Payments solution platform PayNearMe gains access to Michigan market Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports · June 3, 2021 at 8:00 am Payments solutions platform PayNearMe today announced it’s been approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to operate in the state. While the company serves 95% of gaming operators across the U.S., including William Hill, BetMGM, and FanDuel, access to Michigan’s burgeoning market was viewed as essential. “It’s important to have our solution and presence there (Michigan),” said PayNearMe General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer, iGaming, Mike Kaplan in a recent interview, “because a lot of people are looking at how Michigan is doing as they think about how to enter into the U.S. as new entrants into the market. What sets PayNearMe apart from similar companies is its experience in a diverse range of markets apart from gaming, says Kaplan. PayNearMe serves consumer lending, insurance, municipalities, and other entities that require a reliable and flexible payment platform. PayNearMe General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer, iGaming, Mike Kaplan Kaplan thinks there are similar companies looking to work with gaming operators that lack the necessary cohesiveness and experience. “What we’re trying to do is really bring to gaming payments what we brought to other markets,” Kaplan said. “Which is using data to ultimately reduce the operators’ costs and, frankly, improve customers’ experience. That’s what we’re focused on. …If you aren’t working with a company like us, ultimately what you’re going to wind up with is this really disjointed payment experience for your customers. The operators that get it right are going to have lower costs and happier customers.” Kaplan thinks all customers are looking for frictionless cashless payment experiences. But the younger the demographic, the more likely it is to use cashless payment systems, especially in sports betting. According to business data platform Statista, 22% of survey respondents between 18 and 34 participate in sports betting. That demographic is looking for one thing, Kaplan said: speed. “They don’t want to be talking to people, they don’t want to have to call in to support,” Kaplan said, noting the younger generation’s desire to “get what they want, when they want it” extends to all markets. “They want to use the technology and data available to streamline their experience. Cashless is just a result of that.” One of PayNearMe’s innovations might seem like the antithesis of cashless payments: the ability to use cash as a payment method to access online betting. Betting and gaming company William Hill has accepted cash deposits at retail locations with PayNearMe since 2015, and there are other betting companies in Michigan that have or soon will have working relationships with the payments solutions company. Using cash to load payment cards can help bettors manage their play, according to Kaplan, and promotes responsible gaming especially for recreational players. For those using debit or credit cards, PayNearMe institutes limits and procedures to encourage responsible gaming, with every transaction authorized by operators in real-time. “The system is built in a way to support and reinforce anything that the operator has done to support responsible gaming,” Kaplan said. “Those are things built into the product as part of any implementation that we do.” Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.