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Why Cashless Wallets Could Increase Problems With Gambling

Published: November 22, 2021

Cashless wallets are convenient when buying gas, grocery shopping, or running other errands, but they could pose potential risks when it comes to gambling. 

A cashless wallet is a digital payment system that stores the users’ payment information and allows them to make transactions through their devices without having to physically swipe their debit or credit card. They can be used in casinos to buy chips at table games, or for use at slot machines. Many states around the country where gambling is legal have started signing off on its usage in casinos and racinos. 

This is concerning to experts because this instant access to funds could make players gamble more frequently and with higher wages than they would with real dollar bills. 

That’s because when players use actual bills, they feel like they’re spending real money to gamble. Additionally, when they run out of cash, there is a natural pause in play, which research shows is an important factor in getting individuals not to gamble beyond their limits.

That pause, combined with having to get up and go to an ATM to pull out more physical cash, can oftentimes be enough to have a player reflect on the amount of money already spent and to stop. But when players use a card or a cashless wallet system, these pauses do not happen. As a result, countries like the UK have banned the use of credit cards while gambling, due to the increased risks.

While the US does not ban the use of debit or credit cards to gamble, there are plenty of other ways people can gamble responsibly.

  • Gamble only with money set aside for entertainment. If you choose to gamble, make sure that you use a specific amount of money that is predetermined before you start gambling. That way, you know that when you run out of money, your gambling time is up.
  • Bet only what you can afford to lose. Only wager what you know you can afford to lose. If you bet too high and you lose that money, it could start a cycle where you’re gambling more money to try to “make up” what you originally lost.
  • Never borrow money to play. Similarly, try to refrain from borrowing money from friends or family members to gamble. This reduces the amount of stress you feel if you lose money gambling.

For more information and resources on how you can keep gambling responsible, please visit The free, confidential, 24/7 helpline is also available if you believe you or someone you know might have a problem with gambling. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.

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