So many casinos – so many Players cards. I use to have a fanny pack in the 90’s that was full of them, from Vegas to Atlantic City.

At first, they were introduced for slot players to off-set the high house edge.  People were skeptical.  Why earn comps when you can just ask for comps?

According to Bill Burton of ThoughtCo.com,  “The “Slot Clubs” were born in Atlantic City in the early 1980’s when the casinos there were trying to find a way to keep players from hopping from one casino to the next. By offering a reward for their loyalty they were able to keep the player coming back.”  It worked. By 2000, most casinos had players club cards for all gamblers including table games, registering data that transformed gamblers play into complimentary eats, show tickets, and rooms. Life was good with a players card.

One of my first players club cards – Lady Luck in Las Vegas. Notice the divits used for the data – magnetic strips in back were not universal yet. Notice no name, no number!

Now, there is something new on the horizon, already in use out in Las Vegas – the Cardless Players Card!

What is Cardless Connect?

Red Rock Resort Casino
Red Rock Resort Casino Hotel, the Gem of Stations Casinos

The IGT Cardless Connect technology with Station Casinos enables a player to use their MyBoardingPass loyalty card without actually using a physical card. To use Cardless Connect, players simply download the STN app, sign into the account and tap the phone on the card reader at a slot machine. The phone will simply connect the player just as a physical loyalty card would so the player can experience all of the benefits of the loyalty program.

You must have a working 4G signal OR be connected to the casino Stations Wi-Fi, in this case Stations casino, in order to sign into the STN mobile application. You also need to have Bluetooth enabled; that’s how we connect you, so keep your phone close by the bezel or you might get carded out.  Forgot your card?  No problem!

You can also log in through kiosks with your mobile device by selecting the QR code in the Boarding Pass section of the Station Casinos app.

IGT Innovations

IGT was the pioneer in TITO – Ticket In, Ticket Out – technology that brought coinless machine play to casinos all over the country.  IGT is also the owner of the vast number of video poker machines in today’s casinos and has been a leader in Lotto technology. Now, they’re taking Rewards clubs to the next level.

A player sits down and points their phone at the gaming machine. Suddenly, the player display shows the player’s name and point balance. When the player leaves, the app automatically cards them out. No card? No problem! As long as you have your phone or mobile device with you (and who doesn’t!?), you’ll be able to connect.

 

Cardless Connect is in Barley’s Casino & Brewing Co. in Henderson, NV, just outside of Las Vegas and is the only Vegas casino to already have it installed. Stations will be installing it in two more of its casinos in the coming months.  How successful this will be with players is yet to be seen.

I remember when I thought the reality of coins in slots and video poker was real gambling – not this fake sound of coins hitting trough and a paper ticket.

Years later, with clean hands and no more hopper fills to wait for, I am convinced I was wrong – TITO was a great innovation.  Maybe this will become the next one.

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The players club display on the machine will show the player’s name and point balance as if the card were in use. When the player (and the phone) leaves the game, the app automatically cards them out. This is as simple as new mobile can be.

Based on the initial success of the Cardless Connect technology at Barley’s, Station Casinos plans to implement it at two more locations in Las Vegas later this year with the remaining properties to follow shortly after. Unfortunately, Station Casinos isn’t ready to divulge which casinos will are up next for Cardless Connect. Here’s what they did have to say about the future of using their players club card.

“We are committed to continuously delivering new benefits to our My Rewards Boarding Pass that bring value and convenience to our new and existing members,” said Staci Alonso, Station Casinos EVP and Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer. “IGT’s Cardless Connect technology adds meaningful value to the STN mobile app by allowing guests to use their phone to card in at their favorite slot game if they prefer a digital experience.”

“Station Casinos has been a phenomenal partner in our rollout of Cardless Connect technology,”said Nick Khin, IGT Chief Commercial Officer, North America Gaming & Interactive. “We evaluated multiple technologies and developed a flexible solution that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or QR code connectivity. From the initial phases of implementation to the excitement of the ‘go live’, the Station Casinos team has embraced Cardless Connect’s innovative features and BLE connectivity, which deliver a superior user experience.”

Cardless Connect is a great idea and should make visiting Las Vegas easier as more casino operators add the technology to their machines. The days of packing countless players club cards for a trip to Las Vegas may be over soon.

Don’t dump your players club cards just yet. This will only roll out to a few Station Casinos properties this year with more next year. While MGM Resorts has been testing Cardless Connect at MGM Grand in Detroit, they haven’t been any announced expansion of the technology into Las Vegas.

Kudos to Station Casinos for stepping out with this great technological advancement. Let’s hope others will follow soon.

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