As Las Vegas casinos resume operations with health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, at least one gaming company is looking to develop technologies that extend these measures by removing the handling of cash altogether, which many experts agree could host germs and viruses.
Scientific Games is currently working on removing cash in casinos via what it calls “Unified Wallet.” The technology allows punters to access their funds directly from an app on their mobile device and transfer them to gaming machines and tables without handling cash.
Matt Wilson, executive vice president and CEO of Scientific Games gaming division said their Unified Wallet technology will help players avoid handling cash while gambling, which will provide them with a safer consumer experience.
Wilson said similar technologies were considered in the past but ultimately rejected by gaming regulators due to their concern of making it easy for gamblers to succumb to problem gambling. However, due to the pandemic, cashless technologies are once again making a comeback, as regulators scramble to save the gambling industry in the midst of COVID-19.
Wilson believes that Nevada regulators will be the trailblazer of the cashless gambling experience.
Howard Stutz, the executive editor for a gambling publication noted that cashless technologies are currently being fast-tracked by the industry, in hopes that it will help ease the tension many punters feel towards handling cash in a casino environment.
Wilson and Stutz were both clear that these cashless technologies will be similar to a debit account, rather than a credit card. Currency is stored in a mobile app installed to a player’s mobile device, which is then dispensed towards specific games, tables, or machines inside a casino. No credit is given for the use of this technology.
Scientific Games Pushing Forward With Cashless Tech
Scientific Games is also looking to introduce an electronic notification system that alerts sanitation staff whenever a player stands up from a session on a machine so that they can disinfect it immediately. The machine’s screen will also feature the time it was last cleaned.
A dynamic distancing module is also being considered by the company, which will look to detect which gaming machines are currently being used by players so that gaming machines on either side of the player will be shut down.
Some of the other developments Scientific Games is looking to develop are virtual dealers and chips, which Stutz noted will provide players with peace of mind while playing.