Player Protection Symposium: As the gaming industry evolves, financial institutions work to protect consumers

Player Protection Symposium: As the gaming industry evolves, financial institutions work to protect consumers

  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
July 13, 2022 4:16 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States
  • Commercial Casinos
  • From the Floor
  • Igaming
  • Sports Betting

As the gaming industry evolves, so do payment options for consumers.

A few years ago, Visa Gaming Wagering & Lottery Lead Christopher Granger was working with state lotteries trying to get them “to open up and accept Visa cards.”

When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned in 2018, Granger pivoted to that development quickly. Visa, like most financial institutions, was almost immediately prepared to meet the challenge of payments for transactions related to sports betting. Just as banks and credit-card companies are now preparing for the possibility of the federal government legalizing marijuana, according to Fifth Third Bank VP Senior Treasury Management Officer Josh Dunaway, years of behind-the-scenes work occurred, so banks and credit-card companies were ready for PASPA’s repeal.

“We’re in the business of transacting legal commerce,” Granger said during Tuesday’s panel discussion “Establishing the Role of Financial Institutions in Player Protection” at the Player Protection Symposium at the Midtown Loft and Terrace in Manhattan. “So as soon as it became legal, it became a states’-rights issue. As soon as each state legalized it, it was open to commerce and Visa was happy to support that.”

The discussion was part of the opening day of SBC Summit North America, which continues Wednesday at the Meadowland Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Panel host Jonathan Michaels, SVP Strategic Development and Government Affairs for Sightline Payments, noted that when he previously worked for the American Gaming Association, there were concerns about financial institutions safeguarding players when processing transactions related to gaming.

Dunaway said that banks became comfortable with reputational risk. “We were supporting clients in a regulated industry. And we look for the controls on their side: that there are max-bet controls and limits in place and responsible gaming disclosures are on their websites.

“So, from the commercial-client perspective, we’re looking at it and saying, you have to make sure you’re offering some of these controls direct to the consumer.”

From Visa’s perspective, Granger readily admitted that the credit-card company relies on financial institutions to do “most of the heavy lifting” when onboarding gaming operators. But unlike any other category in the U.S., Visa double-checks all the work done by acquiring institutions.

“They do a great job and it goes really quickly,” Granger said. “We feel really secure that the partner banks that we have onboarding operators and the work that my risk and legal team is doing, that it’s done right.”

Michaels noted over the last two years that cashless payments have become one of the buzzwords in the gaming industry. According to Dunaway, sports betting and igaming allow more secure transactions via cashless than those occurring at brick-and-mortar casinos that use ACH (automated clearinghouse) and wire activity.

“You can’t track (ACH and wire) as easily as you can with some of the new innovative payments,” Dunaway said, “whether it be a Sightline Play+ card that you have all the transaction data to the network, or credit, debit, and some of the new solutions around instant payments for a clearinghouse network. There are definitely things Fifth Third Bank is working to support more, so that we have more data behind the scenes that our financial crimes and AML compliance teams can make sure we’re reviewing those transactions that you don’t see later; so you don’t see international transactions and OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) flags that are occurring. That just gives us more confidence to support the industry as a whole.”

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.