Sightline Payments’ Project 250 aims to seed cashless payment technology across the country

October 13, 2022 7:25 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
October 13, 2022 7:25 PM

In order to achieve widespread adoption of cashless payments in the gaming industry, casinos need to establish an infrastructure.

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Last week, Sightline Payments announced Project 250, an investment of up to $300 million in facilitating digital-payments technology at 250,000 slot machines across the country within 36 months. It’s a huge venture and arguably a gamble by the Las Vegas-based based company.

But Sightline’s Co-CEO Omer Sattar thinks it would be a gamble not to make the investment.

“We’re so confident about this,” Sattar said during an interview at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. “There’s no way we would make this kind of commitment (if it was risky).

“In your everyday life, you use a credit or debit card all the time, right? It’s not very often that you use cash in your life. So as long as we can have the right user experience deployed in the casino in the U.S., we see absolutely no reason why the consumer wouldn’t have the same mobile experience in gaming.”

Sightline is collaborating with Acres Manufacturing on Project 250, which will use Acres’ Foundation technology that provides casinos with real-time player data, including an interface for any digital wallet. Sattar noted that the company is also partnering with IGT, Light & Wonder, Aristocrat, and Konami.

“From our perspective, it’s really the operator’s choice,” he says. “If the operator says I love Konami, we’ll say great, we’ll do it with Konami.”

Although the goal is to upgrade 250,000 slot machines in 36 months, Sattar is optimistic that the benchmark can be reached sooner. One of the reasons is that some operators have already expressed interest in Project 250.

Sightline Payments Senior Vice President of Business Development Andrew Crowe says that one of the remaining hurdles for more widespread adoption is the need to upgrade slot machines to handle the technology.

“There are many reasons for upgrading the slot floor, so it isn’t just about cashless for the casino,” Crowe says. “But this is the thing that may help accelerate their adoption (of cashless) or give them another reason to upgrade their floor. Research has shown time and time again, when you present to regular gamblers a way to play in a digital way on the floor, they will adopt it.”

Sattar says he’s heard from operators eager to deploy cashless systems, but are reluctant to invest funds – sometimes as much as $1 million – for upgrades. But with Sightline subsidizing the upgrades, Sattar anticipates more operators signing on to Project 250.

Crowe notes that while Sightline’s investment is significant, it will not cover the entire cost of the upgrades, noting that every operator will have “skin in the game.”

“It varies by property, “Crowe says, noting that the amount of each operator’s contribution will be contingent on the size of operations and the types of technology and software required.

The sheer scale of the project seems immense. In concept, it seems akin to the Works Projects Administration, the New Deal initiative that in part built public roads across the country. Sattar says he would never claim that Project 250 is similar, but appreciates the analogy.

“We’re going to pay for the infrastructure, so we can move the industry forward,” Sattar says. “And because the government doesn’t build the road, we’re going to have to do it. We have to figure out how to build it.”