John White introduced David Parker of the Emerging Payments Association to the Bacta Convention with a warning that he may “scare some operators”. However, the payments expert outlined how a cashless future could provide an inbuilt social responsibility method.
Highlighting the decline of cash and the urgent need for the amusements industry to go cashless, David Parker, Emerging Payments Association Ambassador, provided a strong social responsibility case to both operators and the Gambling Commission why this should happen sooner rather than later.
At the Bacta Convention,he began by outlining the current landscape for cash, painting some concerning pictures for an industry tied to coins and notes by regulation.
“Firstly, the good news is the actual amount of physical cash in existence is growing,” he said, before turning to the real issue at hand.
“But the bad news is, if you look at the numbers underneath, 14 percent have no cash in their wallet or purse. One in ten don’t even bother carrying a wallet anymore.
“These figures are scary for an industry that needs to rely on people having cash today. Payments are going digital, whether we like it or not. There are a number of different ways, but it’s an overall direction – we were up this year 390 percent on contactless transactions, it’s growing and that will continue.”
Parker confirmed that this was not just a problem for AGCs, as children also have emerging technology in the form of prepaid cards with parental supervision. He said the main threat to cash came from contactless, with the average payment working out at £6 on average, whereas card transactions came to £20-£30. Whichever way customers pay, Parker emphasised that a key benefit for the amusements industry will be to the player through increased social responsibility capability.
“The beauty of electronic money is it can be tracked, traced and monitored,” he said.
“You have the ability to limit the velocity and volume of the money spent, so you can say this card can only be used at maximum £50 a day,and you could also limit it to £75 in a month and £300 in a year.
“So if you want to show how it will help social responsibility you can say: ‘We will force people to register their cards with us, and that way we can track spend’. I think it’s quite hard to do that with a £10 note.”
With all of the industry’s trade associations pushing for cashless, the question was raised to Parker: How do we actually achieve it?
Placing the industry regulations up in a slideshow, Parker speculated on some possible existing loopholes – such as the non-mention of pre-paid cards, which may allow them to be used depending on the how you interpret the regulations.
Once regulatory barriers are overcome the solution becomes simple: “Get manufacturers to put contactless on machines,” Parker concluded, suggesting that Bacta would have a part to play in securing a good-value “community buy” deal from financial service providers.