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Barclays Center facing resistance to cashless concessions

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Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

As any Nets fan knows, Barclays Center has quietly stopped accepting cash at most of its 28 concession stands and eateries. It’s part of a growing trend nationwide but is facing resistance from New York legislators, the Post reports.

The Post’s Lisa Fickenscher quotes Levy’s Restaurants, which handles arena concessions, as saying that “multiple” food vendors at Barclays will still accept cash. But she adds, neither Levy nor Barclays would provide a number.

The issue, said Barclays in a statement provided NetsDaily, is convenience.

“Barclays Center offers both cash-accepted and cash-free concession stands. We have found that cash-free concession stands are 50 percent faster, which allows guests to spend more time enjoying our events. Guests who prefer to purchase an item at a cash-free stand and don’t have a card can convert cash to a pre-paid debit card, free of charge, at one of five machines located throughout the venue. Any remaining balance left on the cards after the event can be spent outside the venue, or used during a future visit to our arena.”

A spokesperson added that the arena has yet to determine whether it will completely phase out cash at Barclays.

Critics, including some legislators, point that the policy disadvantages the poor and the young who don’t carry plastic, only hard currency which as the Post notes carries the words, “legal tender for all debts, public and private” right there on its face.

Barclays and other venues have started using what are called “reverse ATM’s” that convert cash to prepaid cards that can then be used to buy food and drink. That’s not cutting it with some legislators.

“I have real concerns about those machines because it means that people have to stand in two lines,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) told The Post. “People may show up at the counter and either have not enough money on their prepaid cards, or be stuck with more money on their card than they need.”

Gottfried’s proposed legislation requiring New York establishments to accept cash has the support of two state senators willing to sponsor a similar bill, he told The Post.

Indeed, New Jersey banned mandatory cashless transactions last week, while Philadelphia passed a law requiring most retailers to accept cash. Atlanta, San Francisco and New York legislators are considering similar bans, the Post reports.

Barclays, meanwhile, is lobbying to stop similar legislation in the New York City Council.