The growth of payment acceptance and the emergence of digital payments within the US gambling market has served to accelerate the growth of the sector in a significant way.

The Payment Expert track, which hosted the Payments in North America panel sponsored by Nuvei, brought together industry leaders to discuss the importance of the payment journey in the region and what it means for wagering engagement.

With one of the key challenges in the US being payment acceptance, Lee Terfloth, Vice President of Online Gaming Product, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, detailed: “What has been holding back the acceptance of new payment methods is the unlawful internet gaming act as well as the wire act and having payments cross-state line, that holds things back for Bank of America and for Chase, the two largest banking institutions in the United States.

“Without them willing to truly support online gaming you’re never going to see the true wider acceptance online gaming needs. It is getting better, TD Bank launched in 2013 and took some time out for four or five years and we saw a significant rate of acceptance rates following that.”

Genia Gurevitz Head of Payments, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co., Law Firm, began by explaining some of the key challenges for European firms looking to expand their technology into the North American market.

He underlined that ‘the US market is very complex for gaming operators in terms of regulation, these regulations could be very restrictive’. One of the key reasons he also cited for the US market being such a complicated challenge for the operators in terms of payments was the banking system in the country.

The banking system within the US was also something that he blamed for the slow acceptance of payment methods within the region, describing it as ‘falling behind’.

Robert Haggan, Senior Advisor iGaming at Nuvei, shared: “It would be nice to see advancements in additional alternative payments like Google and Apple Pay, just to start to expand the current stack of payment options available and hopefully that happens in the very near future.

“The primary payment option that firms start with is quicker, so if the credit card is going to be declined you need to offer a solution that is going to be as simple as possible compared to a credit card. Eliminating as much friction as possible when it comes to the consumer journey.”

Terfloth agreed and affirmed both points made prior to him, stating: “The infrastructure here in the United States for the end process is fundamentally archaic and you just see very low adoption of new technologies in the payment sector. It’s going to take time for everything.”

In terms of state-by-state legislation, he went onto predict that a likely consequence of an increased number of states banning credit cards would be an increase in the embracing of digital wallets for many firms.

He added: “You’ll see an emergence of a new Neteller or a new PayPal, where there is a will there is always a way.”

Jonathan Michaels, VP Strategic Alliances at the AGA, was tasked with moderating the panel. He followed up that point by revealing: “The one thing I would add from an AGA perspective is that certainly one of the key things here is responsible gaming. There’s a perception around credit and credit usage that it fuels problem gambling.

“There was a study coming out of the UK that a number of folks that used credit betting had problem gambling issues, so I think it’s telling a story about what we try to advocate for in our discussions with regulators.”