Focus on Sightline: Deposit+ helps casinos access their slot floor cash

December 8, 2023 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
December 8, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Sightline is revolutionizing the way casinos view their entire slot floor with the company’s new product, Deposit+, which gives operators daily access to cash sitting idle in slot machines and TITO kiosks.

The fintech company says it is empowering operators to use that cash as working capital, with an estimated $3 billion in slot cash and $2 billion in TITO funds waiting to be reinvested within the casino industry.

Deposit+ has no hardware or software requirements and whatever cash is in the casino’s slot machines or TITO kiosks on a daily basis can now be put in the bank. The solution works with the casinos’ existing CMS, and the daily currency report triggers an advanced deposit through Sightline’s system.

Because the cash is credited to the bank account, that allows operators to optimize their drop schedules and reduce labor expenses.

When operators use Deposit+, they can earn daily provisional credit across slot devices, reduce outstanding debt and make additional investment without accruing additional debt, according to Tom Pierro, senior vice president of product management for Sightline.

Tom Pierro

“For decades, casino operators of all sizes have been stymied in their search for a way to make use of cash that is stuck in slot machines prior to a drop,” Pierro said. “Until today, that cash and its potential has remained untapped.”

Pierro noted that casinos today deposit about 25% into the bank while the rest is recycled in the property to refill the kiosks, cage and other operations, such as restaurants. That’s millions of dollars per property that operators are now able to access, he said.

“We partner with a bank, and they look at it as advancing money on a deposit they are going to receive in the future,” said Pierro. “There’s no loan documentation issues on that cash. It doesn’t increase the debt on an operator’s balance sheet and does not interfere with their loan covenants. They can pay down debt or make investments into refreshing the floor or a hotel tower without incurring more debt.”

During the first quarter of 2024, Sightline is ready to implement the solution that was highlighted at G2E in October. The company will work with a casino management system provider to produce two files daily – cash into the bill validators and report all of the cash that’s been removed.

“It doesn’t matter what operator and what casino management system provider, we take all of that information and format it into a single file that we send to our banking partner,” Pierro said. “All of the cash that got played into a casino’s slot machine from the previous gaming day gets reported to us and we report that to the bank, and the bank credits their account by 1 p.m. Eastern. It doesn’t matter if there was a drop event. They get credited for all of that cash.”

Sightline is working with properties across the country from tribal to commercial, including on the Las Vegas Strip.

“There’s a lot of interest but with something that is brand new and hasn’t been done before, there are a lot of questions,” said Pierro. “We are working through those questions about how the operator is going to use those proceeds and how the reconciliation process will work. We have that mapped out. The systems are built to implement, but since nobody has been through it before, people are being cautious and want to look through all the pieces and parts before committing to move forward.”

Sightline is known for its payment solutions, including cashless gaming, but the new solution is unrelated, Pierro said. This is for cash players putting cash into slot machines.

“We’re really helping the operator become more efficient at both offering cashless and managing their cash,” he explained. “It is different in that it’s not a consumer-facing product but an operator-facing solution and related to the cash and not cashless.”

Pierro said that Sightline has contemplated the solution for a while. It will be several years before cash is removed from the casino floor and as cash becomes less used and cashless used in greater frequency, the cost of managing that cash goes up.

“If we can make it more efficient for the operators, not only today by accessing what’s out there, even when the amount of cash drops over time, we believe that Deposit+ will allow them to take advantage of more operational efficiency in the drop process without losing access to the cash that’s out there,” he said.

Sightline, with the payments solutions it offers today, already works with casino management systems. That provides an ability to offer this newest solution, Pierro added.

“The way we look at these provisional credit solutions is really like a payment solution, even though you think of paper currency rather than a credit card transaction or debit card transaction,” he said. “We look at this solution as being able to digitize the paper currency. It’s recorded by a bill validator, and we get the reporting of what’s been captured by it. We pass on that information digitally so it can be deposited to that operator’s account. It’s very similar to when an operator processes their credit card transactions.”

Pierro said it’s taken so long to get to this point because businesses generally, including casino operators, can be resistant to change, and casinos have been processing cash the same way for decades.

“The beauty of this is that the drop process doesn’t have to change because we and the bank don’t require any change in the drop schedule,” Pierro said. “We don’t require them to do anything different than they do with their paper money today. We just give them access to it. I don’t think anyone had all of the vision around all of the pieces. The knowledge and the vision of the gaming companies’ operations and payments and how we look at cash as a payment type and handling it that way as paper currency for hundreds of years, is what allowed us to have the vision to bring it to mind.”