Nevada could soon allow remote registration and ID verification for cashless payment accounts in state casinos. This would help reduce the bottlenecks customers face when trying to sign up in person.
Nevada Continues to Go Digital
On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) held an afternoon workshop for 70 minutes to discuss the proposal, which received some support from board members. The proposal will be presented to the board of three members at a future regular meeting. However, the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) is the final judge.
Sightline Payments made the request. In June, Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) launched the first casino-wide cashless payment system with Sightline. Patrons can use their credit cards to pay for everything at the property, including slot play, table games, sports betting, restaurants, retail and entertainment.
Remote registration of horse and sports wagering accounts was not covered in the workshop. They will continue to require in-person setup in casinos.
Omer Sattar, co-founder of Sightline, pushed Nevada to amend its regulations for in-person verification to match the ones that have been allowed online poker in Nevada since 2013. He said that the customer experience at RWLV has been “far from optimal” since the June rollout.
“Our options at Resorts World were to launch the product that we knew was not optimal, or wait six or nine months. Resorts World rightfully decided it was better to launch the product and continue to enhance it,” Sattar stated. “We and our competitors that are payment providers in Nevada have spent a lot of time thinking about what is the optimal flow.”
Sattar stated that the process of downloading a mobile app, creating an account, funding an account and verifying an account is easy and should take no more than three minutes.
Sattar stated that RWLV was unable to verify IDs in six minutes under the current setup. In some cases, it took more than two hours. This included people filling out paper forms, writing social security numbers on paper, handing them to cage personnel and trying to identify each individual by their ID. Although the program has been relatively successful, he acknowledged that the user experience has not been.
Online Registration Already Allowed Elsewhere
Sattar stated that remote registrations and verifications can also be made using technology from other industries without the need to show identification. The US Department of the Treasury regulates Sightline in 50 states.
Sightline executives referenced an October 19 memo by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, that described non-documentary methods of verifying identity. Board members were curious if Sightline would allow customers to submit their driver’s licenses remotely to verify their identity. Sattar stated that it is acceptable to digitally upload a driver’s license or passport.
However, approval will not be granted without opposition. Marc Rubinstein, Station Casinos’ attorney, said that FinCEN allows remote gaming verification. However, he believes regulations still require a “government-issued ID” for land-based casino transactions. This is contradictory to what FinCEN outlined last month.
This immediately raised some doubts from the board members about why FinCEN would say that one is legal while the other is not. If Rubinstein’s assertions were true, it would mean that the seven states that allow online registration for their commercial and tribal casino activity would be in violation of the law, and FinCEN hasn’t intervened in any of those states. Officials said that there are thirty jurisdictions that allow remote setup or verification of online gaming.
Phil Katsaros, an NGCB board member, stated, “It is a nuisance for players to wait in a queue when they could easily do this remotely, which they already do [for things like online poker]. To not allow for that in the terrestrial world where that player has to come into the casino, and I know the commission is on the record saying we don’t want to discourage people from coming to casinos. This would actually encourage it because they sign up for it and theoretically thereafter they want to go to the casino.”
J. Brin Gibson, the Board Chairman, agreed that the matter should be brought back to a regular board session in the future. However, he didn’t elaborate on when that might happen.