Gird Your Bank Account: Cashless Slot Machine Systems Are Here

Casino technology company IGT announced its cashless gambling system, Resort Wallet, has been approved by Nevada gaming authorities. Hello, mixed feelings.

The system allows gamblers to access money directly from a slot machine, rather than having to insert cash or trek to an ATM.

A player simply uses their casino loyalty club card to transfer cash into a secure digital wallet, either at the casino “cage” or via a Resort Wallet-enabled slot machine. Then, the player can use their PIN to apply funds to any game, as well as being able to cash out to their digital wallet at any time. Which is definitely going to happen. Definitely.

cashless slot systems

Please let this photo also serve as a reminder to avoid gambling with $50 bills. Superstition thing.

As with everything in life, there are two sides to this story.

On one hand, the technology makes it convenient for players to gain access to their money.

On the other hand, the technology makes it convenient for players to gain access to their money.

Specifically, easy access to money raises a number of concerns, and not just for those with a gambling problem.

The main benefit of cashless systems (convenience, or the removal of obstacles between a gambler and their money) is also the main reason such systems tend to receive some blowback.

Cashless systems remove many of the barriers to accessing and gambling one’s funds. You know, barriers like standing up, stretching your legs, meandering to an ATM, paying an ATM fee, walking back to the machine, loading it up with actual cash money, all that.

Those “barriers” are considered by many to be important safeguards for players.

In the heat of the moment during a losing session, you’re forced to stop and look around and take part in the aforementioned meandering.

You may go to the restroom. You may grab a coffee. You may unsuccessfully hit on a complete stranger. You may even reconsider whether you want to gamble more.

Let’s face it: Las Vegas was not built on people reconsidering whether they want to gamble more.

Gambler diaper

Hate getting up from your slot machine? We invented these. You’re welcome.

Recently, advocates of cashless systems, typically casinos or providers like IGT, promote these systems as “reduced-contact” and “safer,” using the pandemic as a marketing angle, but those selling points are obviously self-serving.

These systems are about making it easier for players to get and gamble money, plain and simple.

They’re also about making money seem as little like money as possible. (Remember, these are the same folks who insist upon calling it “gaming” rather than “gambling.” There’s a reason.)

Why do casinos use chips rather than cash? Because when a gambler uses chips, it doesn’t feel like money they’re gambling. It’s just chips.

casino chips

It’s not money, it’s discs of fun!

Cashless systems take that even further. In a moment of decision, sometimes fueled by alcohol, players don’t touch anything at all but their loyalty club card.

Still, we’re a big fan of individual choice and personal responsibility, so we’re solidly on the fence about such cashless systems.

We actually like the option of having access to our money at the tables, either through a marker (casino credit) or a tabletop device.

We wrote about such “tabletop ATMs” back in January 2020. These machines let players access money without ever leaving the table. They’ve already been used at Palms, The D and Strat. If the world had ended, we’d have heard about it.

Cashless table games

Yes, there are fees. No, we don’t remember what they are. We’re here to drink, not “remember things.”

Another cashless slot machine credit system, Marker Trax, is being tested at Ellis Island, just off The Strip.

Looking ahead, IGT got a patent for slot machines to accept Bitcoin and other “crypto,” as the kids call it. The mind reels.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about cashless gambling systems. Player’s friend or enabler?

Coincidentally, in IGT’s news release, a spokesperson for the company said, “We’re grateful to the Nevada Gaming Control Board for enabling this momentous debut in the state.”

Hey, we don’t make up the news, we just report it. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Update (2/2/21): Golden Gaming announced it will use the Marker Trax cashless system, branded as “Quick Play.”

Update (2/15/21): Boyd announced it will use a digital wallet called BoydPay.

17 thoughts on “Gird Your Bank Account: Cashless Slot Machine Systems Are Here

    1. J

      Easier for someone to steal your money. Because now all they need is your P.I.N. at the reels. Instead of your p.i.n. at the ATM. Someone could just easily stand behind you while you enter your p.i.n. at the slot machine and then wait until you leave your card somewhere in the casino. And how many times have we all done that?

      Reply
  1. FYMYAWF

    One of the banes of my existence in casinos is endlessly hunting for cash out kiosks, which are always seemingly too few, too hidden, and when you find one there’s a line 4 people deep. Any system which eliminates that mess is fine by me.

    I’m one of those people with innate self control when it comes to gambling. Having instant access to funds won’t make me any more or less prone to gamble more or less. I CAN see how it could be a challenge to those with lesser impulse control, but let’s be honest, if you’re a gambler on a heater having to go to a physical ATM isn’t going to deter you.

