Indeed, many would likely agree that cashless is an area where the gaming industry needs to be more conservative moving forward. While consumers may enjoy the conveniences of cashless gaming, perhaps it is too soon for these types of payments to be fully-adopted by the land-based casino industry, since the technology could potentially open doors for fraudulent activity or problem gambling.
“We need to be sure there are proper player protections in place to guard against problem gambling,” said Tom Nieman, vice president of global marketing for JCM Global, a leading cash handling equipment provider. “There is wisdom to be found in the necessity for a player to leave the game and to make that walk to the cage or to an ATM. It’s that break in game play that has been found to be a good safeguard against problem gambling, so we as an industry need to really think through how we want to handle the idea of cashless gaming.”
This delayed action undoubtedly comes as a relief to most cash handling suppliers, who now have ample time to fully research, develop and test cashless electronic acceptance and payment mechanisms that, at some point in the future, the gaming industry will likely want and need. Until that time, there are plenty of other technical challenges these companies have to tackle to insure the smooth operation and safety of the money stream within casinos. Perhaps the most pressing is protecting against counterfeit currency, in terms of both detecting it and integrating with the latest government-sanctioned anti-counterfeiting measures. This includes ensuring equipment has the ability to recognize newly redesigned bills and authenticate them based on built-in, high-tech machine-readable security features.
“Our entire JetScan iFX currency counter product line has been built to accommodate future currency upgrades,” said Frank Janezic, executive vice president, Cummins Allison. “JetScan iFX products also incorporate the latest advanced counterfeit detection hardware and software, such as optical ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR) and fluorescence sensors and magnetic sensors which are capable of examining the full width of the note.”
Another big technology breakthrough in addressing counterfeit money can be seen from JCM. “Without question, the biggest breakthrough in money handling from JCM is our contact image sensing (CIS) technology inside iVIZION,” said Nieman. “In the past, bill validators were designed to scan certain points of a note, and most are still built that way today. iVIZION is different and better because CIS scans the entire note or ticket, reading 9.5 million data points—more than twice as many as the nearest competitive product. CIS can even capture an image of the front and back of every note or ticket. What’s really amazing is that it can capture an image so clear that the note’s serial number can be read. Reading a serial number is crucial to a casino’s anti-money laundering (AML) efforts, and that is simply not possible without CIS.
“Today, casinos have become more bank-like in their operations with increased emphasis on FinCEN regulations, such as SAR, AML, and know your customer (KYC) efforts,” Nieman added. “Where there may have been a little resistance in the past, today operators are embracing that role—they want to know as much as possible about where the money came from, and CIS is the only technology on the market today that goes right down to the serial number.”
Although cashless payments are more common, and continue to become more frequently used, there is more cash in circulation than ever, so the likelihood of a cashless society is probably not in the near future. In the casino realm, processing large quantities of cash will remain a task for casino operations for a long time to come. Below are a few cash handling equipment suppliers and a brief overview of their latest offerings that are playing a role in helping casinos achieve cash handling efficiencies throughout the gaming property.
Cummins Allison offers casinos a full range of productive and cost-effective currency and ticket handling systems that not only help gaming properties count their drops and prepare their deposits quickly and easily, but also archive and manage their check and ticket images. The company continues to innovate and create better ways to meet the growing needs of its gaming industry customers by developing new solutions and enhancing existing models.
The JetScan MPX 8200 multi-pocket cash and ticket sorter is the company’s most advanced high-volume sorter, offering customers improved productivity with 30 percent more throughput than prior generations. Faster processing speed for mixed cash and TITO tickets, combined with innovative system design, maximizes throughput and productivity. It can also strap and face all six denominations in a single pass. Lower initial and recurring costs create a lower total cost of ownership and deliver unmatched value.
The JetScan MPX 8200 also delivers the following benefits to casino’s soft count rooms:
- Processes mixed currency and tickets at 1,200 items per minute;
- Increases uptime due to fewer jams, faster resolution and new mechanical designs;
- Reduces no-calls thanks to advanced scanning technology;
- Intuitive, more informative GUI; and
- The only multi-pocket sorter that processes mixed cash and tickets, plus scans each ticket, minimizing post-processing storage needs.
New six-strapper functionality allows properties to reduce post-processing work from rejects and increase efficiency in soft count rooms. This offers customers an unprecedented blend of high productivity and excellent value.
