Boyd Debuts Cashless Gaming at Blue Chip, Plans Casino Expansion, Mobile Apps

Posted on: October 27, 2020, 01:07h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2020, 09:27h.

On Monday, Boyd Gaming has taken its first step into cashless gaming. The casino partnered with Aristocrat Technologies for a pilot project at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Ind.

Boyd cashless gaming
Boyd Gaming has announced a partnership with Aristocrat Technologies to implement a cashless gaming system at Boyd’s Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Ind. Even before it was announced, hundreds signed up for the program Boyd CEO Keith Smith told investment analysts about on Monday. (Image: Boyd Gaming)

Depending on how the Blue Chip initiative fares, and with proper regulatory approval, the two companies plan to roll out the service, called Resort Wallet. It will also be at the 28 other Boyd casinos in 10 states across the country.

Blue Chip patrons can go to the cashier’s cage at the casino and deposit money, which will then be placed on their B Connected loyalty card. For now, players will only be able to use the card to play slots. However, the plan is to eventually allow players to buy chips for table games, and even use it in the resort’s restaurants and other retail shops.

During Boyd’s third-quarter analyst call Monday, President and CEO Keith Smith said the program started a few days ago with an unannounced soft opening. Even without fanfare, several hundred customers signed up.

From a business perspective, Smith said the program can cut costs for Boyd, as casinos would carry less cash. From a player’s perspective, it provides convenience and security for players, especially higher-dollar players who would prefer not to carry so much money at the casino, he said.

Jenny Reske, deputy director for the Indiana Gaming Commission, told Monday that the IGC is working with Boyd to identify and address all regulatory issues that would pertain to the cashless gaming endeavor.

Cashless Gaming Has Friends and Foes

The push for the gaming industry to move toward accepting cashless transactions has gained a lot of traction in the past year. That’s when American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller included the industry’s need to modernize during a speech at last year’s Global Gaming Expo.

Other casinos have already jumped into the fray. The Stratosphere, The Palms, and D Las Vegas began using ACS PlayOn earlier this year. In addition, Global Payments Gaming Solutions has a project underway at the Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma.

Miller, in his remarks last year, said casino players who already use cashless technology in almost every other facet of their lives would eventually demand it from gaming companies as well. He made those remarks several months before the COVID-19 crisis hit the country and dramatically affected casino gaming.

While there are certainly benefits to adopting the technology, some in the industry have not taken to cashless gaming with the same enthusiasm. While proponents say it can help promote responsible gaming by allowing people to set limits, others worry that the technology may encourage people to spend more time and money gaming than they should.

And though the technology can help law enforcement better combat money laundering schemes, player advocates have raised concerns about the loss of privacy.

Then there’s the job aspect. The United Auto Workers, which represents about 3,000 Nevada casino floor workers, has raised concerns about the technology leading to reduced tips for workers, as well as job cuts.

Plan to Connect Wallet to Boyd Mobile App

Smith said the goal of the Boyd-Aristocrat cashless gaming partnership is to eventually connect the wallet to the B Connected mobile application and create a truly digital experience for patrons.

Smith revealed to analysts the company plans to launch its own branded real money online casino in the coming months. That would be a companion mobile product to the FanDuel sports betting app that’s currently available in the Boyd gaming states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.

We plan to give our customers the ability to use their smartphones to make wagers and cash out on slot machines and table games, Smith said.

They will be able to use the digital wallet to make mobile sports bets, to wager in online casinos, and to purchase credits in our Stardust social casino. And they will be able to use points or cash within their accounts to pay for restaurants, hotel rooms, entertainment, and other amenities at our properties,” Smith continued.

David Strow, Boyd’s vice president of corporate communications, told Monday that a “long-term plan” would be to connect a player’s Resort Wallet to their FanDuel account.