly cash-free – especially in this current climate, with more than half of all payments made in 2020 completed using debit/credit cards or e-wallets like PayPal.
And so the need to protect players who feel at risk when playing with other forms of payment method will become vital in the months and years ahead, and no doubt the Commission will be keeping close tabs on that.
Here are some of the main responses to the cashless casino study, which potentially offers an insight into the future of land-based casino gaming.
Cash is King….For Now
A whopping 79% of the survey’s respondents said they prefer to wager with cash because it helps them to feel more ‘in control’ of their play.
Keeping track of spending, and setting – and adhering to – self-imposed limits are two of the main factors behind that.
Some two-thirds of those surveyed believe that cash makes it easier for them to assess their spending at the end of a gaming session, with 85% claiming that non-cash sources make it easier to spend more than they had planned.
The issue is that casino bosses will want to more accurately reflect society soon, i.e. by manoeuvring away from cash to paper-less systems. How will they manage those expectations while keeping their players happy?
Amongst the cash-less payment methods accepted by casinos, some were more popular than others.
Players seem to prefer those systems where they have a physical ‘input’ into the process. For example, of those who use a chip and pin machine to transfer funds only 6% said they would spend more than they planned, compared to 13% for those using contactless payment.
Another factor taken into consideration is security. Some respondents said they preferred to use cash because it is – in their minds – the most secure option available to them.
Speed was also a factor, with cash ensuring fewer technical hitches in the process, while limiting contact was also a primary concern.
While there was a general reluctance to have their gaming tracked, some casino players commented on their willingness to engage with a payment app on their smart devices.
The idea might be that they fund their casino account using PayPal, Apple Pay and co, and then be able to track their spending in real time in that way.
However, an area that may prevent that from happening is data sharing. One in three respondents said they wouldn’t want gambling firms to have access to their transactions and gaming habits, while just 22% stated they would be ‘happy’ to share all with their casino.
Payments in casinos remain a complex issue, with no solution seemingly any closer at hand.