Casinos have long been a labor intense business built around customer service. But to trim operating costs and thus pad the bottom line, more and more gaming properties have turned new labor- and time-saving technologies and products.
However, while reducing the need for labor, casinos have to maintain the level of customer service patrons expect; which means these new technologies that are becoming an increasing part of the casino’s face to the customer have to be made user friendly.
Enter the modern kiosk that is not only assuming some of the on-premises tasks involving financial transactions, but is also becoming a multi-functional promotional tool that provides a host of customer-oriented services.
For example, the first thing customers need to begin playing in modern casinos is the type of currency now accepted by slot machines. A decade ago, slots ran on coins, and casinos had to deal with emptying machines of excess coins, filling hoppers so that jackpot payments could continue to be made after big payouts, and maintaining floor personnel to keep players stocked with coins.
Casinos have mostly jettisoned these labor intense chores in favor of slots that accept banknotes or run on tickets or cash-storing player’s cards. But customers still have coins and Cummins-Allison Corp., Mount Prospect, Ill., offers a self-service kiosk that enables them to convert their coins into the currency slots now require.
The Cummins Money Machine offers the same speed, accuracy and reliability as the company’s larger coin and banknote processing machines. Placed at the perimeter of the casino floor, customers can bring in coins, feed them into the machine themselves, and have the coins instantly converted into banknotes or a ticket that can be redeemed at a cashier station or fed into a slot machine. And an animated CoinMax character (a penny with arms and legs) directs customers through the process and shows the processing progress as the digital value on the machine grows larger.
“This machine has proven popular as it processes coins at a high rate of speed, thus saving customers time saves time standing in line at a teller’s cage,” said Shane Murphy, senior director of corporate accounts at Cummins-Allison.
There also is entertainment value in the Money Machine. “People like to watch it work,” Murphy noted.
“These self-service coin counters can be a differentiator that attracts customers to your casino,” Murphy added. “People always have coins lying around the house. If you have these kiosks, they can make you a destination. And once your customers have converted their coins into larger denomination bills, they are likely to spend them in your casino over what they originally budgeted for the trip.”.
MORE THAN AN ATMGoing beyond coins, the SK-100A kiosk from Glory USA, East Caldwell, N.J. is an easy-to-operate yet cutting-edge device that provides customers with fast and accurate cash dispensing, TITO tickets, bill-breaking and ATM functionality. With five currency cassettes with 3,000 note capacity and Web browser-based accounting, administration and monitoring capacities, the SK-100A enables casinos to improve productivity while reducing errors.
Features of this kiosk include providing instantaneous e-mail alerts when a bill cassette is empty so casino personnel can refill it promptly. Settings and functions can be set remotely, including shutting the kiosk down when necessary.
Like its sister product SK-100, the SK-100A was engineered to meet the special needs of casinos. Rather than build off an existing ATM device, Glory USA contacted floor managers and cage personnel. As a result, the kiosk keeps track of all transactions that can be exported machines for instant reports on on-the-floor action. It can be set to archive information. And the system also can be accessed through the Internet by personnel with the proper codes and clearances.
The SK-100A also takes advantage of the latest technological trends including offering greater network connectivity, social media, wireless communication, and the continuing digitalization of the money stream. It can perform almost any task that impacts the handling and management of cash.
INTEGRATED ADVANTAGEThe MGT Promotional Intelligence Suite is a collection of integrated computer applications for advanced kiosk and player tracking marketing tools. Originally created in 2000 for casinos by casino staffers rather than software writers, this suite has evolved over the years into a package that enables the casino operators to personalized promotions to the player based on their up-to-the-second gaming activity.
According to Travis Carrico, sales and marketing vice president at Las Vegas-based MGT Inc., casino marketing departments can use MGT Promo to easily create and setup virtually any type of promotion. Options include electronic drawings, scratch cards, swipe-to-win, new member bonuses, bounce backs, age or other demographic based promotions as well as promotions for specific groups of players.
MGT Promo operates through an interface to the casino’s player tracking system and touch screen kiosks. When patrons swipes their players card at the kiosk, the system instantly evaluates the player and determines the right reward from a prize matrix based on the reinvestment rate that was predefined for the individual patron’s gaming activity in the setup of the promotion. It can then immediately print a coupon; electronically post points, comps or free play back to the player’s account as well as issue electronic drawing entries, drawing entry multipliers, and point multipliers, Carrico explained.
MGT Promo is a complete technological solution to common casino marketing practices rather than a collection of pre-packaged promotions or a single-themed promotion. This open-ended application gives casino management the power to create unlimited and customized promotions. Whether a promotion has one or several rules, the system will deliver the promotion quickly and accurately, he said.
“The kiosk software knows every player in your database, comes to work on time, and follows your rules every time,” Carrico noted. MGT Promo is currently running in more than 100 casinos in 24 states and has issued millions of prizes and rewards to casino players, he added.
REEL CHANGEUsing the Reel-TV system, idle slot machines becomes a kiosk. The server-based system enables casino operators to display advertising and promotions on the video screen of slot machines not currently being used by customers.
According to Las Vegas-based Reel TV principal Keith Atkinson, those casinos already using the system are enjoying extra revenue displaying ads for name-brand products, on-premises and outside entertainment and stage shows, and on-site restaurants, lounges and shops.
With the Slot Concierge program, the video screen also offers a broad selection of customer services. Slot players can by double tapping the screen in the middle of play to order drinks from the bar, sandwiches from the snack shop, made dinner reservations, order show tickets, and contact valet parking if the player wishes to leave soon. Players can even link to Facebook on the Internet to report to followers where one is vacationing and perhaps to brag about one’s good fortune on the game they are playing.
The device further produces bar-coded coupons through the slot machine’s ticket printers that can be redeemed around the casino/hotel/resort property.
The Reel TV system also promotes additional play on its linked slots. Messages will appear alerting players of their progress toward earning bonuses, such as “40 more points until you reach platinum level.” Interfacing with a casino’s loyalty program, the system will automatically provide 100 points to good players when they return soon after their last visit. And the system can keep track of collective play so frequent players can automatically be rewarded with special prizes like a free night stay in the casino’s hotel.
“Every casino wants to instill loyalty within their customers,” Atkinson said. “These promotional features give customers the reason to repeatedly return to a casino.”
Atkinson added that Reel TV systems are “agnostic.” They can interface and operate on any slot machine from any manufacturer,” he said.
GROWING LOYALTYPrizePro, a full-service kiosk platform that delivers high-impact promotions and entertainment experiences that help generate customer loyalty, is marketed by Dallas, Texas-based SCA Gaming.
The kiosks seamlessly integrate with third party casino property management systems, ensuring up-to-date account information, point balances and rewards, along with a full array of standard
and user customizable reports that provide powerful analytic tools. Intelligent player recognition software allows for targeted predetermined offer levels by player demographic and gaming history, said Linda Gordon, director of marketing at SCA.
SCA’s auditable VDraw virtual drawing system eliminates the need for paper drawings and long lines at the players club. The VDraw system hosts SCA’s Hot Seat application for customized real-time table game and slot player rewards. Applications and features include barcode redemption and printing for reward tracking, Gordon noted.
The proprietary EventPro system manages slot and table game tournament entry on the front end via guest interface at the kiosk and a robust administration module for scoring and automated leader boards. PrizePro is available on several platforms offering casinos unique scalable products. PrizePro models include desk top units to the PP642 model which is comprised of six seamless 42-inch plasma screens making one contiguous screen nearly 12 feet wide.