23 June, 2023

The path to profitability is paved with choice

PayNearMe spoke to Gambling Insider about the current evolution of the US payments industry.

Payments within the US have historically been neither ahead nor behind an overarching industry curve. Though the States did not see contactless payments launch until 2014, a full seven years after the UK, PayPal, Venmo and Google Wallet all had their humble beginnings in the US. It may be hard to picture the traditional high roller without a crisp stack of bills contained by an ornate money clip, but casino floors are continuing to adapt to the world outside their resort doors, and online casinos already make it possible for players to pay their way. For both convenience and security, it seems players of all levels, and at both types of casino, may prefer a cashless option.

However, it may not be the lack of cash, but the presence of options that really satisfies casino patrons’ wishes both on and offline. The US is a diverse market with many different ideas and plans for the future of gaming and betting; but all of those plans seem to include multiple, varied possibilities to suit every kind of player. If a payments company can capitalise on providing more than one service, with the necessary security and convenience built in to each feature, then its efforts can truly ‘pay off.’

Gambling Insider asked a representative from PayNearMe (company profile on page 16), a billing and payments platform with both processing and management solutions, to provide insight into the rise of two forms of payment within US casinos industry. Financial technology companies, such as the aforementioned PayPal and Venmo, are growing into a ubiquitous form of fund transfer, but what are the advantages of transferring online rather than using the same bank card linked to that account? Digital wallets now also allow players to not only link their payment details and bank cards to an app, but also store other important information. A player could potentially access their event tickets, loyalty cards, membership cards, gift cards, plane tickets, hotel reservations and more – all vital to their stay at a casino resort – from one convenient spot on their device.

With the rise of iCasinos, iGaming and online transactions in general, online payment capabilities seem like an obvious parallel path to success. However, many land-based casinos may soon also see cash as an option, rather than the standard.

Leighton Webb – PayNearMe

Speaking to Gambling Insider, Leighton Webb, VP and GM of Online Sports Betting and iGaming at PayNearMe, discusses the rise of payments beyond cash and card. Webb has been part of the broader gaming industry for 20 years, with 10 years’ experience in real-money gaming. In addition, he has launched and scaled digital consumer businesses for start-ups and world-leading brands including AOL, 20th Century Fox, The Oprah Winfrey Network and Ubisoft Entertainment.

How important is it to cater to players and bettors who prefer to use PayPal or Venmo in the US? 

Players are looking for those familiar payment options they already use in their day-to-day life; they don’t want to have to download a new app or spend time manually entering bank account or card information. New and casual players especially would rather trust payment methods where their bank accounts or cards may already be linked, such as PayPal or Venmo. In our recent research, the most preferred deposit method was PayPal, with 64% of survey respondents stating its importance. Venmo was also a preferred payment method for 48% of survey respondents. For withdrawals, the number-one factor for player satisfaction is speed. In that same research, 40% of players stated that it took more than a day to receive funds for an online gaming payout.

In total, 49% went on to say they would play and withdraw more often if they had access to their preferred payout methods. So not only will the speed of the payout keep players coming back to your platform, the methods offered will get them to play more frequently. When players withdraw via PayPal, they’ll see their account balance update within just a few minutes.

“When it comes to digital wallets, it can be summed up in three words: ‘Players want choice.’ New and casual bettors can be sceptical and less likely to want to put in either their bank account or credit card information”

Are you seeing an increase in the use of digital wallets? And if so, why do you think players gravitate toward them?

When it comes to digital wallets, it can be summed up in three words: “players want choice.” New and casual bettors can be sceptical and less likely to want to put in either their bank account or credit card information. To them, it feels more secure to use a wallet that they’re familiar with to “protect” them, so to speak. In contrast, it’s no secret that cards can be subject to higher decline rates than some of the newer digital payment types. Declines are a major player deterrent, and will quite literally scare players off. In research we conducted last summer, 17% of bettors who had experienced a decline stated they had left that betting platform and never returned. For operators, decreasing your frequency of declines by offering deposit types that are more likely to be successful for players is key.

I think in the near future, there will be a trend moving away from acquiring players “no matter the cost.” Instead, you’ll notice the operators who are able to find a path to profitability begin to pull ahead from those who don’t in the competitive market. Optimising payment margins is critical, and card declines are a detriment to those margins. If an operator does choose to accept credit cards, they’ll want to partner with a payment processor that’s familiar with gaming transactions and has experience with compliance, risk and fraud within the gaming space.

From analysing these trends, we can see that casino operators, both online and land-based, are beholden to their players’ desires to have three mutually beneficial factors underlying the overall payments experience: simplicity, security and speed. Any payments process should facilitate a player’s experience, rather than draw attention to itself with either extra steps for the player or any room for error on the operator’s part. The added security of digital transactions also gives both operators and players peace of mind when it comes to ‘knowing your customer.’ As technological advancements move both society and the gaming industry forward, US payments companies must focus on keeping up with what the modern player requires: options.