In an ideal casino world, a slot machine would be a totally self-contained unit; arriving to a property complete and able to successfully operate without any staff interaction or additional connections, products and interfaces.
Alas, this is not the case, as many a slot executive can attest. The reality is that slot machines need prep work in the plant and at the property to install and integrate the systems and devices needed to become proper profit centers on the modern casino floor; everything from ticket printers and bill acceptors to signage and computing parts. And once in place and in use, gaming machines require a steady stream of service and spare parts to run at peak efficiency. All these adjunct products that help maintain and improve gaming machine operation go by a common moniker: slot peripherals.
However they are referred, providers of peripheral products for slots remain active, constantly upgrading and introducing gaming-machine oriented merchandise. What follows is a rundown of some established and new slot peripheral providers that have made news recently and bear watching in 2017, as determined by the editors of Casino Journal.
AMD (ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES)
AMD executives were in the mood to celebrate at the recent ICE Totally Gaming show in London, which marked their 10th anniversary developing scalable, high-performance, low-power embedded processors for the global casino gaming industry, including major players such as International Game Technology PLC (IGT), Scientific Games, Unidesa and Quixant, among others.
For more than 45 years, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD has driven innovation in high-performance computing, graphics and visualization technologies—the building blocks for gaming, immersive platforms and datacenters. The company’s accelerated processing units (APUs), systems-on-a-chip (SOCs) and discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) enable various display configurations for an increasingly immersive end user experience.
According to company literature, casino gaming has evolved from low-definition, 2D systems to a fully interactive experience with multiple touchscreen 4K displays and striking 3D graphics across everything from large cabinet games to compact units found in bars and transportation terminals. The performance that users have become accustomed to in a video gaming environment is now a requirement for casino gaming in order to keep players engaged. Additionally, there is an advent of skill-based gambling games, such as first-person shooter games, where players can bet on how quickly they will reach a specific target, drawing inspiration from the style of play found in video games.
By applying its expertise in next-generation graphics and compute processing capabilities from a long history in the video gaming market, AMD delivers casino gaming customers a scalable, single-platform solution that can be easily integrated into entry level to high-end systems for a fast time-to-market and enhanced end-user experience.
“The casino gaming market is continuing to shift towards a richer multimedia experience that keeps players engaged longer and helps to increase revenue opportunities, driving the need for high-resolution, 4K displays and significant processing power on the back end,” said Colin Cureton, director of marketing and product management, AMD Enterprise Solutions. “AMD provides exceptional compute processing and graphics capabilities, including the industry’s first discrete GPUs leveraging the Polaris architecture, to deliver optimal performance and an immersive player experience.”
Count IGT as a believer in AMD’s GPU innovations; last September IGT selected the AMD Embedded Radeon E9260 GPU for its new CrystalCurve ULTRA gaming cabinet to drive dual 4K monitors at native resolutions, which was a first in the casino gaming industry. The AMD Embedded Radeon E9260 GPU is a discrete embedded graphics cards leveraging the new AMD Polaris architecture.
“AMD is a great partner for IGT,” said Rachel Barber, senior vice president and chief technology officer, gaming for IGT. “We’re focused on providing our customers with a thoroughly engaging entertainment experience. AMD’s next-generation graphics processors based on the new Polaris Architecture really set our new CrystalCurve ULTRA cabinet apart, with exceptional graphics and highly efficient processing capabilities.”
Henderson, Nev.-based CasinoTech is no stranger to the slot machine industry, having formed in 1998 to provide authorized repair services for IGT production line rejects, with the goal of putting the fixed machines back into new product inventory.
From these humble beginnings, CasinoTech has grown to become a supplier of a broad line of new and certified, warrant-able refurbished gaming parts, according to the company’s website. CasinoTech product offerings range from the latest LCD and vintage CRT monitors and parts to power supplies, bill validators, printers, card readers, CPU boards and various other boards in the slot cabinet, kiosk, information terminal or POS machines.
