• An improved recognition system, which provides proactive security by utilizing transmissive sensors to see all the way through notes in multiple wavelengths.
• Faster bill-to-bill speed, which will upgrade the player experience and speed up transactions to expand throughput.
• Expanded memory, which will limit part numbers and submissions by allowing more notes to be recognized in a specific release of firmware.
• Comprehensive barcode recognition, which processes barcode coupons in all four directions and improves acceptance on multi-width currencies.
• Upgrade to USB 2.0, which speeds up communications with the host machine and even potentially expands functionality.
Because these enhancements are localized to the acceptor head, the next generation product can work hand-in-hand with legacy CASHFLOW SC units already in the field, according to company literature. This capability is facilitated by intelligent support tools that will be able to sense the product version and provide the appropriate software.
“It was very important for us to reward past investment in CASHFLOW SC by creating a new product that can operate in concert with the existing field base,” said Tom Nugent, executive vice president, MEI, at the time of the new product release. “This is consistent with our focus on adding value by lowering our customers’ operational costs and helping them to maximize precious capital.”
The next generation CASHFLOW SC is not only compatible with previous versions, but also with product extensions that have expanded the reach of bill acceptors from the slot machine to the entire cash management process, such as the company’s EASITRAX Soft Count product, which has built an installed base over 50,000 games in 18 months by improving efficiencies associated with the cash drop process.
The improved MEI products immediately found a home at the Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Gallup, N.M., which installed CASFLOW SC bill validators and EASITRAX Soft Count across its entire slot floor. EASITRAX places information collected in the CASHFLOW SC bill validator into a database that can be networked to multiple locations and accessed to analyze slot floor performance.
“We are thrilled to have EASITRAX Soft Count on our floor,” said Paul Hamm, casino slot manager for Fire Rock Navajo Casino. “We have been able to drop our whole floor in less than five hours instead of the multiple drops it took before we fully implemented the system, freeing up the majority of our drop team members and technicians time.”
While most bill validator suppliers seek market differentiation through unique technological offerings, one company has taken a slightly different product development approach-using technology to create a device that can be used by any casino anywhere. Canada-based CashCode, a subsidiary of Crane Companies, believes its CashCode one banknote validator is the most versatile acceptor on the market, capable of handling any protocol, any interface at any voltage for a truly universal solution. With its universal FrontLoad platform, the CashCode one is offered in one universal design regardless of the country, currency or protocol, reducing logistic and support costs to OEMs, while improving overall performance and reliability. The product also offers 62 to 85 mm multi-width acceptance, a validation rate of 98 percent on first bill and ticket insertion, a universal sensor set, a four-way bill/barcode insertion acceptance, USB connectivity, an anti-stringing sensor, a less than three-second stacking speed, an optional 600- or 1,000-note lockable drop-proof cassette, Smart Stick for software updates, a “clamshell” design for easy bill path access, and a wide variety of gaming-specific bezels.
CHECKING INBill validators are not the only cash handling products to undergo a technological evolution. Check validation and cashing systems have also rode the technology wave to new heights of product efficiency and usefulness.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Certegy, part of the FIS family of banking and payment technology companies, is constantly upgrading its Check Warranty and Risk Management Services used by casinos to enable patrons to access funds from their checking accounts in a safe, secure and efficient manner.
“Certegy ensures that the most technologically advanced features are incorporated within its products,” said William C. Roese, senior vice president of payments fraud and retail payments solutions for Certegy. “We also invested in upgrades to its architecture over the last two years providing multiple transaction paths and full redundancy between multiple data centers increasing the availability and ensuring greater up time.”
Certegy’s E-Check program allows patrons to process transactions without the need to carry a checkbook in a casino. Once enrolled with a check cashing limit and an E-Check account, the casino operator can complete a transaction within few seconds using the Certegy ECAGE application, which supports a comprehensive suite of check cashing services that are specially designed for the gaming industry. The E-Check program also has an Electronic Signature Capture feature providing added efficiencies for completing transactions at the cage. Balancing the drawer is an easy process with the ECAGE reports suite and with electronic settlement of the check transactions.
The check cashing kiosk option allows for the Certegy check cashing application to be incorporated on ticket redemption kiosks on the casino floor, adding convenience for the patron while reducing lines at the cage. Transactions processed at the kiosk will leverage the existing check cashing limit and E-Check account that was enrolled previously at the cage. Casino guests can process their own transactions at the kiosk with simple screen flows, and receive cash in seconds.
Certegy’s E-Connect Gateway interface has enabled other Cash Access partners to leverage Certegy’s Risk Management and Check Cashing Decision systems, allowing for integrated cage solutions on virtually any platform. Casinos have the option of utilizing the Certegy proprietary ECAGE system or an integrated platform with a Certegy Cash Access partner.
Upcoming iterations of Certegy’s products will include technology solutions aimed at providing automation and decision analytics within the casino in-house marker system. The company is also developing additional settlement solutions to include the ability to defer settlement on transactions processed, according to Roese.
As for the check cashing and validation market as a whole, Roese believes it is heading towards greater automation and integration within systems. “Therefore an integration of financial services directly into gaming devices should result in a better experience for the guest and bring efficiency to the operator,” he said. “Additionally, mobile financial services are an emerging market and therefore its integration into cage POS applications, as well as into gaming systems, should be the trend moving forward.”
Las Vegas-based NEWave is another company looking to integrate advanced technologies into its payroll and government check cashing and validation products. The latest version of this product is now cloud capable, with a database and applications that can either be housed at NEWave or inside the customer’s firewall in their own internal cloud, according to Bart Lewin, chief executive and technology officer for the company.
NEWave’s check cashing technology relies on digital imaging. A copy of the check is quickly scanned and digitally recorded. It is then run against a database of accepted checks and personal IDs to determine if it is legitimate or fake. Business rules are also run against the database on items such as check numbers-if the same number is repeated in two different checks, chances are there is something less than kosher about the document. The whole process takes 30 seconds or so.
“We apply business rules and make it easy for the cashier to determine whether the check is good or not,” Lewin said. “Our product can catch counterfeiters of payroll checks… There are whole rings out there devoted to passing these bad checks.”