Customers at Viejas Casino & Resort are flocking to its latest attraction: playing without cash.
Since the May launch of VIP Mobility, the cashless gaming app by Global Payments Gaming Solutions, the number of downloads and overall use have exceeded expectations, the company says.
“We are seeing great traction with the app and also increased time on device amongst VIP Mobility users on the casino floor,” Global Payments Gaming Solutions President Christopher Justice said in an email interview. “As patrons continue to use VIP Mobility, their level of trust in the app, as well as transaction volumes, continue to grow.
“We continue to see increased app user acquisition beyond the initial launch.”
The casino, located near San Diego and operated by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, is among the first to offer VIP Mobility. The app allows customers to fund slot, table game, or sportsbook action – and to collect winnings – without handling actual cash.
Justice described it as “a seamless player experience from funding through cash-out.”
With the VIP Mobility app, available for Android and IOS devices, players can create a digital TITO ticket in a variety of ways. They can scan a paper TITO ticket or initiate an e-check transaction through the company’s long-standing, nationwide VIP Preferred program.
To move their digital money into a slot machine, players simply use their phone to scan a QR code on the machine. Justice said the scan triggers an encrypted Bluetooth communication with the machine’s bill validator, which accepts the voucher from the phone and makes the designated amount of credits available for play, all through bank-level security protocols. Customers can add funds from their bank accounts without having to stop to visit the casino cage or a kiosk.
The procedure is similar at table games. Players scan a tag at the table with their phones, and the available funds are applied toward a voucher that prints in the pit or at the table. The vouchers include the player’s name and table number. A pit clerk takes the voucher to the table, where the dealer verifies the player’s identity and provides the designated amount of chips. Justice said the simple and secure process takes little time, which means play is uninterrupted.
Justice said a mobile ledger tracks how much the casino owes a customer and holds the money in the form of a voucher within the property’s slot system. Players can hold their casino funds in the ledger, deposit them digitally to any of their attached banking accounts, or obtain cash by pairing the phone at a ticket redemption kiosk via a QR code. The multiple choices ensure that a customer never has to stop play to get cash, he said.
“We fully expect this new way of gaming to grow across all age segments,” Justice said. He added that during the app’s rollout at Viejas, he talked with many players who found the app easy to use and appreciated that it eliminated waiting in line at the casino cage or finding someone to watch their slot machines while they got cash from an ATM.
The company said it soon will roll out VIP Mobility applications that enable cashless transactions for non-gaming purchases as well.
“Land-based operators should strive to provide contactless and cashless solutions to meet the evolving needs of patrons,” Justice said. “We are seeing long-term cashless adoption occur more broadly in peoples’ lives, with studies showing that 30 percent of consumers started using contactless payment methods at the beginning of the pandemic, and 70 percent of these recent adopters planning to continue using digital payment methods once the pandemic subsides.
“So, to me, it is logical that the percentage of slot and table game action that is cashless continues to grow well into the future.”
VIP Mobility will launch at several more locations in the coming year, in traditional and online gaming operations. Justice said the app can be used “regardless of where patrons choose to game,” including multiple casinos under the umbrella of a single operator or participating casinos in different jurisdictions.
VIP Mobility users register only once if they are among the 3.5 million people enrolled in Global Payments’ VIP Preferred program, an e-check network available in more than 500 North American land-based, mobile, and online gaming locations. VIP Preferred allows igaming and online sports bettors to fund bets electronically and receive real-time access to earnings using their “on file” checking accounts, Justice explained.
“Digital wagering minimizes operating costs while meeting consumer expectations,” Justice said. “Creating an omni-channel experience represents a great way to grow patron loyalty across both physical and online gaming environments, increasing wallet share for casinos and operators.”