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Cash handling is being redefined.

Its facilitation through kiosks, ATMs and checks, augmented by bill validators, printers and TITO, has nearly become rudimentary. The spread of mobile technology, coupled with the removal of legalized sports-betting shackles, enlarges the scope of funds access. It has grown from a convenience, subtly nudging customers to withdraw more cash in a casino, into rocket fuel. Swipe, tap, deposit and play. Use instantly accessible funds to wager in-game on the next play, the next drive, the next shot. That’s the new prerequisite for device-driven gambling, which vendors keenly appreciate.

With online and mobile sports betting wagers contributing millions in a business that commands billions, this form of gambling won’t eliminate its brick-and-mortar counterparts. Yet sports wagering becomes a permanent component of the cash-handling world.

The sports-betting craze also underscores the foresight of industry leaders. Last year, Worldpay executive Joe Pappano told GGB that the electronification of the industry would result from modernized gaming regulations. And that vendors needed to keep a mindful eye on how changing regulations would impact the integrated casino experience.

Omer Sattar of Sightline forecast an imminent funds-delivery trend. A player with a mobile device could have $200 approved through a Play + account, receive a bar code generated through the app and go to a gaming table with a bar code reader built into the hardware. One sits at the table, scans a barcode and, presto, gains $200 in chips. No lines, no ATMs, no delays. It’s just another form of cash.

Prophecies like these are coming true, as an avalanche of card business awaits the online gaming world. There is a fertile market segment available to those who saw the future.


The Fuzion Vision

One of them was Japan-based powerhouse JCM Global, which first showcased its Fuzion solution at G2E 2016. Fuzion may soon hit the floor running, according to Tom Nieman, the vice president of worldwide marketing for the company, an industry leader in creating innovative and award-winning automated transaction technologies.

Gaming Laboratories International certification for the small board placed inside each slot machine figured to be complete before year’s end. Casinos will be able to turn the machine into an expanded gaming center, Nieman says. The technology allows information to proceed through the bill validator, printer and back-end server. The product is perfectly positioned to embrace the sports-betting boom.

“Rarely in life can timing ever be this good,” Nieman says. “We kept progressing with this until it was finished. We knew that the issue with PASPA and the Supreme Court was pending, and as it turns out, the timing of that decision (May 2018) and the finishing of this concept could not have been laid out any better. As the whole gaming industry is now on an upward climb regarding sports books, this product allows the slot machine to handle lottery and sports book wagers.”

The Fuzion concept takes varied forms. A player can tap the screen and a portion of it will change to reveal sports-book betting opportunities inside that property. The gambler can also access the information by phone if standing next to the slot machine. It eliminates lines, ensures access and reflects the reality that sports book patrons want more, more, more. If they are going to gamble on an NFL game that requires three hours to finish, why not place that bet and remain on the slot machine? (Walking away from the machine breaks the connection.) Customers can even make sophisticated in-game wagers from the slot machines, and juggle two forms of gaming.

“Most technology gets adopted,” Nieman says. “It boils down to convenience. How did Starbucks get an app to open your phone, place an order, pay for it and then go pick it up? It is the convenience factor that drives this type of technology. Generationally, younger people tend to be willing to figure things out, which bodes well for putting this all together.

“This is exciting, especially when you consider where the gambling end is going. With football, you no longer have to be content on the outcome of the game. You can wager on what the next play will be, or how many first downs there will be on this next drive.

“Look at the golf event between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. You could bet on what hole it would end, or who is the first guy to hit the fairway. And the players are gambling among themselves, as in, say, ‘let’s put $5,000 on the next drive.’ This really introduces a global audience to the concept of golf and wagering.”

Nieman says operators handled some initial concerns about linking sports books and slot machines. A slot department head, for instance, may feel he is losing dollars to the sports book. Yet because Fuzion also enables the redemption of sports-betting wagers, that money can theoretically recycle back through slot play. Properties can also factor this into evaluations of different departments, eliminating potential turf battles (department revenue often determine matters like layoffs, if needed).

With Fuzion, each slot machine could become a multi-line profit center. It has the potential to vend and redeem lottery tickets, along with race and sports betting, facilitate daily fantasy sports wagering, conduct cross-enterprise promotional couponing and enable real-time currency exchanges along with streamlining tax-form processes. Maybe it can cook you dinner too.

Fuzion also includes Mobile I/O technology. This allows casinos with legacy reel-spinners, or any games without picture-in-picture, to use Fuzion, by enabling the player to connect with the game via smartphone through JCM’s Intelligent Bezel. This technology expands the Fuzion potential to all types of slot machines.

“We’re taking out-of-the-box thinking to a new level by connecting the iVizion bill validator and Gen 5 printer to the casino management system, and unleashing dramatically more processing power and flexible functionality,” Nieman adds.

Has the streamlined world of cash disbursal been technologically updated? Bank on it.


Doing Deals

Sometimes, it’s smart to keep things big and simple. Everi and Penn National handle cash by handling the relationship. One deal, multiple implications.

Everi, a leading supplier of gaming and financial technology solutions, enters 2019 on the wings of an announced four-year extension of its cash advance, ATM, check warranty and redemption device services agreement with Penn National Gaming, Inc., the nation’s largest regional gaming operator with 40 properties in 18 jurisdictions throughout the United States.

Everi also will serve as the exclusive supplier of any new kiosk hardware deployed at Penn National sites during the extended agreement term. The company has been a longtime provider of ATM, cash advance and check warranty services for Penn National as well as ATM and cash advance services for Pinnacle Entertainment prior to its recent acquisition by Penn National.

