A new trend in California are tribal casinos adding cashless options to their suite of services. Graton Resort and Casino is the latest to do so.
After announcing in March that Graton had signed a deal with London-based International Game Technology, it took the casino less than four months to bring that cashless casino product to its players in the form of a new mobile app.
Now, slot machines at the casino south of Santa Rosa can be played simply by loading funds onto an app.
Graton’s new app will give users a cashless option on slot machines
This new Graton mobile app is simply an electronic wallet that can be used to place wagers on slot machines. One example allows players to tap their phones on the slot machine’s card reader to place a bet via Bluetooth.
Cashless options are popping up across California. They strengthen a strong CA tribal casino marketplace which features 76 casinos that combine for around $9 billion in revenue annually. California online casinos are still prohibited.
In addition to wagering through Graton’s online app, it also features promotions and other perks for guests.
Graton’s new cashless option comes as the casino is set to expand. The renovation is expected to cost $825 million. When completed, the gaming floor will double in size, adding 3,000 slot machines for a total of 6,000.
New app has several other features as well
The main features of the new Graton app are:
- Access to Resort Wallet, a cashless solution for players built into the app.
- Graton rewards offers and promotions throughout the resort, personalized for guests. There are various ways to redeem awards: slots, hotel, spa and salon, resort-style pool and gift shop merchandise discounts.
- Graton Fast Funds for those who qualify. Fast Funds requires a soft credit check and does not impact credit score.
- Easily transfer cash, free play and credits while also tracking and generating player loyalty bonuses.
- Individualized promotional offers for Graton dining (including 630 Steakhouse, the resort’s fine dining destination) and big-name entertainment at The Event.
The online app is available on Google Play or at the App Store. Users must be at least 21 to qualify for promotions or a rewards card.
Lana Rivera, vice president and general manager at Graton Resort and Casino, touted the new technology.
“We are excited to offer our guests a more convenient way to play and review their account information. Our guests enjoy an elevated casino experience at Graton, and now our app gives them a cashless gaming experience right from their phone.”
Cashless options at California casinos are becoming a new trend
Graton is not the first and will not be the last casino to implement cashless systems for players.
Rolling Hills Casino and Resort, north of Sacramento, recently partnered with Acres Manufacturing Company to offer its Cashless Casino technology. The system allows players to place cashless bets at either slot machines or table games. Casinos simply link their mobile app with the Acres system and connect it all to a payment processor.
Andrew “Dru” Alejandre, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians tribal chairman, is excited about the new technology at Rolling Hills.
“We always support the leadership’s approach to deploying innovative technologies to provide our players with a great gaming entertainment experience. And Acres’ Cashless Casino application furthers this focus. The deployment of Cashless Casino on our gaming floor will allow us to further improve our guest experience by providing players with a seamless, easy-to-use cashless funding option.”
Sky River Casino south of Sacramento has also invested in a cashless system by partnering with Konami Gaming and Everi Holdings. Sky River will rely on Everi’s mobile CashClub Wallet for its cashless operating platform, which will then be linked with Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system.
President and Chief Operating Officer of Sky River Casino Chris Gibase feels new cashless systems allow guests to focus on relaxing and enjoying their time at Sky River.
“By investing in cutting-edge cashless technology that brings convenience and innovation to payments, loyalty and rewards, Sky River allows guests to focus on the entertainment, using whichever touchpoints they prefer.”
While less sophisticated, Morongo Casino Resort & Spa east of Riverside is offering cashless wagering by allowing guests to place wagers with a pre-loaded card. This is essentially a Dave and Busters card but repurposed for application in a casino.
Are these cashless options partly to prepare for online casinos in California?
Online casinos in California are still illegal, but these cashless wagering options are a step closer to bringing online casinos out of the black market.
These cashless wagering systems are extremely similar to online casino platforms. Adding funds to a mobile app to place wagers is how online casinos work. Sure, these cashless systems in California are built for brick-and-mortar settings, but there is no denying the technology could be adapted to serve online casinos as well.
This new technology taking the California tribal casino market by storm does not mean online casinos are right around the corner in The Golden State. But if online wagering was ever legalized and regulated in California, these casinos have infrastructure built and in place to jump at the opportunity.