A Digital Vegas? Nevada Takes First Step Toward Cashless Sports Betting

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Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jun 26, 2020, 01:00 PM EDT

Cashless wagering, including sports betting, may be on its way to Las Vegas.

The Nevada Gaming Commission has removed restrictions preventing cashless wagering in the state, which could be the first meaningful step toward changing how money is handled in casinos and would include mobile registration and banking on sportsbook apps.

Casinos across the country have been pushing harder for cashless wagering since the coronavirus pandemic struck the nation. The same could be said for sportsbooks as live sports begin to return.

The previous casino rules required money to be digitally transferred to an in-building machine that would print out dollar amounts. Now, money can be transferred from a digital wallet directly to a table or slot machine and back. Bettors could already wager on mobile apps in Vegas but had to deposit and withdraw in-person.

While the measure faced some opposition from people concerned about the accessibility for those suffering from addiction, the Gaming Commission felt removing the restrictions wouldn’t cause harm on either side.

“I don’t think you really give anything up by approving the first step,” acting Gaming Commission Chairman John Moran told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan said last month she didn’t get more inquiries about cashless wagering when the coronavirus hit than she did before.

Still, she has made it known that she’s open to finding safer routes when it comes to wagering.

“I’ve been pretty public saying that I’m open to looking at new ways that technology can help attract new customers and be beneficial for not only the industry but even for responsible gaming measures as well,” Morgan told the Review-Journal in May.

While cashless wagering would revolutionize casino payments, there’s concern about job losses among casino employees.

According to Casino.org, the United Auto Workers, which represents over 10,000 casino workers across nine states, said there could be thousands of layoffs, which may lead to a strain on state resources.

After taking the first step toward cashless wagering, the next will be to approve regulations. Then, mobile apps will surely begin to swarm, hoping to cash in on the new Las Vegas.

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