Canadian Casinos May Soon Be Cash-Free Zones

By Ben Hamill - June 25 2020

Canadian Casinos May Soon Be Cash-Free Zones

With an unseen enemy still very much on the loose and threatening the health and safety of people all over the world, there has never been a time more receptible to cashless payment options than right now. And it’s a reality especially applicable to Canada’s casino industry as it prepares to accommodate customers in a safe and socially responsible manner.

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Canadian casinos have been closed since mid-March but as restrictions are more and more eased across the country, locals may soon be able to get back down to the business of enjoying the entertainment offered by their favourite slots and table games. But between air-conditioned ventilation posing heightened risks of cross-contamination, rolling shared dice, and touching shared cards and slot machines, casinos are left scrambling trying to figure out how to go about ensuring the safety of not only their players and customers, but also their employees.

And then of course, there’s cash – the tender traditionally preferred by casinos, but also the tender at the eye of, initially, a money laundering storm, and now, a global health tempest. 

The Future Is Cashless

So far, tribal casinos excepted, Alberta is the only province to have greenlighted its casinos for reopening. But as other provinces prepare to join the reopening party, cashless payment options are becoming more and more pressing a priority. And it’s a priority high on the agenda of the Canadian Gaming Association, says president and CEO Paul Burns.

The association has according to Burns been working on a cashless payment option since last year spring, and now that casinos are facing a much more “personal” enemy than even British Columbia’s “money laundromat” status, there’s no time quite as fortuitous than the present for picking up the cashless payment options pace.

Every Extra Effort Helps

The Canadian Gaming Association released a draft proposal of its “Standards for Cashless Systems” to the industry around mid-last week and hopes to receive feedback from the industry by at least the middle of July. This should enable the industry to have a standard for integration across the different jurisdictions by the late summer.

Even though health officials remain of the opinion that the risks associated with paper money isn’t necessarily greater than with door handles or other surfaces requiring regular touching, many businesses (grocery stores, etc.) have outright banned cash transactions for good measure.

And it’s a sentiment shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The organisation recommends implementing the use of “touchless” payment systems as far as practically possible.

Burns has said that he predicts more casinos will start reopening in July, and when they do, the industry should be ready.

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