“Our JetScan iFX product line offers desktop units with full ticket imaging, check scanning and currency processing on a single machine, eliminating operational redundancy and improving processing efficiencies,” said Janezic. “The product line also includes flexible multi-pocket sorters that support three to 17 pockets in both vertical and horizontal orientations, bringing high-speed processing to even the most compact areas of casinos.”
The significantly advanced JetScan MPX 8200 is part of the company’s continuing mission to offer casino properties solutions that enhance cash operations at lower costs. “No other system can provide the capabilities and productivity at this price point,” Janezic said. “This creates value that only Cummins Allison can offer and allows properties to increase the bottom line further. Additionally, casino operators can count on local Cummins Allison service support that responds within hours, not days, and completes any necessary repairs on the first visit, keeping casino operations up and running.”
The new six-strapper functionality on the JetScan MPX 8200 is one example of how Cummins Allison has addressed gaming customers’ needs for convenience, ease of use and value. “Casino operators want to have a choice when looking for multi-pocket sorter solutions to strap all six denominations,” said Janezic. Some customers like to strap all denominations for security an efficiency purposes, while others have fewer strapping needs.
Cummins Allison continues to prioritize innovation and has a large team of engineers that are persistently looking to develop the next breakthrough, while enhancing current products to offer more features or make them more durable or efficient. “We are focused on delivering cash handling solutions that are faster, easier to use and more efficient—and offer ‘future ready’ features such as IoT capabilities, improved interfaces, advanced counterfeit detection and the ability to accommodate future currency upgrades or bill redesigns,” said Janezic.
Operators everywhere have used JCM bill validator products for decades as a trustable and reliable product to protect them from counterfeiters and other types of cash-hungry cheats. The company’s iVIZION bill validator has been popular with operators for several years, and its latest product offering, FUZION, works in concert with iVIZION and with JCM’s GEN5 thermal printer. When paired, FUZION v1.0 unleashes a world of features and security measures including security monitoring, health performance reporting, transaction database recording, remote firmware updates and iPromo system-driven printing. “It’s an exciting new technology, and we were thrilled when we received a patent for it late last year,” said Nieman.
As a company, JCM is reportedly committed to continually staying more than one step ahead of counterfeiters and cheats so that it can constantly provide protection. “Another interesting area of cash handling is the drop process, and there is simply no better solution on the market today that our ICB Intelligent Cash Box,” said Nieman. “Unsolicited, operators tell us how ICB has saved them countless time and money. We created ICB to eliminate human error, and it excels at that functionality, and now in its latest version with web reports, ICB is helping deliver even more savings and cost-savings with features like real-time health monitoring data and predictive drop and maintenance scheduling.”
These functions help operators to dramatically increase operational efficiency, and because each report is configurable, each property can tailor the solutions to their unique needs.
The same could be said for FUZION, a completely unique technology, and again, it is configurable to each property so they get exactly the functionality they want and need. FUZION also adds convenience for the player. When FUZION is fully utilized, a slot device can function like a multi-game machine, where the player can play the slot, plus do things like make a sports wager or buy/redeem a lottery ticket.
ICB with web reports gives the operator much more control over their entire operation, allowing them to see, in real-time and from any device—desktop, laptop and mobile—exactly what their floor needs and where. “It’s a fantastic combination of control and convenience,” said Nieman.
In recent news, Crane Payment Innovations (CPI) and Global Payments Gaming Solutions (GPGS) announced a collaboration set to increase consumer options for mobile funding and play in physical gaming.
Consumers demand mobility at the center of every experience. Studies show that 85 percent of U.S. consumers—including 74 percent of U.S. consumers aged 55 or older—own a smartphone. And most use it every day for shopping, entertainment and more. Through the collaboration, GPGS and CPI have developed a method of delivering mobile funding and play that works with established norms. System components include:
- VIP Mobility, developed by GPGS, is a mobile ledger application that enables patrons to easily fund slot and table play through a number of funding sources. The app maximizes patron convenience and puts more money in play.
- EASITRAX CONNECT, developed by CPI, is a unique hardware/software platform that combines the power of SC Advance banknote validators with a universal connectivity box (UCB) to provide operators with real-time device and machine performance insights, live player behavior analytics and even a wider range of payment options at the game.
Working together, EASITRAX CONNECT and VIP Mobility enable patrons to securely fund slot machines to maximize convenience and increase dollars to the floor, according to press materials.
