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Cash Out in a Less Grubby Way

Taking home stacks of cash is the dream of any gambler, but if casinos get their way, payouts could soon be digital in this age of COVID-19.

Casinos in Las Vegas have reopened after the economically-devastating shutdowns from the disease, but despite dealers behind plastic face shields, socially-distanced slot machines and hand sanitizing stations to beat the band, one fact remains: money is dirty, and people nowadays are keen for another way to take home their winnings.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends "tap-and-pay" transactions to limit the spread of COVID-19 from handling cash. However, no state has such systems in place at casinos, where cash is still king.

According to a report released by the gaming industry's trade group the American Gaming Association (AGA), 59% of people who visited a casino within the past year said they are "less likely to use cash in their everyday lives" because of the pandemic.

The AGA also noted, "Any customers uneasy about using cash on the gaming floor due to health or safety concerns should have an alternate payment option available to them."

With this in mind, the organization's CEO, Bill Miller, has been pushing cash alternatives to legislators, gaming regulators and tribal leaders, the latter in the case of Native American-run casino operations like Mohegan Sun and others.

"We're still an industry, probably the last out there, that transacts only in cash," Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden recently said to investors, according to the network. He hopes the gaming industry will follow others by permitting more modern -- and less grubby -- methods of paying out lucky winners.

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