    My one concern is I don’t do all my gambling in one resort…if they make the card system such that it translates to all resorts using the same card, that’s great, if I have to load cash at the cage in every resort I go to that’s going to be a deal breaker for me. Short term I would stick to cash until the “digital wallet” became universal.

    Reply
  2. Mike Alexakis

    As long as cash is still an option, I won’t complain or freak out, if this is a slippery slope towards a no-cash world I hope it takes four decades to happen… My gambling money is my business, It was years before I even signed up for a club card, and I always leave them in the video poker machine, I am hopeless… The golf courses because of Covid are now cashless, it sucks, you have to bring exact change around to pay and collect on your bets… I learned my lesson about casino ATM machines on my Las Vegas wedding 30 years ago, I will never use one again…

    Reply
  3. Samuel Mapalo

    Leave THE GAMING as it is and those breaks to the cage can really prevent someone from losing everything.
    they have worked for, in one Moment of bad judgement. When you lose it is very sobering but to possibly lose a fortune when most people can’t this is a very dangerous.

    Reply
  4. C.D. King

    The truth is that no matter if it’s at your table or the ATM .The responsibility still remains in the gamers hand to know when to walk away. All human action is a personal choice . We have become a society of blame anyone else but me. For our wrong choices. Enough all ready.

    Reply
  5. Ken

    I hope that cash will remain an option for a long time, too. Like FYMYAWF, above, I usually wander around and gamble in three or four casinos on each trip–a twenty here, a century there, it’s fun to wander in and out of places and try out the different vibes. I wouldn’t enjoy having to set up a digital wallet at a bunch of different places in order to keep doing that.

    Reply
  6. tim

    I don’t quite understand. Do you have to preload your players card with money at the casino cage or do you just link your card to your bank account. If it’s the former, then it’s just like a top up debit card. If the latter, then have the gamblers anonymous hotline number handy.

    Reply
  7. JP

    If these things have no fee or at least a reduced fee to the ATMs then I am all for this. ATM fees have gotten completely out of hand in casinos, why should we have to pay like 2% or more to access our own money? As far as the overindulging aspect that people are concerned about, it isn’t the casinos job to police what people are doing. If someone is worried they will not be able to control themselves they can put a limit on their daily withdrawal amount.

    Reply
  8. Bob

    Well said King! And 100% true!! Personal responsibility has gone extinct in America. The wussification continues……..

    Reply
  9. Michael Clark

    It wasn’t bad enough when they came up with tickets as payment. Holding your credits knowing the majority of players don’t know how many nickels make $100. I loved filling up those little buckets full of coins and waiting for my hoppers to be filled. Now we succumb to more technological breakthroughs in the name or spirit of “fair gaming”. Ooo Doggy!! Why don’t we just sign all our assets over to the casinos? Count me out. I’m sure I helped fund this disaster. Did Irwin Allen have anything to do with this? “Casino 2021”!! I can see it now. Are there covenience fees? Another marketing scheme. Just what we need.

    Reply
  10. Father_Thyme

    Another advantage to the house is that all of that gambler cash is now sitting in the casino bank account earning interest rather than the gambler’s wallet – similar to retail stores who sell gift cards. They are also hoping that some of the cash never gets used, cards get lost etc.

    Reply
    1. Chuck M.

      I always thought it ment “guard”, but I was wrong…
      Definition of gird
      transitive verb
      1 : to prepare (oneself) for action
      2a : to encircle or bind with a flexible band (such as a belt)
      b : to make (something, such as clothing or a sword ) fast or secure (as with a cord or belt) gird a sword by a belt
      c : surround
      3 : provide, equip especially : to invest with the sword of knighthood

      Reply
      1. Scott Roeben Post author

        Ha, yeah, it’s a play on “gird your loins,” which means to prepare yourself for something challenging (like battle or hard physical labor). You can also gird up your loins. Back in the day, long clothing (like a tunic) was tucked into one’s belt (or “girdle”) to allow for more movement.

        Reply
  11. Chuck M.

    Anyone thats ever been on a bad run at the slots knows its not about “personal responsibility”, its about trying to make the pain of loss go away. You put in your money, its gone in a flash, and you want to feel better. You can’t feel any worse. You could lose 10x what you’ve already lost, and it doesnt make the loss any worse. A loss is a loss. But the hope of getting back even, and erasing this debt, means you will keep spinning those reels until your rational brain kicks back in. Which is why a break to walk away from the table is so important to the player. And why the casino wants you to never leave the table when you are on a losing streak. Cuz, at that point, you are their ATM.

    Reply

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