CasinoTech is also a distributor and service center for such well-known brand names as Kortek, Ceronix, Effinet and 3M. The company provides direct parts replacement and repair services to casino gaming equipment for such brands as IGT, Bally, Aristocrat, Konami and WMS as well as providing parts and services to all of their casino customers nationwide.
The past few years has seen CasinoTech grow from a Nevada- and Texas-centric business to a nationwide provider that also meets the needs of Latin America gaming operators. Recently, CasinoTech has partnered with Ceronix to provide the very best in industrial monitors and service to the gaming industry—committed to a higher value in industrial displays, with a continuous goal of providing the best, most reliable and technically advanced color video monitors and excellent field support in the market. With the advanced research and development, and high-tech manufacturing capabilities of Ceronix, CasinoTech offers an expanded lineup to meet the needs for all the games on a casinos floor, as well as being able to provide a custom-built solution to any video monitor display need a customer may encounter.
CPI (CRANE PAYMENT INNOVATIONS)
At its core, CPI is the combination of Crane Payment Solutions and MEI Conlux Holdings. CPI, along with Crane Merchandising Systems, forms the Merchandising Systems business segment of Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. CPI serves over 100 countries, and has one of the world’s largest installed base of payment systems.
According to press materials, the strategic focus of CPI is to provide a full range of high quality money handling solutions, aimed at the gaming and other markets. Drawing on decades of heritage and expertise from the NRI, CashCode, Telequip, Money Controls and most recently MEI and Conlux brands, CPI develops core validation technology to provide a range of payment systems and associated products with high security protection.
Combined as one company, CPI offers the most extensive range of bill and coin validators and recyclers, coin hoppers and dispensers, plus software applications. Casino operators across the globe have relied on CPI’s currency validation and cash management products for years because of world class bill acceptor technology and product reliability. Operators increase their revenues when switching to CPI due to higher acceptance rates, customer friendly features and reduced total cost of ownership. Company products established new industry standards for validation and ensure more revenue regardless of currency or TITO.
Whether it’s the CashCode one or the SC Advance, CPI frontload gaming bill validators have been developed to handle challenging the demands of the casino gaming industry. They not only deliver high levels of security, high acceptance rates and provide reliability, but also provide players and casino staff with a good user experience. CPI also looks to maximize gaming floor efficiency by offering value added product extensions like the oneCheck asset management solution and various cashbox sizes based on floor needs.
CPI continues to find success on the OEM front, recently inking a three-year preferred supplier agreement with Erron Factory bvba, a Belgium-based producer of electronic gaming machines.
Under the agreement, Erron will specify the SC Advance note acceptor on all new and existing games, while also transitioning to CPI as its default supplier for all coin-handling products. The wide breadth of the CPI product portfolio allows OEMs like Erron to get reliable, high-performance coin and note products from a single supplier, thereby simplifying their sourcing strategy.
For more than 60 years, slot operators have relied on JCM Global to provide innovative, secure solutions to protect gaming machines from counterfeiters, TITO and cash management products and systems.
According to company literature, JCM’s line of bill validation solutions begins with the award-winning iVIZION, one of the most widely used bill validators in the gaming industry. iVIZION outpowers the competition with its CIS technology that sees and captures a full note or ticket and is the foundation for intelligent validation, meaning it is a secure-ROI purchase. Other validation solutions include UBA, iPRO-RC, Vega, Vega-RC and Vega-RC Twin, EBA, TBV, Fujitsu F53/56 and the recently released RDM.
JCM printing solutions include the new and technologically advanced GEN5 thermal printer, the CouponXpress coupon solution and the Nippon printer.
JCM system solutions include Ticket2Go, an after-market TITO solution for AWP operators and the new FUZION, which when combined with iVIZION, GEN5 and the casino’s existing CMS, opens a host of new revenue potential.
These products continue to resonate among gaming operators of all sizes and locations. Recently, JCM signed a contract to supply its leading Ticket2Go solution to more than 150 Talarius sites in the U.K. Talarius, which was recently acquired by Novomatic, is one of the largest AGC operators in the U.K. and JCM’s Ticket2Go will offer a safe, secure and easy to use after-market ticketing solution, according to a press release.