At its heart, the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) is primarily a showcase for the latest wagering and betting games and systems. However, as most gaming experts can attest, there is more to running and maintaining a successful gaming enterprise than occasional integration of new games. Products that streamline operations and add savings to the bottom line may not be as sexy as the latest licensed slot machine, but are as vital to the overall economic wellbeing of the casino enterprise.
One such product grouping is cash handling—the devices and systems that process and manage the flow of currency from the games to the count room and beyond. Cash handling technology was well represented at G2E 2016, and what follows is a recap of device upgrades and product placement news from this increasingly vital sector of the gaming industry.
CASH ACCESS & PAYMENT SYSTEMS
A number of suppliers showcased next generation payment and cash access systems at G2E. Leading the charge was JCM Global, which unveiled its FUZION concept at the event. According to company press materials, with FUZION each slot machine could become a multi-line profit center with the potential to vend and redeem lottery tickets and race and sports betting; facilitate daily fantasy sports wagering; conduct cross-enterprise promotional couponing; enable real-time currency exchanges; and streamline tax forms processes.
FUZION also includes Mobile I/O technology. This allows casinos with legacy, reel spinners or any games without picture-in-picture to use FUZION, by enabling the player to connect with the game via smartphone through JCM’s Intelligent Bezel. This technology expands the FUZION potential to all types of slot machines.
“We’re taking out-of-the-box thinking to a new level by connecting the iVIZION bill validator and GEN5 printer to the casino management system, and unleashing dramatically more processing power and flexible functionality,” said Tom Nieman, vice president of worldwide marketing for JCM Global. “With FUZION, operators can work with their existing CMS provider to have the ability to re-think everything, connecting more profitability to the floor and increase player convenience.”
Indeed, FUZION has the potential to unleash many game-changing features, such as the sale and redemption of lottery tickets at each and every EGM. Operators can even trigger promotional messages before large lottery jackpot draws, allowing players to use existing credits or conduct a standalone purchase. With FUZION, each EGM could be used to place race and/or sports bets and print a standard wager ticket. FUZION also gives casinos the ability to enable Fantasy Sports betting, their own or a third party’s. Fuzion also ties the enterprise together with system-generated promotions, instantly delivered right to the player, including drawings, collectible promotions, F&B offers, special events and carded or uncarded player outreach. The iVIZION bill validator accepts the world’s currencies, and FUZION empowers multiple currency acceptance, with exchange rates that could be preset or could be real-time. Finally, FUZION can print system-generated tax forms and deliver required documentation to the customer while the back-end system stores the signature forms and data to be delivered to the IRS.
At G2E 2016, Everi was one of the companies raising the bar on cash access products. The extensive portfolio of payments products on display in the company’s booth represented the industry’s most encompassing suite of solutions that enhance casino operators’ ability to provide funds to the casino floor and operate at peak efficiency, according to company literature.
Equally important: Everi is the first company in the casino industry to be fully end-to-end EMV compliant with all financial transaction devices, platforms and systems.
“Our focus remains on providing industry-leading solutions that enable our customers to provide funds to the floor, meet regulatory obligations and achieve the highest standard of network security,” said Mike Rumbolz, president and CEO for Everi.
Among the new payment solutions products showcased by Everi at G2E were CashClub Wallet, a product that allows gaming customers to store and manage their payment methods, hold their funds, easily move funds in and out of the casino, and set velocity settings to better manage their spend and support responsible gaming. The architecture of CashClub Wallet is focused on driving land-based play with the ability to manage existing casino system wager accounts while easily integrating and adding additional casino wager accounts and currencies as needed in the future.
Also new for Everi at G2E was Everi ID, a new proprietary technology that helps casinos meet regulatory obligations for validating patron identification and performing customer due diligence. When integrated with Everi Compliance and CashClub, Everi ID becomes one of the industry’s most advanced patron data information gateways. Everi also offered Jackpot Xpress, which allows slot and floor staff to securely and efficiently process and pay jackpots at the player’s gaming machine with a mobile device. Jackpots are processed through integration with slot accounting systems and the casino operator can collect, verify and record winning patron information at the point of play.
First American Bankcard showcased its FABICash casino cash access system, designed to provide easy-to-use cash solutions for the cage.
The FABICash proprietary gaming platform was developed with input from cage and finance professionals, with company engineers designing a fully PCI compliant product that is easy to use, customizable, efficient and fast, according to company press materials. Cage personnel can now process cash advance and cash checks on one set of devices. Features such as electronic signature capture makes researching chargebacks as simple as a click of a button, and reports can be tailored to fit the needs of finance and other departments.
First American recently introduced FABICash Mobile to improve the player experience by providing easy access to cash where and when the players want it. This mobile cash access solution is customizable to integrate with cash management and security procedures.
Since its introduction in 2010, FABICash has over 100 casino partners and currently processes over $1 billion in credit/debit card cash advances.
Some payment systems providers came to G2E with recent product placement wins to promote. One such company was Automated Cashless Systems (ACS), which announced it had signed its fourth property for its proprietary table game solution, PlayOn. Pala Casino Resort and Spa in Pala, Calif. rolled out PlayOn on its tables in October.
