I am worried

I am worried that it seems inevitable that in the near future the UK will become a Cashless Society and I don’t think that the land based gaming sector is ready, and I am also worried that there are those who would use this seismic shift as a mechanism to see the entire industry wither on the vine. The same people who, according to their website, believe that anyone providing any sort of gaming in the UK is some sort of monster. You know who I mean surely?

In the US there is apparently a law in place that will prevent their economy becoming entirely cashless because of the number of people who will never qualify for a bank account, or a credit card, but (as usual) we will ignore that in the UK until it becomes a serious social issue. Already I see buskers in the London Underground with ‘touch here for a £2 donation’ sign. I wonder how many people do that? Not many is my guess…

So what happens when they decide to stop making coins? I hear whispers that the 2p and 10p coins are likely to be the first to go, which for most people won’t be an issue, and most people won’t care. It will of course be an issue for FEC operators who still operate their ‘Pushers’ on that size of coin, although there is an easy fix for them by moving to Token Play on the Pushers, the dispensing of which will also provide them with an opportunity to give away more coins, or less, in exchange for a contactless payment, something which FEC operators have been doing in the US for many years.

For gaming machine operators in AGCs and Bingo Clubs TITO is in full swing and TITO play tickets can be dispensed from many existing change machines using contactless pay so not a real issue, although for those wishing to ‘cash in’ (soon to be an anachronistic term) it could be more of an issue unless the same change machines can be configured to put money back onto the original card? ‘Pas de probleme’ surely?

Pubs are, in my view, much more of an issue. I realise that there are developers busy developing Apps which allow players to interface between their bank account and the machine using the App, but I have to say that one thing I have learnt over many years is that if you introduce too much friction into any gaming transaction the drop off rate is significant. People just can’t be bothered. Even trying to get players to go up an escalator to reach beautiful machine lounges in AGCs and Bingo Clubs has always met with significant resistance. Saying to a player, ‘Ok, download that App, enter your details, enter your bank account and Hey Presto you can play the machine’? ‘Really? Sorry mate, I’ll just have another beer’.

Surely the ideal mechanic is to allow players to touch in on the gaming machine and deposit whatever they want to deposit in the same way that they can use contactless in every other aspect of their lives, simples? Well it should be, and it must be, and that must be the prime objective for current industry leaders. Of course the aforementioned ‘antis’ will be shrill in their objections to something they perceive as so ghastly and this is what the land based (gaming entertainment) sector must address, and they need to do this as swiftly as possible or we will see machines coming out of pubs, out of production, and in the future only the keenest entrepreneurs providing ‘bar top’ machines in pubs on request…

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