Resorts World's high-tech poker room will be a leap forward for U.S. casinos

Jon Pill
Posted on: June 17, 2021 11:01 PDT

Resorts World Las Vegas continues to drip-feed us details about its grand opening next week. The latest news suggests that the company is bringing the Vegas casino experience up to date. It is touting its range of cashless systems and smart tables that will extend to the poker room. There will also be a mobile sports betting app, so you can play the gees without interrupting your mid-tourney massage.

Some of these advances are more impressive than others.

The option to go cashless is pretty standard in Western Europe and Canada. This is because of the ubiquity of contactless credit and debit cards in countries that have modern financial infrastructures. The U.S., on the other hand, still lags behind in this regard.

In fact, Vegas is still only just beginning to get comfortable with the 18-year-old technology of chip and PIN.

How the cashless poker room will work

The cashless systems at Resorts World will seem unnecessarily arcane to overseas visitors. Instead of just tapping their card on a reader, players will need to get a Resorts World-specific digital wallet called GamingPlay.

The GamingPlay system is based on the Synkros casino management system put out by Konami.

"When Resorts World Las Vegas and Konami Gaming first launched an official partnership at the start of 2020, we set out to reinvent the hospitality experience in Las Vegas," Tom Jingoli, President and CEO of Konami Gaming, told the press. "[We're] bringing seamless interaction, leading-edge convenience, personalized engagement, and catered service to every guest touchpoint."

Once set up with Konami's GamingPlay, players will need to load up their digital wallet. They can do this one of three ways. Players can deposit cash to their card at a dedicated kiosk on site. They can also deposit by cash or card at a player services desk. The third and most convoluted option involves signing up with Play+. Play+ is an additional third-party site that will allow players to complete an online transfer to their GamingPlay wallet. Play+ supports deposits from banks, credit cards, and debit cards.

Resorts World also says you can deposit from Paypal to Play+. But given Paypal's track record on gambling transactions, most players will want to steer clear of that option.

The cashless options will be available casino-wide, not just in the poker room.

Smart chips and dumb chairs

There will be a number of smart tables in play. These smart tables will not appear significantly different to the player. However, under the baize, they will contain sensors. These sensors will keep track of every chip on the table, thanks to RFID chips embedded in each poker chip.

Resorts World stresses the additional security smart tables will provide. But poker players will note that this kind of tech is excellent for operating a cash-poker live-broadcast. RFID chips make tracking players' bets much simpler and can be used to automate some of the graphics on the stream.

Resorts World hasn't specified how smart tables will affect players' interactions while they are at the table. The information may just be used behind the scenes to collect player data.

IGT, better known for its slot machines, will be providing sportsbook services. While there will be a physical location to place your bets, IGT's PlaySports system will also be available as an app.

Enrico Drago, a senior VP at IGT PlayDigital said: "IGT will help the Resorts World Las Vegas team maximize the full potential of their PlaySports-powered retail and mobile sportsbooks, engage sports fans, and capture growth opportunities within one of the highest-volume sports betting markets in the US."

He added that "Powering sports betting at a Las Vegas Strip casino is another milestone achievement for IGT PlaySports."

We will no doubt find out more as Genting continues to let things slip ahead of the big opening.

Featured image source: Flickr by Ron Mader