Arthur Blank is the co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He announced that, effective March 10, 2019, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Falcons play home games, is a completely cashless place for all sporting events and almost every concert, and the first major entertainment complex to ban cash transactions. On March 28, Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball, will also go cashless.

Cash won’t be accepted for game tickets, concession items, and merchandise, with the rationale being to speed up transactions and curtail long wait lines. Credit card transactions will have no minimum charge amount and reverse ATMs will be available for fans who do not have a credit or debit card. For a fee, a customer can feed a machine cash and receive a Visa debit card in return.

To a significant degree, wagering on horse racing already operates on a cashless basis. Patrons of advance deposit wagering firms must have an electronic balance in their accounts before betting. And it is not unusual to see racetrack customers betting from their seats via smartphones and the internet, especially on crowded race days.

If and when racetracks will join the incipient trend toward cashless sports and entertainment venues is unclear. Whereas some bettors don’t want to leave a record of their wagers, many fans would appreciate the ease of not having to withdraw and carry abnormally large amounts of cash or wait in long lines at the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup.

In an age when debit cards, Apple Pay, credit cards, and other methods of doing transactions are commonplace, racetracks are likely to go at least partially cashless, if not in totality, to make the experience more convenient for patrons.

Folks without smartphones and credit or debit cards will find it increasingly difficult to make routine transactions in all kinds of shopping experiences. Instead of the old inquiry, “Do you accept credit cards?” the new query is fast becoming “Do you accept cash?”

Massachusetts and the city of Philadelphia have passed laws requiring merchants to accept cash. Philadelphia allows for some exceptions such as rental car companies, hotels, and parking garages.

Copyright © 2019 Horse Racing Business