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Cashless Transition

Christopher Justice, President and CEO, Pavilion Payments

Cashless Transition

The pandemic shut down the world, and one of the chief victims was a payment processing company called Global Payments Gaming Services, led by Christopher Justice.

He says the company was poised to debut a game-changer in the cashless transactions space, but Covid shut it down. Justice had been a pioneer in cashless transactions in gaming, and said the industry is ripe for change.

“From a digital transformation perspective,” he explains, “gaming is still the biggest user of cash on the planet. Global Payments recruited me to come in to join this organization, and help drive a tech-led payment strategy around orchestrating the hardware, software and services necessary to create a very efficient process.”

After the pandemic, Global Payments sold the gaming division and Justice was forced to do a rebrand—not the simplest process.

“There was no part of the name that we could carry forward,” he says. “So we went through an elaborate process with branding organizations trying to find names, URLs, social handles, and all of the other things that go into creating a company where you need to get green lights across the board. It is a very difficult process. We went through thousands and thousands of names and ultimately decided on Pavilion Payments because it passed all of the things that we needed to make sure that we can hang out a shingle, we can do all of our marketing, we can trademark and brand, and all the things that are necessary to make that come to fruition.”

And now Pavilion Payments’ VIP Mobility is ready to change the gaming world.

“There’s a lot of interesting branding things that really tie together with VIP Mobility,” Justice says. “But ultimately, we feel that we are bringing a great consumer experience along with operating efficiencies to the casino operators to deliver a full 360-degree view of the customer and the experience.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic also slowed the acceptance of cashless transactions in gaming. Justice compares it to the TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) experience, which was resisted by slot players for several years until the acceptance reached a tipping point. Justice believes cashless transactions in gaming are nearly at that point.

“The reluctance I see today is really more on the operator side of the business because they’ve experienced some of the other solutions that are just far more difficult to use,” he says. “And I would say it’s more of an inconsistent consumer journey than what you would experience anywhere else in your life.

“Our user journey is far more efficient, far less complex. The consumers have actually warmly embraced the solution. The number of folks that download our app who have used the application multiple times is very, very high.”

Because VIP Mobility is based on the widely accepted TITO systems operated by JCM, Justice says the regulators are more comfortable with this product.

“Because we are leveraging the TITO system, the rules and the regs are already built for ticketing,” he says. “So, everything that we’re doing

really works within the confines of existing regulations. But because we’ve added cashless to the conversation, now we need to go through and really pay attention and make sure the rules and regs of each jurisdiction supports cashless.

“I think all cashless applications are being thrown in one big bucket. Even though some of the other systems are not built on the TITO platform, there is some confusion about where cashless lands.”

Ultimately, though, Justice believes we have reached the tipping point.

“We are at the end of what I would call the early adopter phase,” he explains. “The pioneers are proving it out, and they’re showing that the capability exists. They’re demonstrating that consumers will adopt and embrace. And I think we’re not too far from that fast follower phase where there are a whole bunch of people that are in the lab right now and that are in that installation process, and we will start seeing this take off more and more.”

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

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