Cashless gaming at Michigan retail casinos is the next major technological advance in the industry.
Michigan is home to 26 casinos (three commercial and 23 tribal) that provide an economic impact of $6.28 billion to the state’s economy.
Already showing seamless integration with the online casino MI space, cashless gaming in Michigan is the next logical step for players at retail casinos in the Great Lakes State. In our guide, we will go over how the cashless casino technology works and works for you, and how cashless gaming is a growing alternative for players.
Cashless gaming at a glance
Americans use their phones to make phone calls, send text messages, and emails, and play at online casinos and other games. We also use our devices to unlock doors at hotels, start our cars, and serve as view screens for our favorite shows and movies. Through banking apps, we can check our account balances, incoming bills and coordinate payment schedules.
Using digital wallets like PayPal and Venmo (but specifically linked to casinos) on our mobile devices gives us instant access to our money. Cashless gaming is the concept where the phone acts as our wallet through a casino-affiliated app. Players can then connect their phones to a slot machine or table game at a cashless casino and automatically be linked with digital payment options.
There’s no cash to pull out, no chips to hold, no reason to get a prepaid gift card or walk over to the ATM for cash. It’s instantaneous.
Casino operators like the fact that since it’s an electronic currency, it’s easier to track and keep secure. There are layers of security for digital wallets that don’t exist in the real world (ever lose a wallet full of cash?). The apps let you set deposit and withdrawal limits. The FDIC protects those personal transactions. The Bluetooth connects to the machines you want to play with just a click.
Cashless gaming is efficient, secure and will expand in the years to come across the Michigan casino landscape.
Granted, some still favor the ability to hold and use cash during their Michigan casino experience. There’s something about holding your money in your hands, but cash can also be lost, or it can be counterfeit or become unsanitary. Cashless gaming doesn’t have those issues.
Cashless casino in Michigan
American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller said in 2020 that cashless gaming innovation was the future of the retail casino space, citing the rise in e-commerce as the driving force. States continue to adopt cashless gaming and digital payment options for commercial and tribal casinos, including Michigan, which has 23 tribal casinos and three commercial ones.
The first casino in Michigan to offer cashless gaming was the commercial Hollywood Casino at Greektown in 2022.
How Penn Play works at Hollywood Greektown
Players at the Hollywood Casino can use the PENN Wallet to load balances and then once on the casino floor, be automatically connected to their favorite game via Bluetooth connection. Penn Entertainment even sweetened the pot by offering players a $40 bonus when they download the PENN Play app, connect to a game, and set up their PENN Wallet.
Hollywood Casino players can also set up the tech through the My Choice App loyalty program.
Since offering a cashless option, the casino has also added a cashless market where players can pick up items and then pay for them by waving their phone or using a handprint just before they leave.
Safety and security of cashless gaming in Michigan
One of the reasons why the casino industry is trending more towards cashless gaming is the fact that it comes with an additional layer of security that doesn’t exist with cash. Among the other benefits:
- Technological security: The proprietary virtual wallet apps are backed by secure servers. No one should have access to your money but you. All transactions from your bank account to a virtual wallet app are regulated and backed by the FDIC because each is marked with an identifier called a token.
- Bluetooth connection: You have to approve and lock in on the connection from your device to a game on a casino floor. No one can swipe a prepaid card from you, or steal your cash.
- Convenient: No more digging through your wallet for the right bills at a cashless casino. If a game on the casino floor suddenly gets open, you can click right in and start playing, and if it gets hot, the credits instantly flow into your account.
- Responsible Gaming: Virtual wallets allow you to set withdrawal and playing limits to ensure that you always bet appropriately and don’t exceed any limits.
How to sign up, deposit and withdraw using digital payment options
The first thing to do is download the app for the virtual wallet at your favorite Michigan casino. On the iPhone that means the App Store, for Android devices, this means Google Play.
Once there, these are the standard next steps (others may vary):
- Log into your mobile banking account.
- Click on the Menu option, then select Manage debit/credit card.
- Select the card you want to add and tap Digital Wallets.
- Choose the casino platform’s digital wallet.
- Authenticate your identity by providing personal information such as your birthday, address, or last four digits of SSN.
- Make your selection to complete adding your card.
- After you’re connected, use the digital wallet like you would your bank account to make withdrawals and deposits through approved methods and limits.
Troubleshooting cashless gaming technology
We all know that technology can also fail us at times, and when that happens there’s usually an easy fix. Cashless gaming does require a certain amount of technological savvy. These are the most common issues with cashless gaming at a cashless casino and the most common solutions.
- Not connecting to Bluetooth: That is a frustrating one, but the most obvious solution is to make sure that your mobile device has the Bluetooth setting turned on and that your device is discoverable. Proximity can also be a factor. You may not connect to a game if you’re over 25 feet away. You will need to physically get closer. If all of these things are tried, the old stand-by: turn your device off and back on, still works.
- Deposit declines: On your bank account and your virtual wallet, there may be pre-set limits as to how much you can deposit between one and the other. Be aware that these may be set by your banking institution and you would need to change your setting with them before moving forward with your cashless casino app.
- Withdrawal declines: In this case, the institution to keep an eye on may be the casino establishment which may have a limit on the amount you can withdraw each day.
Benefits of going cashless at casinos
You know the traditional movie scene, someone wins big at a casino and they walk out with a big briefcase full of money. They’re also putting a large target on their backs! These days, a big win at a cashless casino is transmitted directly from the casino to your cashless app or bank account. This is why going cashless is becoming the way to go.
- Security: You’ve earned the money, so you want to keep it as secure as possible. Transactions from your bank account to a cashless casino app are monitored and regulated. No more, counting money at the table. You’ll get what you’ve won.
- Sanitary: Cash can get wrinkled, dirty and messy over time. COVID-19 made us all think twice about touching physical property that may not belong to us. That’s not a problem when you’re cashless.
- Convenient: All your money is just a few clicks away with your fingers on your mobile device.
How cashless gaming promotes responsible gambling
There is a fear among industry watchdogs that cashless gaming will make it even easier for problem gamers to walk away and control their gambling habits, but as much as the technology can hurt, it can provide even more safeguards.
Cashless casino wallet apps provide an additional layer of protection by enhancing Michigan responsible gaming measures including creating withdrawal limits, establishing a time limit to allow players to cool off, and giving them a connection to self-exclusion standards and problem gambling resources from the Michigan Gaming Control Board if necessary.