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Nevada Gaming Commission approves regulation allowing cashless registration

Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
EconomyGaming
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The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved a regulation change that will allow customers to establish wagering accounts for cashless gaming remotely ahead of arriving at a casino cage.

During the hour-long hearing in Las Vegas, gaming commissioners expressed some concern about the need for remote registration but said they understood the challenges of the increased use of technology and cashless payments.

“We balance the need for intense integrity in some of these processes with the ongoing need to stay modern in our technological offerings to the consumers as they come into our state and our facilities,” Gaming Commissioner Ben Kieckhefer said. “I think this goes in a positive direction of supporting whatever the consumer wants while maintaining the integrity.”

Gaming Commissioner Steven Cohen wasn’t so sure about that.

“I'm not ready to try,” Cohen said. “If it fails in the marketplace, you will have a whole lot of people who are, you know, filing complaints and coming here during the public forum.”

Cohen, however, ultimately made the motion to approve the regulation change, after a discussion on the matter.

The amendment was proposed by Las Vegas-based Sightline Payments and was approved in December by the Gaming Control Board after the Nevada attorney general’s office said the switch wouldn’t violate federal anti-money laundering laws.

Nevada Gaming Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti, center, along with Commissioner Ben Kieckhefer, left, Commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey, Commissioner Steven Cohen and Commissioner Ogonna Brown during a hearing in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

The regulation change would allow casino patrons to use an app to register their information, fund a cashless gaming account and complete the sign-up process remotely, including utilizing ID verification. Under the regulation, the customer would have to show the government-issued identification document upon arrival at the casino to complete the account set-up process.

“What we're proposing today would actually be a two-step step process for remote verification which actually provides more safety for the registration of the account,” Sightline co-CEO Omer Sattar told gaming commissioners.

Prior to the change, casino customers had to appear in person at a casino to verify their identity with a casino employee before setting up a cashless wagering account. Sattar said the process was often “cumbersome” and “time-consuming.”

He said the remote registration process follows all the “know your customer” guidelines provided by federal anti-money laundering regulators.

“We actually think the system is more safe, more secure, but it makes it easier for the vast majority of consumers to actually try real cashless chains in the state of Nevada,” Sattar said.

He said the system could be in place by early March.

Sightline handles the payment process systems for casinos nationwide and is involved in the cashless gaming technology at Resorts World Las Vegas and nine Boyd Gaming properties in the Las Vegas area.

The regulation change is just for cashless wagering in casinos. The language does not change Nevada’s requirements that a customer must visit a casino’s retail sportsbook to open a mobile sports betting account.

Gaming Commissioner Ogonna Brown asked why remote sports betting registration wasn’t included. Sattar responded that Nevada has “hundreds of casinos” where operators have invested billions of dollars in their physical building.

“We want people to come to our casinos and avail themselves of all of that,” he said.

Sattar told the commission Nevada could be setting a trend for casinos around the country.

“We believe what is built and deployed here and gets replicated, really all over the country,” Sattar said.

A potential roadblock to the regulation change was removed in December when an attorney representing Station Casinos said language coupling a government-issued ID with remote verification was a proper method to avoid any violation of federal anti-money laundering laws.

In December, Deputy Attorney General Michael Somps said he didn’t see any conflict with federal law after reviewing procedures developed by federal anti-money laundering regulators.

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