Prepaid debit cards for slots approved
February 22, 2014
LAS VEGAS — Prepaid debit cards tied to a casino customer's rewards account have been approved for wagering on slot machines in Nevada.
The Nevada Gaming Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to approve amendments in state regulations, paving the way for the use of the cards.
The action was taken with the support of several major gambling companies and Sightline Payments, a Las Vegas-based payment processing business, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The parent Nevada Gaming Control Board must approve the technology before the cards can be used.
Attorney Dennis Neilander, who represents Sightline, told the commission the changes address concerns raised by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, which has long fought the use of traditional credit cards on gambling devices.
Monetary limits on the prepaid cards — also called prepaid access cards — are governed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, he said. Many banks also set cash limits on the cards, and customers can place their own limits on what a card can hold.
The cards can be tied to a customer's player loyalty card that allows reward points to be earned for betting and other activities in casinos.
Neilander, a former Gaming Control Board chairman and an adviser to the Council on Problem Gambling, said Sightline would place a message about problem gambling visible to players when they load funds from a bank account to the card. Sightline plans to negotiate deals with Nevada casino operators.
Station Casinos Chief Financial Officer Marc Falcone said the card would benefit patrons and addresses concerns raised by responsible gambling proponents. The cards also would help cut casino costs, he said.
"We have significant cost associated with obtaining and handling cash," Falcone wrote in a letter to the commission.
MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. also supported the regulation changes, as did slot-machine route operator United Coin Machine.
United Coin General Manager Steve Des Champs said the cards also would make it safer for customers because they would not need to carry large amounts of cash.