Plainridge Park Casino could change the way Massachusetts casinos do business. The PENN Entertainment-owned property might implement a cashless wagering system.
On Tuesday, casino officials met with Massachusetts Gaming Commission members for a live demonstration of the technology. In the wake of the pandemic, this idea was floated by many different gaming companies. However, only a handful of properties nationwide installed anything like it.
For now, cashless wagering is still only a function of online betting. There isn’t much appetite in the Bay State’s legislature to legalize online casinos in Massachusetts yet.
Penn expressed interest in using this technology at their casinos nationwide. But their Massachusetts casino could be the first.
New Plainridge Park Casino technology is geared toward slot machines
Most businesses in the U.S. are already cashless. Swiping a credit card or tapping our phone to buy something at the grocery store or the gas station is commonplace.
This is why executives at Plainridge Park Casino are interested in the idea of going cashless. A survey from the Pew Research Center found that roughly 29% of adults in the US say they don’t use cash to make purchases during a typical week.
During the demonstration, Penn showed exactly how these cashless systems will work.
New slot machines will be brought in with a built-in card reader. Customers can have a physical card, like a plastic debit card. But they also have the option to access a machine using the PENN Play app.
Each machine will have a Bluetooth beacon in it. This will allow customers to use their mobile devices to connect their player’s card number to the machine.
Once the bettor is finished with the machine, they can deselect it on the app. Additionally, a failsafe removes access to the machine if you decide to walk away but forget to deselect it.
Penn had a few of these cashless slot machines for commissioners to try. Accessing the cashless system on the app appears simple, but not too easy to swipe in accidentally. Customers need to hold their phone very close to the machine to be “carded in.”
MGC has minor concerns about customer protections
Commissioners expressed concerns about the potential of a player’s card remaining attached to that slot as another person begins to play. Penn officials said that when a new person tries to ”card in” into a machine, whether with a physical card or through the app, anyone previously connected to that slot will be automatically “carded out.”
Penn is already using this technology at some of its other casinos. Officials said there aren’t any known incidents of someone taking someone else’s jackpot by mistake. They also said that even if that happened, they could use the system to pinpoint who is using what machine at what times and straighten things out.
Penn also expressed full confidence that customer information would be protected using the cashless system. Once the commission gives the go-ahead, there is no exact timeline for these cashless machines to start making their way into Plainridge Park.
It was also unclear if the casino plans to go fully cashless once these machines are in place. The commission plans to discuss the new machines further in a future meeting.