Kiosks for sports betting have been a significant factor in the success of the William Hill business model.
Similar kiosks are likely to start spreading soon to other types of sportsbooks, too.
The Stratosphere is entering the final stages of a field test with a kiosk for Stadium Technology Group, a system that is used to take bets by numerous sportsbooks in Nevada. The trial, which started nearly two months ago, should be completed in a couple of weeks. The Gaming Control Board will then decide whether to approve it for use by others.
“I can’t imagine it not passing,” said Ed Malinowski, the race and sports director at the Stratosphere. “The functionality is great. We’re really happy with it so far. “I think it’s a no-brainer to pass.”
You pump gas yourself. You check-out at the grocery store yourself. You check in for your flight at the airport yourself. The sports-betting kiosk, obviously, was inevitable. It’s just going to happen sooner rather than later based on the success of this field test.
“It’s a sign of the times,” Malinowski said.
Malinowski expects four of Golden Entertainment’s casinos in Nevada – the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and the Aquarius resort in Laughlin – eventually to have at least one or two of these kiosks in their books.
The sports kiosks are similar to what has been used to bet at some horse tracks for a while now.
“There’s still a learning curve (for customers), but for the people who have used it and use it again, it’s very easy,” Malinowski said. “You see the same people going back to it.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory. It walks you through it. You want to bet sports, you hit sports. You want to bet the Yankees, hit Yankees.”
The kiosk being tested at the Stratosphere currently allows bettors to wager on both race and sports, including parlay cards. The maximum amount to place a bet or cash a ticket is for $500 during the trial. Bettors can put cash into the kiosk at the Stratosphere to make their wagers. They can also purchase vouchers in a selected amount either through the kiosk or from a ticket writer to use at the kiosk. A third option is to make a bet after cashing a winning ticket on the kiosk.
“It’s catching on now a little more,” Malinowski said. “The first week of the NFL, we saw a line equally as long there as at the windows (with ticket writers).”
The Gaming Control Board frequently monitors the machine’s effectiveness. The Stratosphere reports all issues to the board. Fortunately, there hasn’t been much to report.
“We had one 20-dollar bill get stuck in there,” Malinowski said. “The customer came to me and said, ‘I just put $20 in there and nothing happened. The reporting is excellent. It shows you (recent) transactions. I looked in the cash box. There was an extra $20 there. I gave it back to him. That was it. That was the extent of our issues.”