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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: Cashless gaming workarounds

Ask the Slot Expert: Cashless gaming workarounds

18 January 2023

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Cashless gaming isn't always a seamless experience today, but we'll get there. Remember when using your credit card meant giving your card to the cashier, who would put your card and a credit card sales slip in the endorsing machine and run a roller back and forth over your card? Today I just hold my card -- not even that, my phone -- in front of the card reader.

Here are workarounds for some of the problems you might encounter.

Cashless gaming is not supported on the machine you want to play

This problem is rare today and will disappear completely in the future. Cashless Gaming support will be standard equipment on a slot machine, like a bill acceptor is today.

Although I've mostly seen stickers that say that cashless gaming is not available on a machine on older machines, I have seen the stickers on a few new machines. I don't know why a new machine would not support cashless. The software in the older machines, on the other hand, doesn't understand the cashless gaming messages.

I tried an experiment on an old video poker machine that had the sticker at Suncoast. The card reader display gave me the option to transfer my credit meter to my cashless account, so I tried it. After about 20 seconds, the screen displayed "SAS Protocol Timeout". I guess the sticker wasn't kidding.

One workaround to play a machine that does not support cashless is to just carry some cash. That defeats the purpose of cashless, though, so maybe there is another option.

I wanted to play the Silver Strike machines at Red Rock a few days ago. I couldn't do a Cardless Connect on the machine, so cashless was not an option. (These are old machines.) I had plenty of money in my cashless account, but I had only small change that I didn't want to spend in my wallet.

I went to the cage to withdraw some money from my cashless account. There was a line there that I didn't really want to wait in. Then I realized that there are over a thousand ATMs on the casino floor.

All I had to do was go to a machine that supported cashless, download the session amount I wanted to the machine, then cash out a ticket. I had my bankroll for Silver Strike before the line had moved.

The workaround works the other way, too.

I hit four deuces on the old video poker machine I mentioned before. As I said, I wasn't able to transfer that mini-jackpot to my cashless account. I had gotten the money to play the machine by using another machine to access myy cashless account, so let me do the same thing in reverse.

I cashed out a ticket and put it in a video slot machine. Then I tried to transfer the credits to my account. I got an error message saying that the amount exceeded the maximum transfer amount.

That would be really unfortunate if the maximum were around $1000. Dollar deuces or bonus poker players will frequently cash out tickets for more than $1000.

I went to a video poker machine and tried the transfer again. No problem.

Easy peasy, no more fees-y

I don't think players should have to pay a fee to gamble. Parking should be free. Casino credit is free of charges. Getting money into and out of your cashless account should also be free of charges. (Okay, I understand that casino credit is completely internal and the casino has to pay a fee to a third-party processor to handle the money transfers.)

I realize that this next workaround eliminates the primary advantage of cashless gaming -- not having to carry cash into or out of the casino. But here goes. There are more ways to fund your account than transferring money from a checking account or credit card. (Don't take a cash advance on a credit card even though it is an option!)

You can avoid the external transfer fee by bringing cash to the casino. You can then go to the cage to deposit it to your cashless account or you can use one of the thousands of ATMs on the slot floor to get the cash into your account.

I'm currently trying to transfer some of my deuces winnings back to my checking account. I had transferred $500 from my checking to stake me at NSU. Now I want to use $500 of my winnings to cover that transfer.

Unlike the STN Cash app, the Boyd Pay app does not have a feature to transfer money back to your checking account. (I had hit two sets of deuces at Red Rock two weeks ago and used the STN Cash app to transfer a good chunk of that windfall back into my checking account.) According to the FAQ on the Boyd site, I have to go online to access my account and do the transfer. I should have received an email telling me how to access my account after the account was created. I never received the email and I'm currently waiting for help from tech support.

Until we get my account access worked out, there's only one way to get money from my cashless account to my checking account: cash out and redeem a $500 ticket and go to the bank.

I started playing today with the other half of the deuces money. I had a good, long run keeping my credit meter a bit above or a bit below $500, but then a cold streak hit. I considered calling it a day when I was at $250, but it was a point multiplier day and I had a small edge and I wanted to earn more points, so I continued playing.

My luck changed. A few premium hands had me back in the $400s. I wanted to cover the $500 transfer I had made before, so I figured I would quit if I could get the credit meter back to $500.

It was a real nail-biter roller coaster ride. I hit a few hands and got above $450, and then fell back down again. Then I hit a few more hands and got above $475, and then fell back down again. I got close to $500 and then fell back many times.

Finally, the stars and the winning hands aligned and I hit a straight flush at $470. I was over my goal at $520. I played the surplus $20 for as long as it lasted -- which was not very long -- and cashed out a ticket for $500. I redeemed it at a kiosk and will deposit it at the bank tomorrow (because I forgot to stop at the bank after grocery shopping today).

As I said before, reverting to cash negates the primary advantage of cashless gaming, but if it avoids fees charged for putting cash into or taking cash out of your account, at least it's no worse than what we did before cashless.

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Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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