As One MA Casino Eyes Cashless System, Will The Other Two Follow Suit?

Written By C.J. Pierre on November 14, 2023
A picture of a contactless credit card for a story about whether Massachusetts casinos will adopt cashless wagering.

Cashless gaming is something that is being talked about more and more at casinos around the world. Now, that technology appears to be making its way to Massachusetts.

Plainridge Park Casino, owned by Penn Entertainment, plans to implement a cashless wagering system soon. It would be a new phenomenon in The Bay State.

So, will the two largest Massachusetts casinos follow suit?

Plainridge Park officials give regulators a demonstration of cashless system

There are three Massachusetts casinos that make up the state’s gaming industry. However, despite the success of Massachusetts online sports betting, legislators haven’t legalized online casinos yet.

Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently received a live demonstration of cashless wagering technology from representatives of Plainridge Park Casino. The idea was floated around by several gaming companies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plainridge Park is the smallest of the three, only offering slot machines and a live racetrack. MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor are the other two and are more traditional Las Vegas-style casinos.

There is no timeline on when Plainridge Park would add the option. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must sign off on it. But what is the likelihood the two larger properties will adopt the technology?

Encore and MGM don’t seem to be eyeing a cashless system right now

Encore Boston Harbor offers a variety of slot machines and table games in over 200,0000 square feet of gaming space. It is also the highest-grossing casino in Massachusetts. So, while cashless wagering technology is possibly being discussed at times, it doesn’t appear the casino is looking to change anything right now.

In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Encore Boston Harbor is owned and operated by Wynn Resorts. Wynn does not have cashless wagering systems at any of its casinos.

Meanwhile, MGM Springfield, which is the second highest-grossing casino in the state, could be more inclined to give cashless gambling options a look. The casino area encompasses 125,000 square feet of space with over 2,500 slot machines, dozens of table games, a poker room and keno.

MGM touts its cashless systems for food and beverages at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. However, these have been in place for a while, and there’s no rush to go cashless on the gaming floor.

Cashless gaming is not for everyone

Cashless gaming is still an evolving concept. There are casinos in at least 14 states currently using some form of cashless wagering. That said, there are still a lot of gamblers who aren’t ready to hop on the cashless train just yet.

A survey published by the American Psychological Association found that bettors are concerned about problems associated with cashless gaming systems. Some respondents perceive cashless as overly restrictive and invasive.

Some see it as a complete invasion of privacy. Inserting coins or bills into a slot machine has a perceived layer of anonymity, while cashless means that every transaction can be tied to the player.

Players are also worried about the potential implications of sharing personal and financial information within a cashless gaming system, citing the possibility of data theft through cybercrimes. Some participants in the study also questioned the reliability and efficiency of cashless systems, expressing doubts about the seamless functionality of these technologies.

Finally, responsible gambling experts warn that cashless systems could lead to players playing beyond their means.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayMA. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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