The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced it has agreed to consider a regulatory amendment that would enable remote verification of casino wagering accounts, excluding sports and pari-mutuel betting.
As reported by Las Vegas Review-Journal, after an hour-long workshop meeting on Thursday to review a petition submitted by subsidiaries of Las Vegas-based Sightline Payments, board members agreed to place the proposal on a future agenda.
The payments company had petitioned the board to make regulatory changes allowing casinos to verify the identity and fund wagering accounts of players without them having to appear in the casino. Under the proposed change, a player could download an app, sign up for a casino wagering account online, fund the account and begin playing in the casino, or make non gaming purchases having accelerated the verification process.
Sightline Co-CEO Joe Pappano said in a statement issued after the meeting: “Nevada has been a leader in cashless gaming, and we look forward to continued discussions that will enable us to provide Nevada residents and visitors to Nevada with the most innovative, safe, secure, compliant and responsible gaming experience in the United States”.
Casino companies have been on both sides of the remote sign-up debate involving sports betting. Proponents say the ease of signing up would generate more revenue while opponents want to keep the in-person verification because it requires all players to come into the casino at least once, raising the potential for additional gambling.
The conductor of the workshop meeting, Board member Phil Katsaros, deemed Sightline’s proposal as an encouragement of casino patronage as the accounts would be used to fund slot-machine and table-game plays as well as retail purchases at the casino.
Pappano said in the meeting that Sightline debuted its cashless wagering system at Boyd Gaming Corp’s Aliante property and introduced it at the opening of Resorts World Las Vegas in June, with customers required to get account verifications in person. He indicated research shows customers have the tolerance to wait three minutes for an account activation.
While the process was not a problem at Aliante, he said the interest was raised among people when Resorts World opened led to customers waiting on line for hours before they could gamble from their cashless accounts.
Other states allow off-site sign-ups and verification, particularly for sports wagering accounts. However, Sightline’s proposal in Nevada does not include remote sign-ups for sports wagering. Online sports betting companies point to New Jersey’s dominance of the industry as a reason why Nevada should not overhaul its rules involving wagering accounts to generate more revenue.
Omer Sattar, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightline, told board members that remote account verification can be made even more secure than by showing a government-issued ID card with knowledge-based authentication, or KBA.
With KBA, customers would be prompted to answer personal security questions, like “What is the name of the street you lived on when you were 16 years old?,” to verify their identity. Nonetheless, there is opposition to the proposed amendment.
Attorney Marc Rubinstein, representing Station Casinos Inc., said Sightline’s proposal could contradict federal anti-money laundering laws: “Federal anti-money laundering law requires that brick-and-mortar casinos utilize documentary methods of identity verification for on-premises gaming activities,” Rubinstein said in a Tuesday letter to board members”.
“Consequently, it would seem that the proposed amendments … are an invitation to approve a regulation change that would contravene federal law. For this reason, we believe the board should not have been asked to approve the proposed regulation amendments, the workshop should not proceed and the proposed regulation amendments should not be recommended by the board for action”, he wrote.