Almost-cashless gaming dips into debit, credit or checking

Nov 27, 2007 5:47 AM

It’s not quite cashless gaming but it’s not far behind.

The system, developed by Cash Systems Inc. (CKNN), in a joint venture with Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI) and Scotch Twist, is called powercash and it has been introduced at a California tribal casino.

The company describes powercash thus: Once patrons have enrolled in the casino player’s club program with the company’s cashclub functionality they will be able to access funds from their desired credit, debit or checking accounts while sitting at the gaming device. Players will be able to request funds from the designated financial account, transfer those funds into their player’s club account and then transfer down to the gaming device the amount of money that they want to use.

Casino patrons will no longer have to worry about bringing cash to the casino with powercash, the company added.

"With Wednesday’s Go Live at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino," said Mike Rumbolz, Cash Systems Inc. CEO, "we have reached a major milestone in the development, approval and deployment of our new powercash gaming technology. The management team at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and the Bally Technologies System team were instrumental in the successful deployment of powercash."

The tribal casino is located in Indio, California, near Palm Springs.

Bid rejected

A bid by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) for a piece of the U.K.’s gaming giant Rank has been rejected, according to a newspaper report.

The company reportedly wanted to swap its own British casinos for a 28% stake in the enlarged Rank. Neither Harrah’s nor Rank spokesmen commented on the report by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

A recent ban on smoking reportedly has caused a major decline in Rank’s slot machine and bingo businesses.

Harrah’s, meanwhile, has experienced a hike in taxes on its casino profits, an unexpected turn of events since it acquired London Clubs International.

Another deal?

On the home front, Harrah’s reportedly is in discussions with Australia’s Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., a company owned by James Packer, for the sale of a Pennsylvania racino.

In a published report, an Australian newspaper said PBL is close to purchasing a major gaming location, believed to be Harrah’s Chester Racetrack and Casino in Chester, Penn., a facility that was opened earlier this year.

Just last week, shareholders in PBL, the largest of which is Packer, voted to split the company into two parts, media and gaming. The latter group will be under the Crown banner.

Crown reportedly also is looking at two other gaming ventures as possible acquisitions.

Bond increased

Better business has caused Leroy’s Horse and Sports Place, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Wagering Inc. (BETM) to increase its gaming reserves, according to a report filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company noted that a regulation of Nevada Gaming Commission requires the company to maintain reserves sufficient to cover any outstanding wagering liability, including unpaid winning tickets, future tickets and telephone account deposits.

As a result, the company has increased its reserves from the previous $3 million to $3.4 million.

THE INSIDER: Dealers at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut have voted 1,289 to 852 in favor of joining the United Auto Workers union. The issue is being disputed by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, owners of the casino.

Kevin DeSanctis’ Revel Entertainment has received environmental approval for its $2 billion development in Atlantic City. Foundation work is expected to get underway soon.

In Maryland, legislators have finally approved a referendum in November 2008 to decide whether it should copy adjoining states in permitting slot machine gambling.

Mount Airy Casino Resort has become Pennsylvania’s first hotel to feature a slots-only casino.

Foundation work has begun on the old Bethlehem Steel site in Bethlehem, Penn. which will become the Sands Bethworks Casino, to be operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS).

Dog racing opponents in Massachusetts say they have enough signatures to insure a statewide vote in November, 2008 on whether to ban the activity, thus putting in jeopardy the futures of Raynham and Wonderland dog tracks.

Mark Rubio, Florida House Speaker, has asked the state Supreme Court to block the recent gaming compact agreement between Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Indians.

Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. (UWN) has agreed to acquire the Horizon Casino and Hotel in Vickburg, Miss., for $35 million from privately-held Columbia Sussex Corp.