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Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice: cashless payment

There are certain conditions and codes of practice that must be adhered to when providing cashless payment facilities. These include, for example, the need to implement effective policies and procedures for minimising certain risks to the licensing objectives; and provisions that limit the circumstances in which credit can be provided, or prevent credit cards being accepted (and where the Gambling Act does not otherwise prohibit or restrict any such facility).

The Gaming Machines (Circumstances of Use) Regulations 2007 (opens in a new tab) provide prohibitions and restrictions on the use of debit and credit cards for payments to play machines, which are straightforward safeguards intended to prevent consumers from gambling more than they can afford via a card.

Specific matters in relation to gaming machine payments

Our view is that card payments that originate from contactless mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay should be regarded as the same as payments to use a gaming machine by means of a card itself. This is because the device used for such types of payment (for example, a smartphone or watch) is essentially just a medium by which a contactless card payment is made (that is, the debit card sat behind the payment system is charged directly and the customer’s bank account is debited; the same as for any payment where the debit card itself is used).

Both contactless card and mobile payment system transactions can be completed quickly, and so the risks to the consumer are largely identical.

The regulations also prescribe limits as to the amounts an individual can deposit onto a gaming machine in any single action, and separately the (non-refundable) amount a player can commit to play the machine. These measures were designed to ensure consumers make regular decisions as to how much money they wish to commit to play a machine, and they must be observed regardless of the means of payment. That is, whether the customer has inserted cash into the machine, or whether they have transferred funds from a debit card via indirect means, a TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) method or an operator-provided app-based digital wallet, a customer must only be able to deposit and commit funds to the gaming machine’s meters in accordance with these limits.

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