Lake Compounce amusement park going all-cashless

When Lake Compounce opens for its 2022 summer season in less than two weeks, the amusement park will be missing something: Cash.

No, that doesn’t mean the Bristol-based-based amusement park is in financial trouble. Rather, Lake Compounce will only accept credit or debit or prepaid cards, as well as secure mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, when it opens on April 30.

Lynsey Winters, marketing director for Lake Compounce, said one of the park’s sister amusement venues, Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, Pa., went cashless for the first time last weekend.

Both amusement parks are owned by Palace Entertainment, which is based in western Pennsylvania. Winters said Palace Entertainment has plans for a few of its other amusement park in northeast to go cashless, but isn’t announcing which ones yet.

“It allows us to cut down on wait times for our rides and concessions,” she said. “During COVID-19, a lot of restaurants have gone cashless because of the potential for money carrying germs. And by going cashless, we reduce the possibility of coins flying out of someone’s pocket on a ride and hitting somebody else.”

For those who don’t have any cashless payments options, Winters said, Lake Compounce guests can also convert their cash onto prepaid cards at several free kiosks conveniently located throughout the park. There is no fee charged for converting cash to the prepaid cards, she said.

The prepaid cards issued by the machines can only be used once, Winters said, so that when you have spent all the money loaded on it, you will need to get another one. Any leftover balance on cards can be used outside Lake Compounce anywhere that Visa is accepted, she said.

The prepaid cards can be used for purchases including tickets, food, drinks and gift shop items throughout the park and the Lake Compounce Campground.

“It is becoming an industry standard,” Winters said of amusement parks going cashless.

Two of the nation’s best known amusement parks, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and Hersheypark in central Pennsylvania, are also going cashless for the first time this year.

Cedar Point is joining 14 other venues owned by its corporate parent, Cedar Fair, in eliminating cash. Two additional Cedar Fair parks went cashless in 2021.

Hersheypark is owned by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, which is privately held.

Lake Compounce is not the first Connecticut entertainment venue to go cashless.

The XL Center in Hartford is now cashless at all of its concession stands, according to Megan Boyle, a spokeswoman for the venue. The arena, which seats more than 15,000 people, is operated by Spectra Venue Management. and is home to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, University of Connecticut men’s ice hockey, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the school.

Boyle said the XL Center stills accept cash at its ticket office and for certain in-game promotions like the 50/50 raffle.

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