“Today’s consumers carry more ways to pay than ever before and, in other industries such as vending and retail, we have consistently observed that an operator’s overall revenue is highest when a machine has both cash and digital acceptance technology installed,” said Eric Fisher, CPI president of gaming. “We therefore see mobile payments alongside cash acceptance as a complete payment solution that will support and delight all land-based gaming demographics.”
“Consumer preference for mobile solutions that enhance their experience is reshaping numerous industries around the world and gaming entertainment leaders must adjust in order to capture the long-term attention and loyalty of their patrons,” said Christopher Justice, president of gaming solutions for Global Payments. “By leveraging the scale, reliability and knowledge of Global Payments and CPI, we are delivering a solution that consumers will love and gaming institutions can confidently implement, knowing that the level of disruption is minimal, especially compared to other solutions in the market.”
DITRONICS FINANCIAL SERVICES
DiTRONICS is a privately held provider of innovative funds access solutions. Founded in 1998, DiTRONICS has steadily evolved as a single source provider of cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art funds access services. Today, DiTRONICS reportedly continues to define the future of funds access with a fully integrated suite of products and services that includes ATMs, ticket redemption kiosks, check guarantee software and cash advance software.
The company recently announced a partnership with CasinoSoft, a privately held boutique software company located in Henderson, Nev. The new partnership offers a cutting-edge compliance software platform encompassing all aspects of Title 31 and AML for casinos, including MTL, NIL, CTR and suspicious incident tracking, researching and filing.
The debut of DiTRONICS Title 31 Manager, powered by CasinoSoft, highlights the expansion of products and services DiTRONICS is offering to its customers, as well as building a strong partnership with CasinoSoft’s innovative developers, according to press materials.
“We are thrilled to build a partnership with CasinoSoft that delivers the most holistic view of AML compliance for our customers in the marketplace,” said George Vasilakos, CEO of DiTRONICS. “This partnership is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the DiTRONICS Difference. Our philosophy of being committed partners with our customers, providing superior service and unparalleled support—combined with innovative technologies—is the DiTRONICS Difference.”
“We have built our Title 31 platform from the ground up, by listening and intimately working with our valued casino partner base,” said Matt Montano, a partner at CasinoSoft. “Using the latest technologies, we’re delivering an intuitive application for end users as well as providing one-click upgrade and deployment methods to vastly decrease the amount of man hours needed by IT to support the product. Our deep knowledge of many of the casino systems in market, allows us to deliver sophisticated and customizable integrations to meet and exceed a customer’s needs.”
“We believe the Title 31 platform brings a lot of value to the BSA/AML solutions needed to assist casinos in reaching the goal of a cohesive culture of compliance,” Vasilakos added. “We are proud to be a partner of such an innovative company.”
SUZOHAPP, a leading technology company that provides software and hardware for cash handling automation and self-service solutions worldwide, recently announced plans to form a new, global business unit to support its software and digital market offerings. This new group will be called SUZOHAPP Digital.
“Software is a core differentiator for us in the market,” said Drew Scielzo, CEO for SUZOHAPP. “Given our continued investment in this area, it made sense to create a group focused solely on our software products and digital payment solutions.”
This new business unit will be headed by Rory Herriman, SUZOHAPP’s current CTO for software and digital systems. Herriman will assume the new role of executive vice president and general manager for SUZOHAPP Digital.
“This group is about customer care, innovation and expertise development,” Herriman said. “The additional focus will help us anticipate and address customer needs, develop and deepen our expertise, and drive innovation in the markets we serve. We expect this change will create significant growth for our digital products, solutions and services.”
In other SUZOHAPP news, Castles Technology International Corp., a globally recognized and industry-leading manufacturer of payment hardware solutions, and SUZOHAPP have entered into a multi-year partnership agreement, which includes the co-development and delivery of next-generation cashless terminals within unique sales channels throughout the global unattended marketplace.
According to a press release, this strategic partnership enables SUZOHAPP to white label and resell Castles’ family of cashless payment hardware solutions, bundled with their services. The result is that each company’s unique business partners obtain cashless payment hardware solutions that are backed with highest levels of PCI and EMV compliance, lower their overhead costs, capture new revenue streams and empower their end users with independence and flexibility.
“Castles is quickly emerging as a formidable force in cashless technologies,” Herriman said. “We saw this partnership as an opportunity to co-develop next generation cashless solutions with an innovative company and are thrilled to help further expand their market presence in the unattended and component space as forward-thinking collaborators.”