When Resorts World Las Vegas opens its doors Thursday night, it will mark the first opening of a casino on the Las Vegas Strip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first debut of a mega casino on the famous thoroughfare over the last decade.
Resorts World Vegas, a $4.3 billion property on the north end of the Strip, bills itself as the first casino in the nation where customers won’t need cash for any transaction inside the venue. Patrons can make any purchase — gaming, shopping, hotel, and dining — on a digital basis. Cashless transactions will also be a hallmark of the Resorts World retail sportsbook, in line with casino industry trends across the nation.
“People are carrying around less and less cash, it’s just a fact,” said Jonathan Michaels, senior vice president of Strategic Development & Government Affairs at Sightline Payments. “COVID-19 accelerated the shift to contactless payment options.”
Resorts World is being publicized as the most technologically advanced casino in the world, Michaels told Sports Handle. Customers there will be able to load funds onto a single wallet through JOINGO, a Sightline Payments solution. Sports bettors will have the option of depositing cash at an on-site kiosk powered by NRT Technology or loading their wallet by enrolling in Sightline’s Play+ platform.
Sightline already offers Play+ through its partnerships with major sports betting industry players such as BetMGM, DraftKings, William Hill Nevada, Circa Sports, SuperBook Sports, and Wynn Sports. Outside Nevada, Sightline also counts Barstool Sports, TVG, Elite Sportsbook, and NYRA Bets as its partners.
Cashless options at Vegas books
Last June, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released a study on payments modernization following an 18-month collaborative effort with casino operators and other industry stakeholders. In the wake of COVID-19, 59% of respondents indicated that casino visitors are less likely to use cash on a day-to-day basis due to the pandemic. Furthermore, research from Mastercard, Visa, and the AGA found that about 70% of customers now plan to use contactless payment options more frequently in their everyday lives, Michaels said.
Sports bettors through Play+ can load up to $2,000 a day onto their wallets. The limits increase to $4,500 for a week and $10,000 in a month. Funding sources for Play+ include major credit and debit cards, ACH, and PayPal. The Play+ solution also offers customers the ability to withdraw funds from their Resorts World’s GamingPlay wallet without waiting in line or leaving their seat at a table game.
The vast majority of Sightline’s sportsbook partners also operate VIP premium programs, in which sharp bettors can load up to $100,000 a day in their respective accounts. Over the course of a week, the limit jumps to $300,000, with monthly limits of $700,000, Michaels noted. The higher limits for VIP customers carry additional Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, he added.
Resorts World, Vegas' newest casino, is opening up Thursday, and it has lots of new tech upgrades and ambitions for the future. (Think: crypto). @Contessabrewer is there with more. pic.twitter.com/PWOYZJobqr
— The News with Shepard Smith (@thenewsoncnbc) June 23, 2021
As mobile sports betting proliferates, there are growing concerns that online wagering will render traditional wagering at the counter obsolete. In Colorado, 99% of sports wagers since the state went live last May have been placed on an online platform, with only a tiny sliver wagered on a retail basis. Across the nation, the figure is closer to 80-85%.
At Resorts World, customers can place wagers at Dawg House Saloon & Sportsbook, a restaurant that offers pub fare and live entertainment. The lounge setting is reflective of a larger strategy among casinos to implement sports betting with other forms of entertainment as a way of enhancing the overall experience for customers.
Resorts World has hired as its sportsbook manager Richard Corbett, who held that position with MGM Resorts and also had sportsbook stints at the Luxor and Excalibur casinos.
The retail sportsbook at Dawg House and Resorts World’s Nevada mobile app will be powered by IGT’s PlaySports technology.
“IGT will help the Resorts World Las Vegas team maximize the full potential of their PlaySports-powered retail and mobile sportsbooks, engage sports fans, and capture growth opportunities within one of the of the highest-volume sports betting markets in the U.S.,” IGT PlayDigital SVP Enrico Drago said in a statement.
NFL Futures comparison of IGT lines at Resorts World and Boyd. These RW numbers are strange to see. pic.twitter.com/WYWDnkB1qC
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) June 24, 2021
Responsible gaming solutions
Last month, Sightline became the first payments company to participate in the AGA’s public service campaign on responsible sports wagering, joining the NHL, PGA Tour, and FanDuel as campaign partners.
Beyond the aforementioned deposit limits, players can set a cap on the amounts wagered and the amount of time spent on a given app. Though some companies offer their customers a credit limit of $10,000 for a particular account, sports betting is categorized as a high-risk transaction by many financial institutions, Michaels noted. As such, bettors may be restricted to 20% of the credit limits for wagering on sports, depending on the institution.
Sightline is also collaborating with UNLV and Global Payments Solutions on an initiative that will study the gaming industry’s transition to cashless wagering. The UNLV Payments Collaborative will identify markers of harm through the payments process, while Sightline plans to use the data to build in functionalities within its product to potentially restrict risky gaming behavior.
“We are very committed to understanding how payments impact potential problem gaming behavior,” Michaels said.