(Photo: Ronda Churchill
Casino patrons in Nevada will soon be able to engage in cashless betting on table games and slot machines without physically showing ID.
Nevada Gaming Commissioners voiced concerns from the necessity for remote ID verification to the potential for identity theft, but ultimately voted unanimously Thursday to approve a regulation change allowing it.
“What we’re giving up to me is significant,” said Commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey. “I know the information for probably ten people that I can think of off the top of my head where I have their ID and I could answer any of their applications, not that I would use it for any nefarious purpose. But I’m just concerned with information getting into the wrong hands, especially in this era of identity theft, when it would be so simple to just go verify at a casino cage, or at a kiosk or anywhere.”
Current law allows patrons to set up and fund cashless betting accounts remotely, but they must appear in person to verify their identity with a casino employee.
Commissioner Ben Kieckhefer said he supports “where customers want to be and maintaining integrity…”
“This is the same technology that lets you take out a jumbo mortgage,” he said.
The regulation change does not apply to betting on sporting events or racing.
By downloading a smart phone app, a customer can complete identification verification and deposit money in a gambling account before leaving home, and begin betting and spending remotely upon entering the casino.
The American Gaming Association says eight states, including Nevada, currently allow mobile wallets.
“Cashless payments bring casinos more in line with everyday life,” says the website for Sightline Payments, a digital commerce platform that submitted a petition to gaming regulators in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic to allow remote verification of ID for in-house patrons. “Fears over the spread of COVID-19 are leading to broader consumer adoption of mobile-phone payment systems to avoid contact at cash registers.”
“Cashless transactions are quickly replacing traditional cash-based payment methods and the conversion has been further accelerated by the worldwide pandemic,” says a document submitted to regulators by Sightline. “Players are now accustomed to cashless transactions outside of gaming in their daily lives, seeking out touchless transactions due to social distancing and health concerns. …The ability for a player to establish a wagering account remotely is a critical component of this technological evolution.”
“This shift to allow for digital identity verification for wagering accounts allows Nevada’s gaming industry to leverage the best practices from across the financial services industry to enhance customer security and the customer experience,” Jennifer Carleton, Sightline’s Chief Legal Officer, said in a news release. “Nevada’s new regulation is in line with federal guidance permitting both new verification methods including knowledge-based authentication, as well as traditional documentary measures such as a customer’s driver’s license or passport.”
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