SBC Summit: Future of digital payments moves forward, while old method lingers

May 10, 2024 1:09 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
May 10, 2024 1:09 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports

The assembly of experts who gathered Thursday at SBC Summit North America to discuss digital-payment innovations were arguably some of the smartest people in the field.

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But when moderator Jonathan Michaels, principal of Michaels Strategies, asked panelists to predict future developments in the payments field, Everi SVP Fintech Solutions George Connors tabbed a decidedly old-school method.

“Check cashing was dying 30 years ago, then 20 years ago, then 10 years ago, and it still hasn’t died,” Connors said during the panel “Predicting the Tech Revolutions of the Next Five Years” at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. “I’ve enjoyed watching not only the adoption of products into the industry, but also that the card brands and issuers are finally doing what they needed to do all along. So acceptance is way up, but that the ACH warranty side of the check was a dinosaur that was going to die. I love the fact that it’s still alive and flourishing.”

“For some of the younger generation in the audience, a check is a paper thing about this big,” quipped Trustly Director of Gaming Matt Brezinski.

While physical checks seem in no immediate danger of going the way of coin slot machines or buffets in the gaming industry, cashless payments – just as they are commonplace in retail commerce – seem inevitable.

Brezinski said the widespread adoption of cashless payments will depend on innovation.

“We’ve heard a lot from our customers that there’s a lot of time between when a consumer logs in and creates an account,” Brezinski said. “Then they go through KYC, the long strenuous process, and all of a sudden, they don’t make a deposit. How do you create that funnel to make it a lot tighter and easier for that to happen, so they can start wagering right away? Competition is really driving companies to create these types of products that really make it easier for them to get more deposits and start wagering.”

Michaels noted that a spur of innovation in the space is the extent of the challenges that often keep providers up at night.

For Caesars VP, Payments & Fraud Trent Striplin, the restlessness caused by the need to acquire customers has been replaced by issues related to fraud.

“How do we make sure our site is secure, our customers are secure, and that we’re preventing and trying to identify fraud early on?” Striplin said. “We just saw this week that Pennsylvania is making a rule change to disallow (the use of) credit (cards). It will be interesting to see, from a consumer-protection and fraud perspective, if that continues to progress across other states.”

One trend that bears watching is the issuing of cards by operators. Warren Tristam, Nuvei head of gaming and lottery, stated that digital platforms issued about a half-billion cards in 2023. “We expect that to be about 1.3 billion, according to the research, in 2027. I can see operators moving into card issuing a lot more, something that Nuvei is able to do, I hasten to add. And with that, they’ll be able to build that loyalty, that brand resonance, as well.”

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