In a worrying trend for gaming machine operators, cashless payments are now responsible for over half of retail purchases in the UK for the first time.

According to data from the British Retail Consortium, credit, charge and debit cards finally overtook coins and notes as the most popular form of payment.

Cards were used for 10.3 billion transactions in 2016, up five per cent on 2015, taking a 54 per cent share of retail payments by volume. Under current legislation, debit and credit cards are not permitted to activate games on machines.