Station Casinos Tests Cardless Loyalty Club System That Could Change Everything

Easily one of the most annoying things about gambling in casinos is the loyalty club card shuffle. Carry. Insert. Insert again. Insert again, with profanity. Leave behind. Stand in line to replace. Repeat.

With all the technology at our fingertips, it’s baffling why players must continue to wrestle with plastic cards to get what’s coming to them.

Station Casinos feels your pain and is doing something about it.

Casino loyalty club cards

The loyalty club card struggle is real.

Station Casinos is testing a new system that promises to make connecting to your slot machine quick, easy and cardless.

We’re happy to report the new system fulfills on its promise.

At the moment, the new cardless loyalty system is only in one Las Vegas casino, Barley’s Casino & Brewing Co. in Henderson. Let’s just say Barley’s is quaint and leave it at that.

Barley's Casino

Barley’s. We don’t need no stinking table games.

Here’s how this cardless system works.

First, casino guests download the Station Casinos app. It’s a one-time thing, and takes a few seconds.

We made the mistake of downloading a similarly-named app, so make sure to get the right one.

Station Casinos app

It’s the one on the bottom. We just saved you upwards of three minutes right there.

Many Station Casinos customers already use the app to track their point balance, make restaurant reservations and book rooms.

Once the app is installed, players link the app to their loyalty club account, otherwise known as a “Boarding Pass.”

Station Casinos app

The account linking process is a great reminder you don’t know your mother well enough.

That’s pretty much it for the set-up, then you’re ready to connect to your slot machine. Without a card. Or one of those coiled leashes. Just your smartphone. Glorious.

Just hold your phone near the slot machine’s card slot (make sure Bluetooth is enabled), hit “Connect to Machine” (see below) and magical slot machine elves do the rest.

That’s probably not the technical methodology you were hoping to see here, but we are a blog, not an app developer.

Cardless Connect

Don’t make fun of our tier, it’s rude.

Once you’re connected to the slot machine, you accumulate points just as you would with your old-timey loyalty club card.

You can tell you’re connected because the card slot turns green.

Casino cardless loyalty club

You’re good, bro.

Your app will confirm you’re good, bro.

Casino cardless loyalty club

In Vegas, it’s all about being connected.

When your session is done, you can hit the “Disconnect” button on the app, or the system will disconnect automatically after 30-45 seconds of inactivity. The connection will also be terminated based upon your device’s distance from the machine, depending upon the device and Bluetooth strength, per Station Casinos.

This system, called Cardless Connect, has the potential to be huge. Not just for Station Casinos, but for casinos overall.

Having a convenient way for player to participate in loyalty clubs means more will do so. That means the system isn’t merely a perk for players, it’s also a boon for casinos.

Casino loyalty clubs have been around since the 1990s, inspired by (translation: lifted from) the frequent flyer model made popular by American Airlines. Loyalty programs are a way to keep customers coming back and are a critical part of casino marketing efforts.

Fun fact: The first casino loyalty club was Total Rewards. It’s the loyalty club of Caesars Entertainment, and its or original name was Total Gold.

Play with your card, you’re “rated.” Play without, you’re “unrated.” Unrated players are the bane of a casino’s existence, as players who use their loyalty club card can be enticed into returning.

Station Casinos app

Admit it, this isn’t the first time you’ve connected with a slot in Vegas.

Casinos know how important it is to reward loyal customers, so loyalty club use can lead to lots of deals, discounts and freebies.

Another fun fact: Members of some casino loyalty clubs receive more than 150 pieces of direct mail a year.

So, what’s next for the cardless system at Station Casinos?

It’s likely there are more kinks to be worked out. The company no doubt watching closely to see how the cardless system impacts play and usage.

We tried dozens of machines, and the results were impressive. Still, there were a couple of machines where the connection failed. The app prompts players to move the phone closer for a better connection.

There are life lessons being taught here, you know.

Cardless loyalty club

This is actually less sexy than it sounds.

Moving closer didn’t work, so we got the “Cannot Connect” message and were prompted to use a physical card, which sort of defeats the purpose of the system.

Cardless Connect slot machines


Still, failures happened on just a fraction of the slot machines we tried linking to (thanks a lot, Buffalo).

We expect the Cardless Connect system will be rolled out to the roughly 20 Las Vegas casinos operated by Station Casinos sometime in 2018, then you can try the system for yourself.

You’ll soon have a bunch of useless cards, so check out our 11 Alternate Uses for Your Casino Players Club Card.

