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Cashless Gaming on Carnival: Pros and Cons

Carnival Magic in the Bahamas
Written by Joshua

I am now on my second Carnival cruise and one thing that has been interesting to work with is their cashless gaming system.

Like Royal Caribbean, you are able to charge fund to your room and have them appear directly on the slot. However, when you cash out of a machine, that money then goes into a bank for you to withdraw on the next machine or at whatever point go to the cashier to cash out.

Your bank also lets you withdraw money without a fee at the tables, another nice and helpful perk.

The idea of not losing tickets is nice, of course, but the system is not flawless. On occasion the game fails to transfer the money to your account on the first attempt, and you have to pay close attention and try again.

More frustrating for me is the number of steps you must take to transfer from your bank. This is the process:

  • Choose your bank
  • If you have free play, it will ask if you want to use free play or pull from your bank. Clearing out your free play first will save you this step.
  • It will ask if you want your whole bank in the machine or a smaller number.
  • If a smaller number, pick from preset options or pick other and then type in the amount and hit enter.
  • Then enter a four digit pin and hit enter.

Now presume the screens you are doing this on, those small players card screens, are not well calibrated, which has been the case for some of the games I have played.

This process can take a minute or more in some cases I have seen, which is not helpful at all if you like to jump around games.

If you bring cash on board you can skip all these steps by just inserting a bill. But if you win and opt to cash out of the machine, you will of course have to either use the bank to retrieve the money on another machine or get it from the cashier, which may ultimately be easier for cash-centric players to do daily.

I realize the benefits of cashless but cannot help but think there needs to be an easier way. If a player cumulatively on a casino trip plays 30 machines that is potentially a half hour of their visit fumbling through these steps instead of actually playing.

Imagine withdrawal presets based on your history instead of just hard-coded numbers. Imagine your phone as a way to authenticate you instead of a four digit PIN. Over time these steps can remove hurdles and bring the step count down, reducing friction and making the tools more productive.

In an industry where time on device matters this cannot be the best we can do. But despite the issues, I can see the benefits and hope they can continue to refine the process in ways where we can press less buttons getting our cash and more buttons on the game itself wagering and playing.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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