Washington-based Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort recently became the first casino in the state to receive regulatory approval from the Washington State Gaming Commission to offer a “Single-Ticket Solution” for its casino floor.

This solution, created by International Game Technology PLC (IGT), allows players to use a single ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) ticket to move money to, from, and between Class II and Class III gaming machines, according to press materials.

“The One Ticket Solution is just one more way that Clearwater Casino Resort enhances the experience for players on our gaming floor,” said Irene Carper, COO for Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort. “I look forward to the advancements that will come in the future, because making the experience convenient and more enjoyable for our players is top priority.”

With this approval, IGT can offer the Single-Ticket Solution to other IGT Advantage casino management systems customers in Washington.

Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort acting as a testing ground for the latest in ticketing technology likely doesn’t come as a surprise to Washington gaming operators since the property was the first state casino to implement IGT’s Downloadable Credits TITO solution in 2013. This promotional feature allows players to download their point rewards directly to the slot machine, where prior to this implementation, customers would need to visit the players club to receive a voucher for the points their redeemable points. Now, five years later, downloadable credits have become the preferred choice for players.

“It was apparent that the line for cashing out points was becoming a problem,” said Curtis Patnode, gaming manager at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort. “The Clearwater Casino saw a need for a system that allowed guests to download credits at the slot machines to decrease these lines. Conversations began with IGT about what Clearwater needed. IGT then came back with a solution.”

The player benefits of the Downloadable Credits implementation into the property’s rewards system included: shorter cashier lines; the ability to use earned credits right at the machine; the ability to continue playing at a machine while credits were being processed; and no longer having to make cash transactions with cashiers.

Downloadable Credits has proven successful for all parties. However, along with the success came the learning curve that needed to be worked through on the operations side of things.

“With every change and new system comes training,” said Patnode. “The staff had to be trained and the players had to be trained. As a majority of people have a hard time with change, it was a process trying to get everyone on board. Also, being the first casino in Washington to implement this system, there were some kinks that had to be worked out in the beginning. Also, an unexpected result was players who didn’t know they had free play could now see it at the machine and bonus play was being redeemed more often than anticipated.”

Suffice to say that over the past five years, players and employees have become well versed in the process and now accept it as the best way to download credits and bonus play, according to Patnode. “Last month we tested the old way of doing these things,” he said. “Players were told they had to go to the cashier to get their credits or bonus play and players complained about it, lines became long again.”

“We’ve had this system in place long enough that players prefer it,” Patnode added. “Competitors are now having to match the system we have in place. Players are now requesting this system from other casinos in Washington. In order to keep up with the demand, other casinos are having to follow in our footsteps.” 

VIRTUAL SOLUTION

Fast forward to 2017 and Clearwater Casino was once again pioneering a new trend in Washington gaming with its introduction of Virtual Drawings. This program lets players enter promotional drawings with virtual entries, right from their favorite machine, again cutting down the lines at the players club on drawings days.

Until recently, casinos in Washington with Class II and Class III gaming machines, required two separate ticket types for playing these machines. Clearwater Casino Resort turned to IGT for help in streamlining this process and on January 24, 2018, it became the first casino in the state to implement the Single Ticket Solution. The Suquamish Tribal Gaming Agency was instrumental in collaborating with the Clearwater Casino, Washington State Gambling Commission and Gaming Manufacturers, to successfully bring the Single Ticket Solution to the entire gaming floor. Players can now play any machine on property and cash out at any ticket kiosk using one universal ticket type.

“The key was communication between Clearwater Casino, Suquamish Tribal Gaming Agency and the Washington State Gambling Commission,” Patnode said. “The Suquamish Tribal Gaming Agency received an award from IGT for their work on getting the Virtual Drawing Manager (VDM) system approved by the state. Clearwater Casino was the first casino in Washington to implement VDM, we’re still working with IGT to get the kinks worked out. The Suquamish Tribal Gaming Agency spearheaded the process and is still assisting in any approvals that may come up in the future.”

Now with Virtual Drawings up and running, players don’t have to wait in line at the players club to get their drawing entries. Prior, if a player had over 100 entries, they would have to wait at the players club for all of their entries to print. 

Another benefit of the one ticket system being implemented directly on slot machines is better perceived value. “For example, it used to be 100 points earned for every entry, to help prevent having to print hundreds of tickets at the players club,” Patnode explained. “Now we can say five points earned for every entry, because someone can get hundreds of entries and it goes into the system virtually. Players now get more drawing entries for their play.”