Although on the rise in other businesses, the casino industry remains cool to cash transactions taking place over mobile devices.
Simply stated, cold hard cash remains top dog on the casino payments and transactions food chain.
Perhaps the casino industry’s continued adherence to paper money should not be all that surprising. According to a recent study by Cardtroinics, “Cash usage in the U.S. has largely held steady since 2003. Despite observed fluctuations over the past decade, recent research shows cash maintains a steady role in the U.S. economy. While Americans’ digital transactions are now powered by a variety of payment methods—from debit cards and bank transfers to mobile wallets and cryptocoins—no single digital payment method has managed to match or unseat cash usage levels. According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent ‘Diary of Consumer Payment Choice,’ which studied U.S. consumers’ payment methods from 2015 to 2016, cash was still the most-used in terms of overall volume despite an increasing number of digital payment methods.”
Cash has many unique benefits that are difficult to overcome with electronic forms of payment. Cash provides unanimity for the user, it does not carry any service fee/transaction fee to facilitate, it does not require complex (or expensive) payment infrastructure, it has virtually no consumer fraud exposure, as a result of the ongoing data breaches and consumer credit card fraud on the rise, cash is still the most secure form of payment between a buyer and a seller on the planet.
With these facts in mind, suppliers such as Glory Global said its focus remains the same… how can it continue to develop innovative ways to reduce the cost of handling cash in every retail and gaming environment.
That said, most casino cash handling companies realize cashless transactions are definitely on the horizon, and are determining which mix of products can best handle this type of activity on the casino floor.
“Based on the industry’s desire to charge fees for cash access, it will be difficult to quickly force a fully cashless environment,” said Tim Richards, chief product strategy officer, Everi. “With opposing thoughts on the impact of cashless (belief that players will game more of their bankroll when it is in a wager account or wallet, and belief that not accepting cash at a gaming table or slot machine will more than offset the potential increase), all cash access providers in the gaming industry are going to need to undertake some significant testing and research to determine the most favorable approach.”
“The elimination of cash handling in a casino is not as easy as some may think,” Richards added. “Aside from ATM, check cashing and cash advances equaling 40 to 70 percent of a casino’s drop, billions of dollars walk in and out of the door in players’ pockets. Any approach needs to consider how to best reduce the friction, and cost, of players bringing cash into and out of the casino, along with how cash moves about the casino floor. Additionally, casinos earn hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from the current transactions being processed on the floor today, and future cash handling products must not significantly impact this revenue.”
Now with more cash in circulation than ever before, casinos must seek out and invest in efficient cash handling equipment that alleviates time-consuming manual processes and can help staff complete jobs more quickly. All of this efficiency and productivity must also be accomplished with a lower total cost of ownership. This means that cash handling equipment must continuously evolve in order to meet the changing demands of casino properties.
So maybe the gaming industry isn’t diving head first into digital payments, but the payments space continues to undergo an evolution as mobile and cashless options are explored among both operators and players. Below is an update on the casino-based payments marketplace and look at some of the latest products from leading payment solution providers.
Everi is a leading supplier of technology solutions for the casino gaming industry. The company provides casino operators with a diverse portfolio of products including innovative gaming machines that power the casino floor, and casino operational and management systems that include comprehensive, end-to-end payments solutions, critical intelligence offerings and gaming operations efficiency technology. Everi’s mission is to be a transformative force for casino operations by facilitating memorable player experiences, delivering reliable protection and security and striving for customer satisfaction and operational excellence.
Aside from deploying a rich wallet experience today, the company has a strong belief that Original Credit Transactions (OCT) will have great acceptance across casino floors. “This is a new transaction type being offered by the credit and debit networks allowing for funds to go back onto a card or debit account without requiring an offsetting original purchase transaction,” Richards said. “In addition to assisting with the movement of funds from a wallet back to a checking account, cash can be transferred directly from a kiosk to the player’s existing credit card or checking account, ultimately avoiding the need for prepaid cards and the associated card holder fees that can be a deterrent to usage.”
Some of the latest technologies Everi is incorporating into its payment solutions include blockchain. “Blockchain is an extremely beneficial technology that can be implemented to successfully marry various data points around payments including KYC and compliance,” Richards said. “The true benefits of blockchain have yet to be seen in the gaming space. We believe this is an area to watch as it will help bring together the disparate systems and activities within a casino.”
Meanwhile, Everi’s CashClub Wallet facilitates some of the same types of transactions that are conducted by Everi’s cash access products, including cash advances, purchase of gaming credits and ACH transactions. The CashClub Wallet allows these transactions to be started before arrival at the casino property and completed at a kiosk or casino cage on property. Additionally, funds can be redeposited back to the wallet between or after playing sessions.
In an effort to transition cash play to electronic wager accounts, Everi remains focused on specific steps to achieve a digital floor. “It’s not likely that the ‘tear the Baind-Aid’ off and force players to stop using cash approach will work effectively,” Richards said. “Therefore, implementing a wallet ecosystem that integrated with various gaming products and wager accounts that currently exist in a casino and their interactive environment is the first step. The wallet should also be considered as a method-of-payment for any point-of-sale used within the property and as an extension to the community. The wallet must also have efficient and cost effective means to move funds in and out of the wallet from the outside financial system.”
The company also accommodates players that choose not to use a wallet, with efforts still being made to reduce the use of cash on floors while lessening the casino’s cost of cash and easing the employees’ burden when it comes to handling cash. This is accomplished through a multitude of products across the enterprise. To assist in this effort, Everi is focused on offering additional products such as cash recycling technology, cage cashier dispensers, electronic markers, charity donations for change when redeeming tickets, electronic buy in and color-up at table games, dispensing of tickets instead of cash for debit and check transactions, jackpot payout to ticket or to wallet, and the use of push payments such as OCT.
GAMING TECHNOLOGY GROUP
Gaming Technology Group (GTG) is an affordable slot, cash management and player loyalty systems solution for small- to mid-sized casinos and slot routes. GTG was formed in 2010 as a spin off from its predecessor, Western Money Systems. With its full casino system, UltraLinx, and its flagship GameLinx and PlayerLinx systems, GTG currently has installations in nearly 200 gaming locations.
With its ULTRALINX System, GTG has transformed its systems offerings to include a full gaming floor solution for both non-restricted and restricted gaming operations. This means casinos have an affordable small- to mid-sized casino gaming system, complete with accounting, robust reporting, TITO, electronic funds transfer, player loyalty, CASHLINX dispensing kiosk, PROMOLINX loyalty kiosk and COUNTLINX soft count solutions—all combined with industry-recognized service.
The goal at GTG is to pass savings onto operators who have previously experienced a void in cost-effective payment solutions. The company offers affordable solutions on the front end, and decreased operating costs on the back end, all of which can increase ROI.
CountLinx, multi-pocket currency and ticket sorters, CashLinx, Ticket Redemption Kiosks and UltraLinx Pay safe dispensers, are all secure solutions offered to gaming operators from GTG. They can be used with UltraLinx, GTG’s affordable, slot reporting, ticketing, player tracking and loyalty system for extreme security and efficiency.
CountLinx soft count machines are the affordable way to easily and efficiently scan, count and sort cash and casino tickets. They are available with three or five pockets. Its processes 1,200 notes per minute, and its many sensors allow for full analysis and then the separation of bills into fit, unfit and rejected pockets. CountLinx conducts full fitness testing to ensure authenticity of bills, including counterfeit, damaged and thickness.
CountLinx handles banknotes and tickets simultaneously, and then facilitates accurate reporting. Its export function allows operators to save and send images to a printer or PC, such as currency, text, serial numbers and barcode information. CountLinx also allows operators to conduct routine maintenance and clear jams with minimal downtime. Step-by-step instructions and video are both available on the user display. Its ergonomic design allows direct access from both the front and back of the machine.
CashLinx ticket redemption kiosks are self-service redemption kiosks with robust functionality. CashLinx provides players with cash management services, including ticket redemption, bill breaking and ATM amenities. They also link with third-party sports betting systems. It offers the latest in security and technology to enhance patron transactions.
UltraLinx-Pay is a discrete under-counter dispenser that minimizes cash on the gaming floor, which reduces the risk of robbery and employee theft. UltraLinx-Pay incorporates an innovative dispenser advance feature which eliminates the need for large cash banks and cash on hand. Additionally, operators can remotely view dispenser levels to accurately plan your cash fills.
Cummins Allison offers a full range of productive and cost-effective currency, ticket and check handling systems that not only help casinos count and prepare deposits quickly and easily, but also process cashier transactions, cash paychecks and count drops faster and more efficiently.
The new JetScan MPX 8200 multi-pocket cash and ticket sorter is Cummins Allison’s most advanced high-volume sorter, offering customers more productivity than ever with 30 percent more throughput than prior generations. Faster operating speed processing mixed cash and TITO tickets, combined with innovative system design, maximizes throughput and productivity. Lower initial and recurring costs create a lower total cost of ownership and deliver unmatched value. The JetScan MPX 8200 is part of a continuing mission to offer casino properties solutions that enhance cash operations at lower costs. The JetScan MPX 8200 also delivers the following benefits to casino’s soft count rooms:
• Sort mixed currency and tickets at 1,200 items per minute;
• Fewer processing stops;
• Increased uptime using on-screen diagnostics and new mechanical designs;
• Reduced no-calls thanks to advanced scanning technology;
• Improved transport path reduces jams and makes jam clearing easier;
• Intuitive, more informative GUI; and
• Automatically face bills.
The new JetScan MPX 8200 also delivers the latest scanning technology. This improved scanning technology reads bills more accurately, which significantly reduces rejected unreadable bills and cuts post-processing time. It also provides casinos with the highest available level of counterfeit detection. The JetScan MPX 8200 features a redesigned user interface that is more informative and intuitive than ever. Operators can learn and navigate the screens, reducing errors and training time. Real-time information lets users monitor the levels of cassettes and strapper bins, changing them before a stop condition occurs and increasing efficiency.
In other Cummins Allison equipment news, the JetScan iFX product line is smaller, faster and more flexible than other sorters, offering desktop units with full ticket imaging, check scanning and currency processing on one machine, eliminating operational redundancy and bringing processing efficiencies to even the most compact areas of casinos, according to press materials. 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 can make 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.
Cummins Allison offers its customers the scalability and flexibility to grow as their needs change, putting casinos in a prime position to be more productive for a lower total cost of ownership in the front and the back of the house. The company prioritizes innovation and has a large team of engineers that are continually looking to develop the next breakthrough, while enhancing current products to offer more features or make them more durable or efficient. In this way, Cummins Allison serves as a true partner to its customers; helping them become successful today and well into the future.
The JetScan MPX multi-pocket sorter is a perfect example of Cummins Allison’s dedication to innovation and continuous improvement. The JetScan MPX delivers a higher level of productivity at a lower cost than other systems in its class. This includes lower initial machine costs, no special HVAC or extra construction costs and lower costs for repairs.
As a global leader in cash technology solutions, Glory Global provides the financial, retail, cash center and gaming industries with confidence that their cash is protected and always working to help build a stronger business.
Glory’s cash automation technologies and process engineering services help businesses in more than 100 countries optimize the handling, movement and management of cash. While it spans the globe, the company personally engages with each customer to address their unique challenges and goals.
Retail self-service kiosks, front and back office recycling, casino ticket redemption, as well the automation of cash handling at the point of sale are some of the latest payment solutions offered from Glory. Its cash recycling solutions are helping casinos shrink their cage space and better help manage wallets and tils.
Glory is also enabling cash payments at self-serve kiosks in foodservice which now enables operators to rethink their entire check-out experience. Casinos could capitalize on this trend by having the same technology in their foodservice locations. Glory also has partnerships with CIT, banks and other software providers enabling provisional credit from the recyclers which helps accelerate the movement of cash and drive cost out of the process. It is developing coinless options for the kiosk to help casinos manage the cost of processing coin.
At Glory, innovation never stops, it continues to explore new technologies and applications that can transform how a casino can handle cash going forward. The company is reportedly working on next generation capabilities that will focus its ability to dramatically impact a broader labor cost associated with the movement of cash throughout the casino ecosystem, eventually optimizing the utilization, flow and cost of cash handling.
JCM Global is one of the world’s leading transaction technologies suppliers 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 products set global standards with ground-breaking peripheral transaction components.
JCM offers iVIZION and UBA bill validators, which protect revenues with combinations of optical and mechanical bill sensing capabilities, coupled with robust anti-fishing technologies. iVIZION’s CIS technology scans the entire note or ticket, and can even read and capture serial numbers, adding an extra layer of security.
An essential part of the bill validation and drop process is the ICB Intelligent Cash Box system, according to press materials. ICB is field-proven to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by streamlining the entire drop process. ICB also increases accuracy by eliminating multiple points of human error.
JCM also offers the GEN5 printer which has the speed and memory capacity to quickly provide ticketing, as well as promotional coupon printing. Promotional couponing can also go floor-wide and target carded and uncarded players with JCM’s PromoNet system, designed to help boost customer connections and increase patron time on property.
JCM’s FUZION technology can also help to provide the ultimate in modern customer connections. When paired with iVIZION and GEN5, FUZION connects to the property’s existing CRM system and has the potential to unleash an incredible range of services including vending and redeeming lottery tickets, vending and redeeming race and sports betting, facilitating daily fantasy sports (DFS) wagering, conducting cross-enterprise promotional couponing for carded and uncarded players and streamlining the tax forms process.