According to a company press release, PlayOn technology allows patrons to access their own money by securely utilizing their own debit card, without ever having to leave a table. At the gaming position, a patron may swipe their debit card at the PlayOn terminal, request an amount, enter his/her corresponding PIN and, upon approval, a voucher is produced and converted to chips at the table.
At the core of PlayOn’s unified experience is its strategic processing partnership with Vantiv Entertainment Solutions (VES). A part of Vantiv, which processes more than 23 billion transactions annually with a volume of $842 billion, VES is the payments and transactional engine behind PlayOn the product. Additionally, ACS employs a proprietary gateway that allows properties to impose transaction limits in order to meet internal controls and responsible gaming concerns.
Pala Casino Resort and Spa joins Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif.; River Rock Casino in Geyersville, Calif.; and Santa Ana Star Casino in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., in implementing the table game technology. Additional properties across the country will also soon unveil the PlayOn product on tables in the coming months.
“Players are embracing the convenience of PlayOn and casino/operators are experiencing the benefits of keeping players engaged at the tables, primarily through creating stronger holding power that equates to increased revenue,” said Steve Warner, founder and COO of ACS.
Much like ACS, Sightline Payments came to G2E with some recent news to tout. The company, a market leader in payment solutions, has entered into a strategic integration partnership with House Advantage, a leading provider of customer loyalty strategy and solution expertise.
As an integrated solution, Sightline Payments Play+ platform and SPAN Network will allow an account holder to transfer funds electronically from their Play+ account, directly to or from the casino and across other customer touch points through House Advantage’s award-winning HALo loyalty platform, according to a press release.
ANCILLARY CASH PRODUCTS
Looking beyond cash access and payment processing systems, G2E 2016 was awash with ancillary products designed to upgrade various aspects of the cash handling process.
On the ATM front, DiTRONICS featured its DFS-500 Kiosk that allows players to redeem slot tickets and break bills—as well as access their funds via ATM, cash advance and check cashing transactions—for a fully-integrated and seamless funds access experience. DFS-500 Kiosk proprietary software, options and patent pending technologies for enhanced functionality through DiTRONICS’ Rewards Center include: Transaction Rewards database integration that enables a property’s best players to complete funds access transactions with fees comped or discounted automatically at the kiosk; SMART Dispense that allows operators can customize and define the bill break mix by kiosk, by zone and by casino floor; and JACKPOT Pay that helps casino operators manage jackpots more efficiently by making one, some or all ticket redemption kiosks jackpot dispense units. Everi also showcased updated ATM technology with its VersatileXchange (VXC), a new, smaller, non-cash dispensing kiosk featuring a bill acceptor, card reader, TITO printer and card dispenser that enhance casino operator efficiency. The VXC supports all funds dispensing kiosk functionality (check cashing, POS debit and cash advance transactions) as well as all other innovative offerings such as charitable giving through Everi Cares Giving Module, issuing and loading Everi Stored Value Cards and access to Everi’s CashClub Wallet. Meanwhile, NRT displayed QuickJack NEO, an advanced, reliable and secure casino cash handling and payment kiosk. This product is culmination of 15 plus years of ticket redemption and financial services innovation, and is designed and engineered to be the most secure, feature-rich and user-friendly ticket redemption/ATM kiosk in the world, according to company press materials.
Ticket printer suppliers also brought a number of new concepts to G2E. JCM debuted its latest printer, the all-new GEN5. GEN5 is the gaming industry’s first system-centric thermal printer and holds the power to print a wide range of transactional documents, according to company literature. GEN5 comes standard with dual port technology for easy system communication and has built-in PromoNet promotional technology. Nanoptix displayed PayCheck NextGen Printer, its TITO printing solution that features a PC-based infrastructure and the latest technologies, including unique integrated anti-jamming paper path and unparalleled processing speeds, taking less than one second to print a ticket. TransAct Technologies showed the Epic Edge casino ticket printer, its latest and most advanced casino printer for use in all gaming machines and electronic table games. The company also introduced Epicentral System Edition (Epicentral SE), a new version of Epicentral that provides all slot management systems with the ability to turn existing electronic promotions and bonuses in their current systems into printed coupons directly at the slot machine, and Epicentral v3.8, the latest version of the company’s promotion bonusing and print system.
Bill acceptors were another cash handling product that showcased new concepts and technologies. JCM emphasized new capabilities for its iVIZION bill validator, fueled by the powerful combination of iVIZION and the new GEN5 ticket printer. iVIZION remains a leading bill validator in the gaming industry, and the only validator that scans a complete note or ticket, and does it with the industry’s highest acceptance rate. JCM also showed its DBV, EBA, iPRO, UBA and VegaTwin bill validators and the note recycling iPRO-RC and Vega-RC bill validators. Crane Payment Innovations (CPI) featured its CashCode one and SC Advance frontload gaming bill validators. These have been developed to handle the challenging demands of the casino gaming industry, and deliver high levels of security, high acceptance rates and proven reliability.