Resorts’ Rick Hutchins: Customer engagement with the cashless ecosystem

The adoption rate of cashless across the industry might still be low, but it’s the customer engagement with cashless gaming that’s very encouraging for Resorts World Las Vegas, says vice president for casino operations, Rick Hutchins.

The adoption rate of cashless across the industry might still be low, but it’s the customer engagement with cashless gaming that’s very encouraging for Resorts World Las Vegas, says vice president for casino operations, Rick Hutchins.

Customer engagement, in particular through the app and the loyalty programme, is what should be seen at the main goal of cashless, Hutchins explains.

What makes Resorts World’s cashless solution so unique is that it’s deployed across the property. Most operators have rolled it out for slot machines, but at Resorts World it has been extended to table games, Ticket In, Ticket Out (TITO) devices, and in tandem with RFID technology.

Friction at the onboarding stage continues to be the main challenge, but the casino is working hard with its partners to reduce it for further customer adoption and engagement.


From what I understand, this is the most advanced cashless experience offering at a casino in the US, can you tell us more about what's so unique about that offering?

What's really unique for Resorts World is we created a ubiquitous cashless environment within our casino. Many other casino operators are beginning with cashless at the slot machines, but our vision and goal was to really deploy a cashless solution across the entire property. Not only do we have cashless wagering at the slot machines, we also have cashless wagering at the table games. You can use your mobile phone with your cashless wallet to be able to gamble and play at both of those.

Then expanding that further, we took the ticket in, ticket out solution which everybody knows to be at the slot machines, and we brought that to the table games as well.  This is not a cashless wallet but a form of cashless wagering in. So I can be playing my favourite slot machine, hit the cash out button and walk across 10 feet and go to the next table game and provide that ticket in, ticket out voucher to the dealer and they would redeem the voucher, provide me the chips and then I can play.

We even expanded that more with RFID technology. So I can buy in with the TITO ticket or cashless wagering or cash, and then all of my wagers with the chips being used are being trapped with RFID technology. We call it our smart tables. And so, no longer do I have to have the subjective opinion or observations from floor supervisors on what my buying was, what my average bet is, what I walked with, we actually know you bought in for say $500 with your cashless wagering wallet and all of the hands that you bet on the tables for that period of time. So that's really bringing our cashless wagering system from slots to tables, and just pulling the environment together.

What has the player adoption been so far?

The adoption has been expectedly low. The number I guess is in the single, close to double-digit adoption, but it's the engagement that’s really encouraging. Guests in Nevada, and quite frankly the gaming industry, they're not used to this and they don't fully understand it so it's all about creating that value position.

What we found is those guests, once they understand what this is they engage and they use it over and over. So I'm very optimistic about the initial result. Very happy with the engagement when they do get the app and have the cashless wagering wallet on their phone.

Are there any obstacles that you can see in furthering the adoption amongst the players?

The point of entry to obtaining your cashless wagering account - different jurisdictions will have their different regulation requirements, and so there there's a bit of friction at the point you want to sign up for The Genting rewards program and then add a cashless wagering account which requires a physical identification verification. So while it's good for the environment, it's a bit of friction as when customers download an app they want to move really quickly from downloading the app to signing up, to moving on. And so we're working through some of those points of friction to make sure that we create a really seamless guest experience on entry, that would be the obstacle.

What are the advantages of cashless vs. cash based payments from the casino prospective?

Long term adoption of using cashless helps reduce cash moving around the property. The ticket in, ticket out from the tables is a huge advantage when a guest has say $500, they're ready to walk away and they want to go to the cashier case to cash them out. We just collar them up and provide them at TITO voucher that they can hold on to, save for later, go to any one of our variety of kiosks and redeem it. So it saves bills back to the table games, but really the advantage long-term is having your guests engaged with your mobile app, the Resorts World app. They have not only have the cashless wagering but they have the entire Loyalty Program there.

And so you think the along the lines of Starbucks right? Other programs that have really great engaging apps. That's where the long-term value becomes for us is having guests engaged with us not only on premise, but when they're at home.

So what's next for cashless gaming technology in the US that you would like to see as the next step for resorts as well?

Efficiency. So the point of entry, getting it from app, to download, into the loyalty programme, to funding the ecosystem, that efficiency we'll continue to work on. We're partnering with the various partners to help provide the solution to be able to reduce that friction.

Then you start thinking about how Zelle, Apple Pay, those types of payment devices work to be able to easily, safely, under all the regulatory environments to be able to help that guest do what they want to do within the resort at Resorts World, and when they're ready to cash out and put the money back into their bank account we create all of that seamless friction.

That's really what I see is next and it's going to be a little bit of work because we just to opened up, first resort to open with this kind of cashless solution, so we've got a bit of work to do but that's our focus, to create that ecosystem within a gaming environment. Just as we're starting to see it outside in the rest of the consumer product environment.

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