The Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, is seeking to make its casino cashless, where players would utilize a digital wallet to receive chips at tables or play slots games. The Hollywood Casino is operated by none other than Penn National Gaming, one of the leading sports content and casino gaming providers across North America.
The recent initiative in West Virginia is a part of a movement by Penn National Gaming to move away from cash gaming and toward players using a digital wallet to manage their money while at the casino. Penn National Gaming is already beginning to go cashless at properties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.
The VP and General Manager of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town said, “I think the digital wallet and digital platform is the way many businesses are going, and we want to make sure we are a part of that moving forward.”
Discussion during commission meeting
Last month, the West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) had a long discussion about the proposal made by Hollywood Casino in Charles Town to go cashless. Some members have expressed support for the transition to cashless gaming. Other members like the commission’s chair Ken Greear were not convinced yet and said the commission needs to make sure it’s the right decision before issuing the final approval.
“It’s just a matter of making sure the players do not have something that interrupts and or makes their enjoyment of the game more cumbersome or something that doesn’t work well,” stated Greear.
It’s great that the WVLC is taking this move seriously, as this would be the first casino in The Mountain State to begin offering cashless options.
The state commission has five members chosen by the Governor that ensure state casinos and all lottery games are fair and honest. The commission sets policy for the state, and oversees all financial operations, licensing, and auditing for state casinos. The commission also tests and certifies gaming equipment and investigates complaints about individual casinos. Ultimately, it will come down to these five committee members whether West Virginia in-person casinos will begin offering cashless gaming.
Implications of going cashless
For many fans of casino gaming, the switch to going cashless will only be more convenient. Many players are already using their debit/credit cards at physical casinos and withdrawing cash to play at those casinos. The switch to an e-wallet would allow players to use their app to place wagers at slot machines or video machines and their favorite table games. It seems weird not giving the dealer cash but instead using a mobile phone to buy in at a table, but many players in today’s casino just don’t like to carry cash.
The functionality could theoretically work with the casino’s online app as well, so players could utilize the same e-wallet in the casino as they do at home. With many brands also featuring cross-functionality with their sportsbook and casino apps, the added convenience makes a lot of sense.
When would cashless gaming take effect?
If the West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) decides to move forward with cashless gaming, then players could see cashless machines or tables by the end of the year. Once approved, the Hollywood Casino’s proposal would have to go through a testing process by the WVLC, which is expected to take several months. On top of that, video lottery machines and table games where only cash is currently accepted would have to be modified.
As more casinos and states begin the transition to cashless gaming, it’s critical to consider the implications of such a decision. And even when all of our casinos offer cashless gaming, will users still be able to use cash? For the foreseeable future, it seems like cash won’t be going anywhere yet, and the cashless e-wallets will become another convenient option for players who prefer to manage their money over their mobile devices.
Mac Daniel is a South Carolina-based freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit www.playonlinecasinomi.com or www.playonlinesportsbetting.com