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Ask the Slot Expert: Cashless Gaming at Slot Machines, Part Deux

27 October 2021

I took my relationship with cashless gaming at slot machines to the next level. Last week I had created my STN Cash (Stations Cash) account and discovered that once you had a cashless account linked to your player card, anytime you cashed out with your player card in the reader, your credits go to your cashless account -- even if you didn't use the STN Cash app to put money on the machine. The machine does not print a ticket.

Surprise! They didn't mention that when I completed creating the account at the cage. In all fairness, the system is in "soft-opening" mode. You can learn about it by searching for the text on the stickers on the machine. The website lets you register for an account and the folks at the cage will complete the account setup, but the casino hasn't begun promoting the system yet. There are no brochures about the system yet.

The next step for me was to add a bank account to my STN Cash account and transfer some money into my casino account using the STN Cash app on my phone. You add the bank account in the usual way by entering the Routing and Account Numbers. The only inconvenience was that the textboxes were password-type textboxes that change your input to asterisks and there was no eyeball icon to reveal what you had typed.

After I submitted my bank account information, the app said that my bank account was now linked and I could transfer money to or from it. The folks at the cage warned me that the name and address on my STN Cash account and bank account had to match to be able to link the accounts. Remember when you had to verify the amounts of test deposits to prove you owned the account you were trying to link to a system?

I then successfully transferred money from my bank account to my STN Cash account.

The next day I tried using the app to fund my play at a machine. I used the Connect button in the app to connect the app to the machine (using Bluetooth). This is the same procedure as the Cardless Connect system that Stations introduced a few years ago. I used Cardless Connect often when it was first introduced, but I went back to using my player card because inserting the card was faster than waiting for the Cardless Connect app to connect to the machine. I never saw anyone else use Cardless Connect. Being able to access my STN Cash account now makes waiting the few extra seconds worthwhile.

After connecting, I pressed the button in the app to transfer cash to the machine. After entering the amount, both the app and the machine said there was a transfer in process. After a few seconds, I had credits on the machine.

There are three ways to transfer money from a machine to your STN Cash account. Last week I inadvertently used the first way: hitting the Cash Out button. This week I used the second way: hitting the Disconnect button in the app. After I pressed it, the machine again said that a transfer was in progress. After a few seconds, the credits on the machine were gone, my STN Cash account balanced had increased, and the player card display again indicated that no player card was in use.

The third way to transfer money out of a machine is to get up and walk away. Once the Bluetooth connection is broken, the system will transfer your credits to your STN Cash account and do a card out in the slot club subsystem.

I think this feature is best used as a safety. If you forget to transfer money out of a machine, the system will eventually do it for you. Instead of your money being vulnerable until you realize you didn't cash out and run back to get it, it's vulnerable only for how long it takes for you to get out of range.

How far is that? I don't know. I've never tested it. I searched for ways to limit Bluetooth range and 99% of the results were about how to maximize the range. But there were a few results that discussed how you could decrease the range. I'll test how far away I can get before the connection is dropped sometime.

I'm going to guess about 10 feet, close enough that you can still see if someone sat down at the machine.

But come to think of it, even if someone did try to appropriate your credits, you're still 99% safe. Once you're out of Bluetooth range and your phone and the machine disconnect, the credits will go back to your account. If the wannabe thief hits the Cash Out button, the credits will go back to your account. The only thing they can do is play the credits -- and maybe they might be lucky!


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John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots