Casinos in many U.S. jurisdictions have successfully reopened after months of COVID-related closures, although with new operating policies that mandate coronavirus-prevention measures such as occupation limits, social distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures. Many of these reopened properties are turning to a host of new products and systems designed to help operators and customers safely ease into these new restrictions.
For decades, Scientific Games has been an innovator in the casino space, offering a full complement of casino management system products that leverage technology to help operators retain and reward customers, manage and forecast finances, reduce risk, spot trends and increase security on the gaming floor. Ted Keenan, vice president of product management for Scientific Games took some time to field questions from Casino Journal Contributing Editor Joan Mantini regarding the company’s wide array of products and how they can help casino operators better handle the new COVID operating environment. Excerpts from his answers follow:
Products that limit human interactions are a solution to many COVID-related operating concerns. With this in mind, what was your latest kiosk/ATM product offering prior to COVID-19 and have new casino guidelines and safe reopening procedures affected this product? Will it be modified to better fit the current needs to the industry?
KEENAN: Prior to COVID-19, Scientific Games offered solutions integrated with its core systems including ACSC—a complete view of casino operations—and CMP player-centric casino marketing. These kiosks allowed for club account signups, card reprints and free play promotions. Last October, we unveiled cashless solutions, engagement tools and data capabilities to revolutionize the casino floor.
As the state of our industry evolves under this current climate, Scientific Games continues to investigate all avenues to provide solutions for customers to address public health concerns which are now hyper-focused on sanitation and social distancing. We continue to reimagine our solutions and have developed an entire suite of solutions to respond to the needs of operators in a post-COVID-19 world.
Have you added any new safety features to your machines to help operators and users feel safer while at the casino?
KEENAN: Our recently unveiled suite of contactless gaming solutions help address new guidelines to support enhanced sanitation and social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the casino. Specifically, our Social Distancing Module provides three distinct features for operators:
Dynamic Distancing, EGM Scheduler and Resort and Game Reserve. These features provide further opportunities for casino operators to adhere to the necessary safety measures required in a post COVID-19 world.
Dynamic Distancing ensures social distancing among slot players, disabling all games within close proximity once a player cards in. Through the EGM Scheduler, operators are able to quickly upload a list of games that should remain enabled on the casino floor and can even do so remotely through the use of the Control EGM feature.
Resort Reserve and Game Reserve provide the capability to reserve a time for players to be in the casino and also an option to reserve their favorite game during their visit.
What new technologies have you had to incorporate into your machines?
KEENAN: Scientific Games has developed advanced-technology products that are available now to help our partners maintain a safe, yet fun casino experience for their players. Scientific Games’ advanced technology solutions help address new guidelines to support enhanced sanitation and social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the casino. These solutions help keep both team members and guests safe and are also cost effective.
Have you introduced any new products for casino operators to utilize on the gaming floor as they begin to reopen?
KEENAN: Scientific Games offers a complete suite of innovative contactless gaming solutions that will aid casino operators in their quest to keep players and team members safe while still maintaining that fun atmosphere their guests are seeking. The suite of contactless solutions includes the Unified Wallet cashless gaming experience and Automated Game Sanitization.
Unified Wallet provides a cashless gaming experience, giving players the power to instantly access funds to play their favorite slots and tables through an app on their personal mobile device. This is not only convenient for guests but cost effective and efficient for casino operators—eliminating lines at ATMs, kiosks and casino cages and reducing costs for machine maintenance including bill validators, ticket printers and ticket redemption kiosks.
Automated Game Sanitization was developed with both team members and guests in mind. This solution eliminates the manual task of searching for games that need to be sanitized on the casino floor by quickly identifying games that require sanitization after active play. Operators also have the option to schedule sanitization at regular intervals.
What do you see as the “new normal” for kiosks and ATMs moving forward and how do you plan to meet the new expectations?
KEENAN: Scientific Games has been developing innovative solutions for customers long before we could foresee what impact COVID-19 would have on our industry. We have been nimble enough to quickly adapt to the “new normal” and develop solutions to assist with social distancing and increased sanitization measures. As a global leader in our industry, we must continue to develop solutions that provide a seamless experience for guests that are also cost-effective and efficient for operators.