When I first began covering the gaming industry some 20 years ago, all anyone ever wanted to talk about on the product side of the business were the games—the latest slot themes and cabinets, new table twists, pari-mutuel and sports betting technology, and so on. It was all games, all the time, and everyone seemed satisfied with such a limited discussion.

My how the times have changed. Sure, games and other customer-facing casino products still receive a great deal of interest and attention from casino operators and the gaming industry in general.  But now gaming executives are equally interested in learning about the devices that the customer never sees—the myriad of products, systems and services that function behind the scenes to ensure the casino enterprise operates effectively and efficiently. And as the casino businesses becomes more complex, thanks to evolving channels of communication, increased local and regional competition and a host of other factors, operators are increasingly turning to back-office technologies to simplify a growing list of operational functions.

The vendor community is responding to this operator need by creating next-generation products designed to transform the back-office functionality for a number of core casinos businesses. For example, the past few years have seen a number of companies introduce systems and devices designed to streamline cash processing.

 

JET POWERED

The iFX i400 is part of the JetScan iFX line of cash management products from Cummins Allison
 
The iFX i400 is part of the JetScan iFX line of cash management products from Cummins Allison.

One such company is Mount Prospect, Ill.-based Cummins Allison, a global leader in developing solutions that quickly and efficiently count, sort and authenticate currency, checks and coin.

“Today’s gaming properties are looking to invest in cost-efficient, back-room technology—such as currency handling solutions—to elevate time-consuming manual processes into more efficient tasks,” Bob Gibson, vice president, branch operations at Cummins Allison recently told Casino Journal. “Whether it is smaller batch sorting and counting in the cage area, in the banks, or in the soft count room, today’s currency handling solutions can streamline the process for faster and more accurate results. With an all-inclusive currency processing solution, casinos can not only prepare their deposits quickly and easily, but they can also archive and manage their check images, process currency and even process and image tickets—all on one machine. Combing these functions into a single device not only saves space and costs associated with maintaining multiple pieces of equipment, but makes employees more efficient, enabling count room and main bank workers to be more productive and cage cashiers to accommodate more players.”

Cummins Allison’s JetScan series of devices was created with these goals in mind. Recent introductions to this line include a new multi-pocket sorter, compact strapper, ticket reconciliation software and an expanded line of check scanning solutions, according to company literature.

The new compact strapper for the JetScan MPS 4200 is a powerful, affordable, automatic strapping solution that provides greater flexibility in the casino count room or vault, plus faster currency processing in a smaller footprint. Automatic strapping eliminates the labor associated with strapping, reducing the number of machine stops for full-pocket conditions, and greatly increases processing efficiency and system productivity. The MPS 4200 with the new compact strapper offers casinos robust currency and ticket processing capabilities, advanced counterfeit options and now, smaller-footprint, lower-cost strapping options.

Cummins Allison and NEWave have partnered to develop a ticket reconciliation software (TRS) program that via a casino’s host ticketing system collects ticket activity from cage, slot and kiosk transactions and imports and verifies the number and dollar amount reported by the host system for all tickets processed in a batch on a Cummins Allison JetScan iFX machine. The TRS program streamlines the balancing process and improves accuracy over manual entry, giving most tribal and traditional gaming jurisdictions the required verification of cage, kiosk and soft count ticket activity.

Also new is a full line of LS series check scanners, manufactured by CTS North America. This partnership expands the company’s portfolio, giving Cummins Allison one of the broadest lines of check scanning solutions in the industry. Five models of scanners are available ranging from a reduced-footprint version for retail applications to full-featured, compact scanners for back-office applications. The JetScan iFX cash and check scanner complements this series by offering the ability to process large quantities of both checks and cash on the same device, at speeds of 400 checks per minute and 1,600 bills per minute.