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Ascot Racecourse goes contactless

Ascot Racecourse is set to introduce contactless digital ticketing with Apple Wallet through collaborative partnerships with Skidata, Pronto CX and VivaTicket.

Apple Watch and iPhone users will be given the option to have their NFC-enabled event tickets delivered to the mobile phones.

Contactless tickets for Apple Wallet will not be used at Royal Ascot, which is the Berkshire racecourse’s major draw, but will become available at subsequent summer events.

Tickets can now be purchased using Apple Pay and downloaded directly to the buyer’s device. The technology can also be used to make purchases at the bars and restaurants at the venue, as well as to pay for a bet.

Pronto CX, which supported the move, specialises in tap-and-go Apple Wallet and Google Pay based experiences, including event tickets, contactless payments, and enablement of a loyalty/membership programme.

Skidata worked with Ascot as the access control provider and provided NFC Apple and Google Key management on access control, while VivaTicket has been named as the primary ticketing company.

George Vaughan, head of technology at Ascot Racecourse, said: “It is all part of our ongoing commitment to explore innovative ways of improving the customer experience through technology. It’s safe, secure and sustainable and a great showcase of tech collaboration between leaders in their respective fields.”

Ascot is hosting the Royal Meeting this week, with the racecourse’s operators having announced last week that it had set itself the ambitious target of washing over 500,000 plastic glasses of all kinds over the five-day event as part of its sustainability efforts.

The ‘Re-Cup’ initiative will feature some 350 members of staff, with racegoers able to place their used cups into one of over 200 dedicated bins around site to be washed and re-used.

Jonathan Parker, director of food and beverage at Ascot, said: “This is a very exciting moment in our sustainability journey. We are asking our customers to return their Re-Cup glasses to any bar when they have finished or to put them into the dedicated, clearly branded 200-plus bins across the site.

“We will also have people scouring the site to collect from tables, picnic areas and such like. The glasses then get separated at six Re-Cup compounds and taken to the washing facility at Tilbury Docks, and then they come back to us. Each cup has an approximate 100 servings life.”