Clarifying the Confusion: PSA and Plaza Casino Trading Card Vending Machine

PSA and Plaza Casino's trading card vending machine
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Amid confusion, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the largest grader of trading cards, is bringing clarity to the situation surrounding a vending machine at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. The machine at the casino hotel and others like them are not owned by the grading company, but the one at the Plaza sported significant PSA branding, causing confusion among customers.

“This machine, however, is not owned, operated, or controlled by PSA in any capacity. Despite this, this third party’s test run of their machine has unfortunately created some confusion as to PSA’s involvement,” said the company in a recent post on X (formerly Twitter). “We are working with the vendor in real-time to adapt the look and feel of these machines to feature less-prominent PSA branding and/or make it clearer that they own and operate these machines, not PSA.”

The vending machine at the Plaza and others like them are owned and operated by PSA licensed dealers. The machine is said to be located at the back of the casino near the sportsbook.

Casino: An Appropriate Place for a Trading Card Vending Machine

Arguably, a casino is an appropriate venue for a trading card vending machine because customers are essentially making bets. In the case of the machine located at the Plaza, a $50 “minimum bet” is required with customers guaranteed of getting a PSA 10 — the company’s highest grade — Pokémon or sports card along with a group of other ungraded cards.

Trading cards fluctuate in value, so it’s possible that buyers using the vending machine can come out ahead or behind on their initial $50 “investments.” Such price action is also a long-term phenomenon in trading cards, meaning buyers can experience appreciation or loss over months and years.

Specific to the machine at the Plaza, there are some reports of minor successes with buyers noting they’ve won Pokémon cards graded PSA 10 valued at $35 to $45. Two weeks ago, a Reddit user posted a video claiming he pulled two Pokémon cards from the Plaza vending machine worth $50 apiece, doubling his initial “pull” of $50.

Who Is Cannon Rock?

Cannon Rock LLC is the operator of the vending machine at Plaza, and reports have surfaced that PSA is still working with the company while attempting to correct some of the branding missteps that caused confusion with the device at the downtown Las Vegas gaming venue.

“Cannon Rock Incorporated (CRI) is a worldwide corporation specializing in automated retail solutions for the collectible industry. Our corporate partnerships with Nintendo, Pokémon, and DMVI have helped establish us as the fastest growing company in the automated retail space. With partners in Denmark, Japan, Canada, Germany, & various states throughout the USA, we’re working diligently to innovatively bring our products to customers throughout the world,” according to the firm’s LinkedIn page.

The firm was founded in 2021, according to LinkedIn. Pokémon authorized vending machines are found in seven states, but Nevada isn’t one, noted Pokémon Center.

PSA’s move to address the confusion surrounding its involvement with the Plaza Casino vending machine highlights the complexities that can arise with third-party operations and branding. It underscores the importance of clear communication and proper branding to avoid misleading customers, ensuring that they understand who is responsible for the products and services they are engaging with.