Change doesn’t happen overnight. It seems as though every service has been going mobile in the past few years. It almost seems as though we’ve been able to buy things and earn or use rewards with mobile apps at retail forever. I can’t remember the last time I paid for a cup of coffee without using an app. Well, casino operators are finally catching up with the rest of the society.
Earlier this year MGM Resorts International casinos joined other businesses by accepting mobile payments for hotel rooms, shopping and more. Caesars Entertainment also accepts digital payments from a different e-wallet. It was only a matter of time until Las Vegas casinos started rewarding loyalty via the app the way Starbucks does (10 bonus stars for a frappuchino this weekend).
Cardless Connect In Casinos
MGM Resorts International started testing IGT’s Cardless Connect at MGM Detroit for a year but they aren’t the first casino operator to use the technology in Las Vegas. The wireless loyalty system has already debuted in Las Vegas at Barley’s.
The small Station Casinos property in Henderson started testing the cardless loyalty system over the summer. Station Casinos Boarding Pass players club is one of the most rewarding of the local casino operators. It’s not a surprise to see the forward thinking company be the first to embrace the new technology.
Station Casinos recently revealed that they will roll the system out two more properties by the end of the year. They will continue to install Cardless Connect in even more casinos next year. Station Casinos hasn’t revealed which casinos will receive the new mobile loyalty system yet. It isn’t difficult to imagine that this will see the light of day when the casino floor renovation at Palms is complete.
Using Cardless Connect
IGT’s Cardless Connect system allows video poker and slot machine players to activate their players club on a machine without using a card. It’s easy to use Cardless Connect. Just download the Station Casinos App (download here) and enter your Boarding Pass username and password.
Once your credentials are active you can connect to your players club cardlessly with a 4G connection via Bluetooth or by using free Station Casinos wifi. Press the connect button on the card in the app and bring the app to the reader. Like the physical players club card, when the light turns green, you’re good to go.
When leaving the machine you can disconnect the account by using the app. You can probably just walk away but someone could get into your account if they slide into the machine before it times out in 30-60 seconds.
If you’re already a Station Casinos customer, your players club account is probably already active so the process is even easier. Here’s a one minute tutorial from Station Casinos if this sounds confusing.
Your players club card is still necessary. You’ll still need the Boarding Pass cards for using points at restaurants and earn points at table games. That said, I can’t wait for this to come to Red Rock Casino. This is the casino I visit most often. Cardless Connect will certainly come in handy since I almost always play machine games when I’m at Red Rock. I probably lose or forget my card three or four times a year but I never leave home without my mobile device. This will save time and frustration unless I need a complimentary cup of Starbucks.
Cardless Connect technology is great and it will be great if this technology is adopted by other casino operators. For the time being this technology is limited to IGT slot machine systems today. Different casino operators may use different systems.
There probably won’t be a universal system as other gaming manufacturers are creating similar technology. While this might lighten the players club card load in our wallet it might start to bloat our phones with apps for every casino operator.
In a vacuum, this isn’t a game changer. However, this is the beginning of change. At G2E I was given a preview of JCM’s Fuzion which is even more elaborate. The program links a mobile account with a wallet, other games, and players club. I focused on the sports betting aspect here. This technology has approval but is not installed in any Las Vegas casinos yet.
We’re on the cusp of a lot of technological advancements in casinos and I can’t wait.