No doubt, today’s cost-effective currency handling solutions can streamline cash processing for faster and more productive results.
For this reason, gaming properties continue to invest in cost-effective, back-room technology—such as currency handling solutions—to transform time-consuming manual processes into more efficient tasks; whether its batch sorting and counting in the cage area, in the bank, or in the soft count room. And this adoption is taking place despite a growing consumer trend toward cashless/electronic payment methods.
“Handling large quantities of cash will remain a fact of life for casino operations for a long time to come,” said Bob Gibson, vice president at Cummins Allison, a Mt. Prospect, Ill.-based supplier of money counting systems. “In fact, recent figures from The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve indicate that there is no shortage of cash in circulation in the United States. As of October 2016, there was approximately $1.48 trillion in circulation, of which $1.43 trillion were in Federal Reserve notes. There is more cash in circulation than ever, so the prospect of a cashless society is far off into the future. People enjoy its ease and anonymity, so for today and a long time to come, properties need to look at productivity as a top factor in processing cash.”
Tim Richards, senior vice president of payments innovation for Las Vegas-based payments solutions provider Everi agrees. “Until there are gaming and payments regulations that allow payments to be direct to a casino game or gaming machine, the future of cash handling in casinos remains optimistic,” Richards said. “As we saw with the movement to go coinless in many establishments and move to a ticketing system, the adoption of new technologies in casinos is relatively slow moving. This doesn’t mean that financial service providers should wait for implementation. It does mean that gaming’s cash access partners need to be prepared to help influence the adoption of seamless payments technologies through implementation of equipment and technologies that support the traditional or usual way of accessing cash in casinos (using cards or ACH), while offering the option of accessing cash in modern ways.”
The recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) show in Las Vegas was the perfect avenue for numerous suppliers to demonstrate modern ways of accessing and processing cash. For many vendors, innovation centered on the incorporation of mobile technology into cash systems.
“Financial services partners in gaming, including Everi, are constantly evaluating the behavior impacts of mobile payments technologies and finding innovative, but not intrusive, ways of incorporating these technologies into our cash handling products,” Richards said. “Everi has introduced new mobile cash handling products to meet this demand.”
This lineup of products includes Jackpot Xpress, a mobile jackpot and tax forms processing product that allows slot attendants to process a customer jackpot anywhere on the casino floor; the VersatileXchange (VXC) kiosk that includes the option of using Bluetooth technology to complete a ticket out transaction; and CashClub Wallet, which gives customers the opportunity to manage their wager account from their laptop, PC or mobile phone to have funds ready when they arrive at the gaming property, and to move funds to the wallet for easy, mobile management after leaving a casino.
“Mobile CashClub gives casino floor personnel the ability to process cash handling transactions anywhere on a casino floor, without the need for the customer to visit the casino cage,” Richards added.
JCM Global, a Las Vegas-based provider of cash processing products, has also invested heavily in mobile technology integration. “Where mobile technology intersects with FUZION is an example of the potential that mobile technology brings to gaming,” said Tom Nieman, vice president of worldwide marketing for JCM. “With FUZION, the player can tap their phone to the bill validator bezel, and then they can access the FUZION screen on their mobile phone, instead of using the slot machine’s video screen. Of course, this makes it possible for casinos to launch FUZION on video slots as well as reel-spinners. The connection is near-field, so when the player walks away from the slot, the FUZION connection is automatically and immediately terminated. This is just one example of how mobile technology could be used today in the gaming industry, and we are continually looking at other applications, such as tap-to-pay that consumers use in a wide range of other payment applications outside of gaming.”
And let’s not overlook the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) has brought forth, with the concept that devices are interconnected and can share data, making business processes easier, more efficient and more productive. When it comes to cash handling systems, IoT can be used to improve currency processing and loss prevention within the casino, connecting and making life easier for each department of the property.
“Cash handling equipment integrated into the casino’s core cash system eliminates manual entry of bill and ticket totals, which reduces unnecessary risks and mistakes,” Gibson said. “Connecting cash handling equipment to the casino’s core system also improves the speed of cash handling and processing.”
By way of an example, Gibson mentioned Cummins Allison’s JetScan MPS multi-pocket currency and ticket sorters, which process mixed currency and tickets at 1,000 documents per minute. All cash is denominated, automatically faced, sorted by denomination and sent to a cassette or automatic strapper. Ticket bar codes are scanned, and ticket images are captured for archiving purposes. Plus, soft count rooms can transmit totals to the accounting department faster, allowing for faster reconciliation and access to funds.
“The latest currency sorters and currency and check scanners also are equipped with a wide range of counterfeit detection sensors that instantly identify counterfeit bills at the source of entry,” Gibson added. “They include multiple basic and high-level options as well as the ability to read and record serial numbers. Tracking currency by serial number and retaining this information for future retrieval can lead to an increased understanding of how counterfeits are entering a casino’s system. With this additional knowledge, casinos can adjust their security strategies and improve their ability to prevent depositing counterfeit money.”
Below is a list of some of the leading cash handling suppliers in the gaming industry and a recap of their latest products and technologies.
