In the gaming industry the phrase “cash is king” still holds true, which is why currency validator and cash recycler manufacturers are continuing to upgrade their wares to keep pace with slot machines and other gaming devices that have become more technologically advanced and capable of handling greater volumes of play. 

Casinos are investing in cost-efficient, back-room technology such as currency handling solutions to reduce time-consuming manual processes into more efficient tasks for casino operators, which has in turn brought in greater revenues with its streamlined processes.

“Whether its 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,” said Bob Gibson, vice president of branch operations for Cummins Allison. “Handling large quantities of cash, checks and tickets are a fact of life for casino operations, and these activities can take place throughout the gaming property. These areas often have space restrictions, making it important to select a currency-handling solution that can scale up or down.”

The good news is that with today’s advanced technologies,  it is possible that the features found in larger systems can be available in a more modular, scalable device to provide the same results in a more compact and economical way.

Looking toward the future, bill validator manufacturers recognize that cashless gaming is a slow approaching possibility for the casino industry, and some suppliers are taking steps to remain viable in such a gaming marketplace. For example, JCM Global has been partnering with other companies to move forward with currency validation solutions for cashless gaming environments. “If and when [cashless gaming] will be acceptable in the gaming industry we have to be prepared, so we have demonstrated at this G2E a fully integrated mobile solution tied in with ATM redemption kiosks from Everi,” ,” said Tom Nieman, vice president of sales and marketing at JCM.  “We’ve integrated some mobile technology from another firm called Prism into our bill validators so that everything ties together.”

In the meantime, today’s currency validator and cash recycler manufactures offer a variety of products that accommodate the continuously changing needs of the casinos. Here’s a product rundown from some of the industry’s leading providers:

CRANE PAYMENT INNOVATIONS

Crane Payment Innovations (CPI) has had tremendous success throughout the global casino market with its SC line of note acceptors, including SC Advance and the legacy CASHFLOW SC, with more than 1.5 million units installed globally. 

According to CPI’s President of Gaming Eric Fisher, SC Advance offers a value proposition that revolves around the key performance attributes responsible for operator profitability and customer satisfaction when it comes to cash handling—acceptance, jam rate, security and cost of ownership. Even as currencies evolve, SC Advance has the expansive memory to accommodate new banknote introductions, and it offers the industry’s best first-pass acceptance rate on valid street grade notes—including those that are damp, crinkled or torn.  SC Advance is also accompanied by a growing portfolio of modular extensions—including multiple cashbox sizes and EASITRAX Soft Count—that extend the SC product line’s applicability to a broad range of markets and accompanying cash management needs. 

In terms of cash recycling products, CPI has leveraged the expertise gained from its proven four-denomination BNR (Bank Note Recycler) and one-denomination VNR (Vending Note Recycler) into its new two-denomination note recycler called the MEI SCR.

“SCR was recently released to the European AWP market after yielding impressive results across multiple field trials,” Fisher said. “In non-TITO environments, SCR virtually eliminates coin hopper starvation by using the same notes it accepts, accounts for and stores from previous transactions to dispense as winnings.  As a result, SCR requires less maintenance and can run for longer periods of time—empowering operators with a more efficient, secure and cost-effective way to handle cash payments.”

“What makes the SCR unique amongst note recyclers are its security features, designed specifically to meet the challenging needs of the German AWP market,” Fisher added. “SCR offers exceptional fraud defense and internal security controls.  Its architecture includes a removable anti-stringing mechanism, as well as a specialized inventory management system that accurately tracks the number of notes going into and out of the machine.  It even provides complete note accountability when powered down.  And personnel can access system components for maintenance without also gaining access to secured notes, which remain safely locked away.”

CUMMINS ALLISON

CPI is not the only cash processing providers adapting product to solve specific gaming operator problems. “Cummins Allison continues to look for ways to meet the growing needs of its customers, by developing new solutions and enhancing existing models,” said Gibson.