You can find out more about how to use the Cardless Connect system at the Station Casinos blog. Yes, Station Casinos has a blog. And, yes, you can have a hall pass to check it out without feeling like you’re cheating on us. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

As billed, the cardless loyalty club connection system is a fun, fast way to avoid fumbling with cards and to get all the casino perks you deserve for your play.

This cardless system has another benefit in that it feels like you have a superpower along the lines of motion-activated doors at grocery stores and shopping malls.

You won’t just feel like you’re using a player’s card, you’ll feel like you’re using the Force.

22 thoughts on “Station Casinos Tests Cardless Loyalty Club System That Could Change Everything

  1. VegasSlushy

    Will be interesting to see how a cardless system is used to rate table games players. Will they build the technology into every table, so as soon as you sit down, you can be rated?

      1. Leigh Andrews

        They will need to fiddle with the time for timing out if time between pushes of the start button is the basis for timing out, given the reliance of most slots on bonus rounds. The cycle time of a slot machine is about six seconds, so an eight to ten spin bonus would result in timing out of the application.

  2. Grid

    So now I run the risk of leaving my cel phone at the machine, instead of a worthless plastic card. Since I have to take my phone out of my pocket, point it at the reader, get it all set up and then become distracted by the casino environment.

    I’m a fan of tech, but not of this. It’s far easier to plug and unplug a card when machine hopping then to play with my phone each time. And don’t get me started on my wife that keeps her phone in a messy purse. She would have to leave the phone on the machine or else it would never read in that vast wasteland.

    But it seems like a good way to steal comps. Just point your phone at a machine without a card that some stranger is playing and go to town!

    Why not just give people a coded Bluetooth bracelet? Wear it on your right hand, it points toward the slot card reader anyway, and you are done. They give those things out for free at concerts now to coordinate light shows with the crowds.

  3. Photoncounter

    An easier system would be to tattoo a bar code containing your players card number on your forehead. Machine could read it only if you are sitting directly in front of it. Link it to your bank account so you can automatically drain your mortgage payment into penny slot credits. Pound away long enough and your annual comp of a snowflake ashtray could be automatically delivered by an Amazon drone.

    Ya gotta love technological advances!

      1. Photoncounter

        While my comment was intended to be sarcastic, parsing it does reveal what’s happening today.

        Delta Airlines is moving to eliminate boarding passes – just use your fingerprint… Stories abound bout having microchips embedded in us so we can make purchases faster and be tracked for our “safety and security”. You can ask Alexa for anything, but is she listening? She won’t say.

        Privacy is becoming a thing of the past. The Station Casino technology seems great on the surface and all casinos track play to develop a profile on the player – that’s what generates comps, mailers. They know what you have gambled and what you are likely to gamble. If you’ve ever won big and blew it all back they know that too. But what other information will they gather?

        The snowflake ashtray comment comes from many years ago. I was at the Orleans, had gotten a mailer for a year end gift and went into a room filled with tacky crap. You picked out a prize based on points if I remember. Two ladies were enamoured with snowflake ash trays. It cracked me up! After them blowing thousands all year to walk out with something like that I just couldn’t believe it. Whatever I took I remember putting in my gun range and shooting….

        1. Leigh Andrews

          I didn’t read far enough to get to the part about the snowflake ashtray, whatever that is. I agreed with the first part of your statement, and was distracted by you being called a troll.

          Was it glass molded into the shape of a snowflake so that you can have three or four cigarettes burning at once? If you took the prize to your shooting range, did it have decent enough aerodynamics to be used as a clay pigeon, or did you have to use it as a fixed target?

          1. Photoncounter

            It was a hex snowflake. Very, very cheesy. Depressed in the center for ashes and butts. Disgusting, like all the crap the Orleans was giving away that day. The giveaway area was where Sazio’s restaurant used to be, across from their horrible buffet.

            I remember “earning” something similarly tacky but don’t remember exactly what. I usually put things out about 200 yards and blast it with a .223 when I am in the mood to plink things. I shoot into hay bales and do collect fragments so the critters don’t injest them. Good way to relieve tension and stress, targeting inanimate objects (all legal). I rarely hunt anymore, too old to sit in the cold and wait for Bambi’s dad to walk by.


    I’m down. Would sure make my Vegas wallet lighter and thinner not having to carry 5 player’s cards around. I suppose there could be some “hacking” issues that will need to be ameliorated as they arise, but hell we already use our phones for everything else, why not this.

  5. AccessVegas

    So, anything the game you are watching is super-close and you stop playing for 30 seconds, or each time you get up to use the bathroom, you’ll have to log back in. Not a feature.


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