John White, bacta: Cash vs Cashless debate cannot be ignored

Speaking to PaymentExpert, White reflected on the current “cash vs. cashless” debate impacting the British public and their access to services and social mobility.

Changing dynamics have impacted Britain’s amusement and machine gaming sector, as White acknowledged that “in pubs, where around 70,000 Category C £100 jackpot fruit machines are making a significant revenue contribution and occupy arguably the most profitable four square feet of a pub floor, nearly three-quarters of transactions are now non-cash.”

bacta’s leader would not be drawn into making conclusions but recognised “that cash is becoming less and less the payment option of choice for the general population.”

The trade body’s membership continues to invest in R&D to match consumer expectations through a phase of digital adaptation, yet White emphasised the importance of choice, stating that large sections of the population still use cash, and the industry is actively lobbying to offer the broadest choice of payments for its games and services. 

Refuting assumptions, White clarified to PaymentExpert that there is no government resistance to cashless gaming, which was “recommended as part of the proposals contained in the Gambling Review White Paper – a development which is very welcome.”

bacta has prioritised working in collaboration with the government to put in place measures that reduce any real risk of gambling-related harm.

Amid a generational change, the transition from cash to cashless payments in the low stake gaming industry presents both challenges and opportunities.

Whilst recognising the trend toward cashless transactions, industry leaders must continue to offer cash as a payment option to cater to all demographics to ensure that Payment Diversity is available to the British public.

“We have spent the past two years engaging with officials at DCMS and at the Gambling Commission to ensure that we have appropriate and precautionary measures in place to minimise that risk,” White concluded. 

“Our sector has a proud track record of working with government and regulators to deliver a safe and secure environment in which adults can enjoy low stake gambling entertainment. All bacta members live the safer gambling philosophy, which in part explains the exceptionally low levels of problem gambling as measured by the UK Gambling Commission.”