The Evolving Kiosk
Automated Currency Instruments
Not so long ago, casino floor kiosks offered limited functionality, serving mostly as cash or ticket handling machines. Today’s kiosks can provide that very vital function even more efficiently, and many provide other diverse functionality, from way finding to restaurant reservations to player rewards and more.
Casino operators are turning to kiosk solutions because of the products’ ability to provide services efficiently and to improve and enhance customer service and loyalty. What follows is a look at three companies’ different approaches to kiosk solutions.
Automated Currency Instruments’ Player Enrollment Kiosk
West Chester, Pa.-based Automated Currency Instruments offers its Player Enrollment Kiosk as a way for the casinos to assist their patrons to enroll into their Player Club Program quickly.
The Player Enrollment Kiosk gives the casino the ability to produce Player Club card replacements; Player Club self-enrollments; and the most comprehensive automated data collection, reconciliation and reporting system offered by any kiosk vendor via the ACI The Player Enrollment Kiosk (PEK) is a way for the casinos to streamline the Player Club self-enrollment or card replacement. This concept allows casinos to have patrons move to the gaming floor quicker, according to Automated Currency Instruments.
The PEK Kiosk also has the ability to integrate with strategic marketing initiatives and promotional activities. The kiosk may be tailored to have patrons visit certain areas during their stay through videos or promote upcoming events at the casino.
The product recently earned a spot on Casino Journal’s list of the Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products for 2010. One contest judge said he planned to look into getting a few of the kiosks for his floor.
“This is a good product for those casinos that do not have the IT wherewithal to develop player’s club kiosks in-house,” another wrote in his review of the product. “This looks like a good, fundamental player’s club kiosk product.”
Casino Data Imaging's iGuide Wayfinder Plus
Las Vegas-based Casino Data Imaging created the iGuide Wayfinder Plus to offer a kiosk with way-finding capabilities not found elsewhere.
“With our company, we try to create our own niche in different products. There are plenty of companies doing the kiosk. The approach that we took was that we keyed in on the way finding,” said George Levine, executive director of sales and marketing for Casino Data Imaging.
Casino Data Imaging’s iGuide offers dynamic mapping, a feature-rich user interface and a story board that does not confuse users but offers instant recognition. “We understand that there’s got to be something unique to keep that customer at the kiosk,” Levine said. “They know right away when they come up to that kiosk, they’ll see that they can touch it and things happen.”
“It’s a digitized map, but it’s active, and they’ll see animations and selections that they can make,” he said.
Within the “live map” default screen, the customer can immediately touch any landmark to call up an avatar “guide.” In addition to finding favorite restaurants or other casino amenity, the product also allows patrons to search for their favorite slot machine, by denomination, game logo and keyboard search entry. Touching the game theme will call up the avatar and guide a player to the machine location.
“It’s very centric about finding the games,” Levine said, noting casinos could use it to promote certain games to the customer.
The product also includes advertising windows in the program that casino operators could use as they choose to, Levine said. “I think that’s going to be up to the casinos how they want to work that,” he said.
The iGuide was named to Casino Journal’s Top 20 list for Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products for 2009. “As casinos get larger, it becomes increasingly difficult for customers to find their way or to find amenities or features,” one judge said. “This product does it in as intuitive a way as I have yet seen.”
The product is in use at Black Oak Casino in central California, and Levine said he expects it to be deployed in the near future at a Southern California casino and at a casino in the Midwest.
Micro Gaming Technologies' casino promotions software
For Las Vegas-based Micro Gaming Technologies, “The primary focus for us is less time in line, more time on device,” said Travis Carrico, vice president of marketing and sales, Micro Gaming Technologies (MGT), which designs and develops software to automate, track and report casino promotions. Its software applications interface bi-directionally with existing player tracking system and a touch-screen kiosk.
“We’re showing how to turn the kiosk into an employee,” Carrico said in an interview during NIGA’s Indian Gaming 2011 show. MGT’s software can collect emails and cell phone numbers for marketing purposes, along with offering self-redemption and electronic drawing services for players. “One convenience for the player is they don’t have to stand in line at the club booth,” Carrico said. “They can self-serve comps; they can self-serve their promotions that are going on in the casino.”
So, he said, if the marketing department decides to designate Mondays as Senior Days, and offer a free buffet to players of a certain age who put 50 points on their card, “instead of standing in line and having the player club look up your age, look up how many points you earned today, when you swipe your card at the kiosk, it does it for you in just seconds and populates the offer for the player.”
“You increase the guest satisfaction because they don’t like standing in line – they came to gamble, eat or drink and because they’ve spent less time in line, you’ve given them more time to gamble,” Carrico said.
Currently, MGT’s products are in use in some 85 casinos, and Carrico said that number soon will jump to 102, once new contracts are fulfilled. Interest has been strong in the product, but jumped in particular once the recession hit, he said.
The learning curve does not take long. “What we see happening when it’s first implemented is the first few days, you have some staff who are kind of assisting, and then after a couple of days go by, you’ll see the customers helping other customers,” he said.
“The nice thing about the electronic prizes is we’re a real-time interface with the player tracking system,” he said. “It’s real-time evaluation of what that player is worth.”
That means, the casino can offer an electronic prize that’s appropriate for that player’s worth. MGT delivers the offer in the form of an entertaining game. “Basically like Class ii gaming is using the video reels to play electronic bingo, we’re taking the offers and using a game to disguise those offers so the game becomes the play and the prize is predetermined.”
Players enjoy the convenience and the interactions with the games that are in MGT’s library of more than 50 games, including many developed with casino clients. “The prizes can be predetermined because they’re not making any wager at the kiosk. It’s a reward. It’s an offer. And you’re giving them an entertaining experience through the game,” Carrico said.
Count Eileen Duffin, director of marketing at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Mich., among many casino operator believers.
“We have clearly seen effective results. It has played a pivotal role in our marketing mix,” Duffin said.
Getting rid of long lines at the player’s club booth was invaluable, she said.
“Nobody likes lines at a casino. When they’re standing on the line, they’re grumpy and we don’t want anybody grumpy at our resort,” she said.
The kiosk product is easy for players to use and understand, Duffin said. “Our guests adopted the technology very easily. Once they trusted the system and the technology, they never looked back,” she said.
Duffin praised MGT’s edraw system as “so incredibly simple and hassle-free.”
“By swiping their card, they earn entries, and on the day of the drawing, once they check in by swiping their card at the kiosk, they’re in. We can also conduct drawings for our VIP segment that only they can participate in,” Duffin said. SlotManager