JCM Global is a leading transaction technologies supplier for the banking, retail, kiosk and gaming industries. With unsurpassed service and support, JCM Global is trusted by operators, manufacturers and integrators on six continents. Its extensive line of award-winning products set global standards with ground-breaking peripheral transaction components, innovate digital media hardware and the systems to tie them together.
“It’s common for people to think of cash handling equipment as bill validators and the like,” Nieman said. “The reality is cash handling includes bill validators and printers, because when a TITO ticket is printed, that is cash in effect.”
At G2E, JCM showcased their newest cash handling product, the GEN5 thermal printer. The new GEN5 builds on the proven, successful foundation of the universally successful GEN platform and is fully compatible to work with existing platforms, server-based and USB machines. It is faster than previous models, with a faster CPU, faster print speed, faster customer connections and it is flexible enough to print TITO and promotional tickets, plus various wager tickets and templated promo coupons. JCM also built in several operator-friendly technical features, such as intelligent ticket handling technology, dual channel communication, jam-prevention technology, RS232, NetPlex and USB 2.0.
“What gets exciting is when an operator combines the new GEN5 printer with the iVIZION bill validator, that unlocks the FUZION technology, bringing the potential for lottery ticket vending, race/sports ticket vending and tax forms printing,” said Nieman. “Our new FUZION technology works with the bill validator, the printer, and the back-end CMS system; making it a transformative new technology that brings previously unimagined potential, flexibility and profitability to the casino floor. We believe FUZION has the potential to be as impactful to the gaming industry as the embedded bill validator did in the early 1990s.”
With FUZION, each slot machine could become a multi-line profit center with the current potential to vend and redeem lottery tickets and race and sports betting, facilitate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) wagering, conduct cross-enterprise promotional couponing for carded and uncarded players, enable real-time currency exchange and streamline tax forms processes.
“The future of cash handling is consumer convenience,” Nieman. “We expect the industry will adapt to consumer demand for more flexible payment options, as regulations may allow. We are preparing for many possible future scenarios, using the experience we gain in markets worldwide in our lines of business outside of gaming. Whether that future is mobile, ticketing, cash-based or a combination, JCM is ready.”
Cummins Allison offers a full range of innovative and flexible currency and ticket handling systems that not only help casinos’ count their drops and prepare their deposits quickly and easily, but also archive and manage their check and ticket images. The company continues to look for ways to meet the growing needs of its customers, by developing new solutions and enhancing existing models.
Cummins Allison’s JetScan iFX product line offers casinos a full range of productive and cost-effective currency handling systems designed to meet the ever-growing needs of the gaming industry. The JetScan iFX product line utilizes breakthrough 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, the JetScan iFX 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. The product line also includes flexible multi-pocket sorters that allow three to 17 pockets in both vertical and horizontal orientations.
Ticket Reconciliation Software (TRS) for JetScan iFX scanners makes it easy to generate accurate reports for ticket 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.
Everi Holdings provides video and mechanical reel gaming content and technology solutions, integrated gaming payments solutions and compliance and efficiency software. Everi’s payments business provides: access to cash at gaming facilities via automated teller machine cash withdrawals, credit card cash access transactions, point of sale debit card transactions, check verification and warranty services; fully integrated gaming industry kiosks that provide cash access and related services; products and services that improve credit decision making, automate cashier operations and enhance patron marketing activities for gaming establishments; compliance, audit and data solutions; and online payment processing solutions for gaming operators in states that offer intrastate, Internet-based gaming and lottery activities.
Displayed at G2E was Everi’s VXC kiosk is their smallest and most compact kiosk to date. Using their proprietary UniversalXchange kiosk platform, the VXC lets properties choose exactly what features and functions operators want the VXC to be used for, and is small enough that it can be placed anywhere on the floor. VXC is not cash dispensing (it dispenses only gaming vouchers), and therefore reduces cash handling costs without having a negative impact on cash to floor. By focusing on completing typical cash dispensing transactions through using a ticket, the VXC eliminates the movement of physical cash to the floor without cannibalizing transactions typically completed with cash.
Everi also debuted their CageXchange cash dispenser and the ReyclerXchange cash recycler. Both products are positioned to reduce staff handling of cash in the casino cage and back-rooms while increasing staff efficiencies and customer service. While not customer facing, these technologies allow cage staff more time for interaction with the customer while reducing the customer wait time resulting in a more positive impression on the customer.
“To accommodate the growing adoption of cashless payments by traditional consumers, operators and their financial services providers need to find a happy, and reportable, medium through offering the opportunity to use mobile devices or digital wallets at the physical cash handling equipment on casino floors,” Richards said. “This requires some physical modification of equipment to include NFC readers and some platform modifications to accommodate third party integrations. There is a benefit to the operator to accept mobile payments and to include the Everi CashClub wallet as part of their cash access offerings. An opportunity with mobile payments allows operators to provide players with a way to manage payments on and off games using a wager account, or closed loop wallet, which avoids many of the costs associated with processing payments to and from financial services payments networks. Everi has been working toward these modifications throughout 2016 and we expect to have the ability to accept many types of mobile, cashless, payments at many of our kiosks by mid-2017.”