Cashless Is King At Northern California’s Sky River Casino

Written By Hill Kerby on October 14, 2022 - Last Updated on November 2, 2022
Sky River all in on cashless casino concept

Elk Grove’s Sky River Casino has been open for barely two months. And it’s already blazing trails that established casinos will soon be following.

Sky River opened on Aug. 15, weeks ahead of September estimates, and has stayed busy since opening. The Wilton Rancheria Tribe owns the property, while Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming manages and operates it.

The casino recently announced a partnership with Konami Gaming, Inc. and Everi Holdings Inc. to bring cashless options to its guests by using Everi’s digital CashClub Wallet in conjunction with Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system.

In addition to gameplay, cashless options will extend to payments, loyalty and rewards. The aim is to create an integrated and seamless experience for guests throughout the Northern California casino.

Cashless options help to enhance experience

“It is incredibly impressive to see the historic opening of Sky River Casino made even larger by an industry-leading technology approach,” said Tom Jingoli, executive vice president & chief operating officer at Konami Gaming.

Cashless options include digital, mobile and contactless payments, all of which guests can use across Sky River’s 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games and 17 restaurants. Cash and traditional credit cards are still welcome, too.

However, much of our world is becoming cashless. Casinos were bound to follow. Like most casino resorts, Sky River wants to enhance guest experience any way it can. Sky River President and COO Chris Gibase believes technology plays a vital role in that at the Northern California casino.

“At Sky River, we have dedicated significant attention to creating memorable experiences for guests. By investing in cutting-edge cashless technology that brings convenience and innovation to payments, loyalty, and rewards, Sky River allows guests to focus on the entertainment, using whichever touchpoints they prefer.”

Technology aids customers and casino

Konami’s SYNKROS systems help casinos in a variety of ways:

  • Marketing campaigns, including progressive bonuses and other giveaways
  • Guests’ gambling (and non-gambling) activity on the property
  • Rating players who play table games
  • Slot machine analytics by game, denomination and patron
  • Managing all financial transactions, including cash, chips, credit and vault operations
  • High-level business analytics and reporting
  • Legal compliance around Anti-Money Laundering

Meanwhile, Everi’s CashClub Wallet is at the forefront of cashless payments solutions. It allows customers to store credit and debit cards in one place securely.

Sky River guests can connect to their digital wallets to add funds and see available rewards and entertainment options. Once integrated, SYNKROS can utilize all of Everi’s data around where guests spend their time to optimize the guest experience as well as the casino’s operations and bottom line.

Staying ahead of the competition

In addition to Sky River, three other Northern California casinos recently teamed up with tech giants Oracle and OPTX to install digital-based casino management solutions to improve guest offerings.

Feather Falls Casino and Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino are using Oracle’s cloud-based solutions to create personalized, comprehensive guest profiles and ultimately drive repeat customers. MGM Resorts International and Circa Casinos also utilize these technologies.

The third casino, Red Hawk, is located less than an hour from Sky River. Its partnership with OPTX will allow it to optimize its casino floor and operational functionality between departments. And all while increasing revenue and guest satisfaction opportunities.

Sports betting is likely on hold

Partnerships between casinos and tech companies will likely become the norm as the casino industry continues to grow. As for California, additional partnerships in the form of out-of-state sportsbooks look like they will stay on hold.

A month out from the election, polls suggest voters will reject both California sports betting propositions. While tribes will likely keep out-of-state sportsbooks out of California for now, they also lack enough support to pass their own initiative. That means we will probably see a similar battle in 2024.

In the meantime, legal sports betting would remain on the sidelines, as would the possible billions of dollars in revenue from it.

That might not be the worst thing for a tribe like the Wilton Rancheria, experiencing a boon from its new resort, which it’s calling “Sac Vegas.”

Sky River has actual Vegas ties, too, through Boyd Gaming, giving it a leg up over many other casinos throughout the state. Without companies like DraftKings and FanDuel entering the state and investing in the competition, smaller casinos may be unable to leverage technology in the same way.

Photo by Sky River Casino
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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