Sightline Payments has filed a federal lawsuit against Everi Holdings claiming its competitor in the cashless gaming market infringed on five patents it holds.
According to the complaint, which was last Thursday in US District Court in the Western District of Texas, Sightline alleges Everi promoted its CashClub Wallet as one of the products it was showcasing at this week’s Global Gaming Expo. In a press release a day prior to the filing, Everi touted its solution as “the most widely deployed land-based digital gaming wallet in the U.S., and the market’s only fully-integrated, multi-property, multi-jurisdictional, system-agnostic, solution.”
Everi’s Gaming Headquarters is based in Austin, Texas, which is located in the district.
Everi said the technology is slated to be in 16 commercial and tribal casinos by the end of October and almost 30 by the end of the year. In August, Penn National Gaming said it would install CashClub Wallet at its new Hollywood Casino in York, Penn. It would be the third Penn National casino to implement the technology.
CashClub Wallet was introduced last December at the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma. A day after the announcement, Everi’s stock jumped by $1.94 per share the next day to close at $13.34. Nearly 5.8 million shares were traded that day, a volume that has not been topped since.
The company’s stock has seen its value nearly double in the 10 months since.
Sightline Says Patents Date Back to 2014
In the lawsuit, Sightline claims Everi’s product “relies on systems and methods that are capable of administration of non-wagering accounts with gaming environments and association of balance transfers with gaming environments.”
From April 2014 to October 2017, Sightline co-founders Kirk Sanford, Thomas Sears, and Omer Sattar received patents for the technology behind the company’s system. The Las Vegas-based company owns all five patents, and they are used in a variety of products. That includes Play+, which was the cashless gaming solution Resorts World selected for its Las Vegas resort that opened in June.
Resorts World Las Vegas is one of nine casinos utilizing Play+. In addition, 71 digital programs also use the technology.
After Everi rolled out its solution, Sightline asked its intellectual property attorneys to review the competitor’s product. The company said it found at least five infringements.
Sightline is an innovator within the gaming industry which is clear through our extensive patent portfolio,” Sightline Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Carleton said in a statement to Casino.org. “We will vigorously defend our intellectual property against any infringements.”
The plaintiff seeks a jury trial and judgments for damages and supplemental damages, including unlimited pre-judgment and post-judgment interests.
A message to Everi seeking comment was not immediately returned Tuesday evening.
Emergence of Cashless Gaming
The lawsuit comes at a time when the gaming industry is pushing the technology as a way the gaming industry can modernize to the benefit of both players and the casinos.
“By allowing a player to connect to their financial institutions, payment options, and casino game systems in single mobile device platform, players have no need to engage a casino counter or machine for cash access,” Sightline explains in its complaint. “Casinos thus benefit from maintaining the same or lesser amounts of cash as they did prior to the inventions of the Asserted Patents but with less capital outlay on purchasing, repairing, and replacing cash advance machines, (ticket-in, ticket-out) machines, and other costly equipment.”
It grew in significance last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic as gaming operators also saw the benefits of reducing physical contact between patrons and employees.
Last year, as casinos were reopening after being closed for months due to the health emergency, 57 percent of people in an American Gaming Association June 2020 survey said they considered contactless or digital transactions on the casino floor to be important because of COVID-19. In addition, 54 percent said they would be highly likely to use such technology when they gamble.
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