To that end, Cummins Allison offers a full range of innovative and flexible currency and coin handling systems that not only help casinos prepare their deposits quickly and easily, but also archive and manage their check images, process currency and even process and image tickets, according to company literature. One such product line is JetScan iFX, which offers casinos a full range of innovative and flexible currency handling systems designed to meet the ever-growing needs of the gaming industry. The iFX product line utilizes breakthrough imaging technology to sort and count currency—plus image and process tickets and checks—with extreme accuracy, speed and efficiency. Combined with less stopping and easy-to-read touch-screen operation, the JetScan iFX product line brings productivity to a new level. Smaller, faster and more flexible than other sorters, this line offers desktop units with full ticket image capture, check image capture and currency processing on one machine, eliminating operational redundancy and bringing processing efficiencies to even the most compact areas of casinos.

In late 2014, Cummins Allison expanded the JetScan iFX i400 multi-pocket currency sorter to allow it to be configured to a 17 pocket horizontal orientation. The additional pockets and configuration options provide casinos with the ultimate in machine flexibility and opportunity for growth. The expanded 17-pocket configuration fosters greater productivity for currency processing; allowing operators to separate mixed denominations, as well as face and orient bills, all in a footprint 54 percent smaller than a comparable competitive system. The iFX i400 can also sort for fitness, checking for and recognizing soil, holes, dog-ears, tears, missing parts and tape. This helps casinos hang on to their fit currency and deposit to their bank those bills that might be problematic when used in their kiosks and ATMs.

Designed for high-volume applications, Cummins Allison JetScan MPS currency and ticket sorters process mixed currency and tickets at 1,000 documents per minute. All cash is denominated, automatically faced, sorted by denomination and strapped; ticket barcodes are scanned and ticket images are captured for archiving purposes. Tabletop currency sorter models are available for smaller spaces, as well as robust, expandable models that are flexible and adaptable to your growing business needs. Exclusive space-saving corner modules allow the JetScan MPS to fit in vaults and soft count rooms with limited space, bringing high-speed currency and ticket sorting to areas previously unable to accommodate similar equipment.

Ticket Reconciliation Software (TRS) for JetScan iFX scanners matches casino ticket validation numbers with dollar amounts, making it easy to generate accurate reports for balancing and auditing while remaining compliant with gaming regulations. The TRS program streamlines the balancing process and improves accuracy over manual entry, giving most gaming jurisdictions the required verification of cage, kiosk and soft count ticket activity. This eliminates manual labor and consolidates processes—increasing efficiency and freeing up time for more value-added tasks.

JCM GLOBAL

Celebrating 60 years in business, JCM Global has a history that spans globally. Staring with a single operation in Osaka, Japan in 1955, the company has grown to a supplier to the international gaming business and other industries. According to company literature, JCM has several options available to choose from in terms of bill validators.

JCM’s all new DBV-500 series has a robust design, increased processing speed, and state-of-the-art sensor technology that combine to make the DBV-500 an option for a wide range of automated payment applications. In addition, the universal design supports most major currencies without any hardware modification. The DBV-500 Series has a note-to-note acceptance rate of less than two seconds and is designed to work in a wide range of temperatures. The device houses a cashbox with capacity options of 500, 1,000, and 1,500 notes. It also features an all-new centering mechanism and a sensing technological package with eight wavelengths of high precision optical sensors.

The iPRO bill validator is the secure and flexible way to increased profitability because it comes with one of the most sophisticated sensing and anti-stringing packages created by JCM. iPRO’s modular design allows it to quickly and easily replace an existing UBA head for instant improved performance. The validation and denomination process is powered by Contact Image Sensor (CIS) Technology that scans 75 times more data points than any competitive product and captures the full image of a banknote or a ticket. It optically centers banknotes and eliminates the need for mechanical centering, dramatically improving banknote-to-banknote-processing speed.

Meanwhile, JCM’s iVIZION bill validator is one of the best security combinations in gaming: an optical and patented mechanical anti-stringing device that detects and prevents manipulation or mechanical cheating. It runs faster with a powerful processor solely dedicated to banknote evaluation, resulting in a 99 percent acceptance rate and the fastest banknote-to-banknote processing speed. It is self-calibrating, accepts banknotes up to 85 millimeters wide and has a sealed banknote path with dirt and liquid resistant design, resulting in less service-related down time.