“We want to provide our more than 5 million active customers in our player rewards database, and those patrons who visit our gaming facilities for the first time, an exceptional experience which typically starts with them accessing funds,” says Jay Snowden, president and chief operating officer of Penn National. “Everi’s cash access products and intuitive kiosks will enable us to offer that premium experience our patrons have come to expect from a Penn National facility.”

Remember the commercial asking what’s in your wallet? Now the cash question concerns what’s in the kiosk, the phone, the ATM and the ticket. Cash has indeed spread its wings.


A Steady Advance

Crane Payment Innovations, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, offers an array of note, coin and cashless solutions.

The company is an industry leader in payment systems and cash management solutions. From note and coin devices to cashless systems and emerging payment technologies, it processes more than 4 billion transactions every week. CPI’s SC Advance note acceptor (below) is part of the SC product line, of which more than 2 million units have been sold worldwide, officials say. They add that it features the industry’s best first-pass acceptance rate for valid street-grade notes—including notes that are damp, dirty, crinkled or torn. Its robust recognition system is built to effectively read the high-tech security features that currently are, and soon will be introduced, on new banknotes around the world. And, its

expansive memory accommodates new banknote introductions as well as new security algorithms that will protect operators against emerging criminal threats.

SC Advance also is accompanied by a growing suite of modular extensions—including Easitrax, a cash box system now installed in more than 200,000 games worldwide. Easitrax links the slot floor to the back room to maximize operational efficiencies. The data it collects from SC note acceptors can be used to streamline the drop process, facilitate asset evaluations and conduct preventative maintenance programs.

In the cashless realm, the Advance 5000 is a scalable, modular device that gives operators a choice for cashless connectivity. It includes the capability to talk over a variety of networks such as CDMA, 2G, 3G and 4G LTE, and works with a variety of back-end processors through gateway partners.

The Advance 5000 for credit card processing is essential to maximizing payment options and increasing sales. Modular components, like wireless radios and a friendly user interface, make upgrades and diagnostics seamless.


Taking Notes

Successful companies locate their market niche. Giesecke & Devrient Group (G + D) and Mobile Money reflect that trend, tailoring products to specific areas.

G + D, based in Bavaria and with offices in the United States, is a market leader in creating innovative solutions for banknotes and banknote processing systems. It works closely with central banks, financial institutions, banknote printers, cash-in-transit companies and casinos across more than 150 countries.

The family-owned company has more than 11,000 employees worldwide. It services more than 5,000 cash centers worldwide, applied for 84 new patents in 2016 alone, and, according to company documents, has printed more than 135 billion banknotes.

Officials tout CashView as a solution offering insight and automation by pulling data on a daily basis from BPS Connect Casino and other sources.

Precise algorithms and inventory management techniques are used to forecast orders and deposits for competing cash needs for armored car deliveries, customer and location demand, historical trends and unique denomination blends.

CashView is a web-based cash management solution that provides an integrated framework for casino cage and vault operations. It automates cashier transfer slips, cage checkout sheets and cash requests for the vault.

Key benefits include reducing manual effort, eliminating spreadsheets and reducing accounting audit hours. By optimizing cash levels via more accurate forecasting, CashView eliminates excess cash, outages and errors.

The company touts this product’s impact in several areas. It reduces paper, whether that’s transfer slips, cage, checkout sheets or vault inventory and shift activity sheets. CashView reduces spreadsheets and sends requests automatically to other departments. The product saves 12-20 accounting hours per day and uses 50-70 percent less paper, officials say.

Mobile Money, based in San Clemente, California, is an industry leader in mobile ATM solutions. It provides mobile ATMs, mobile ATM rentals, event ATM rentals, portable ATM rentals, and temporary ATM services to fairs, festivals and special events. Its mobile ATM rentals are compact all-steel kiosks that provide reliable service in all weather conditions. Wireless communication is self-contained within an outdoor ATM rental, allowing it to be positioned virtually anywhere.

Rentals are used extensively at fairs, festivals, concerts and sporting venues. It would appear logical that this dynamic extends into gaming, particularly if an operator wants to conduct an off-site event.

Its ATM rental incorporates a full vinyl wrap and a 15-foot flag which makes an immediate visual impact at any location. Independent advertising panels can be customized on each side of the ATM rental for immediate corporate identification and ease in removal if vandalism should occur. Historical data shows that professionally branded ATM rental can increase retail transaction volumes by up to 13 percent, officials say.

The company also produces standard gaming products. Its ticket-redemption kiosks fashion ATM with EMV certification, large color touch-screen monitor, commercial coin hoppers, large capacity cash dispenser, cloud-based server-based monitoring and coin-free ticket redemption options. In the POS debit realm, when a player exceeds his daily withdrawal limit, the company’s ATM solution converts this transaction into a POS debit so the player can get back in the game.


Finding New Routes

Industry giants IGT and Scientific Games enrich the cash-handling world by expanding how funds can be accessed.

One of IGT’s catalysts is PlaySpot technology, which bridges the retail and digital gap by creating a player-friendly on-premise mobile app experience offering new interactive game content. A customer can play instant win games or live keno games, purchase draw game tickets, and manage payments and rewards through a personal or guest (voucher-based) account or through the lottery’s app via a Bluetooth Low Energy PlaySpot connection.

Players start with cash or funds, purchasing a voucher at an authorized PlaySpot retailer and downloading the lottery’s PlaySpot app. Once the voucher is scanned to their phone, the app is funded and they can select games and begin. For future play, they can use an e-wallet to fund the app and hold their winnings.

The Rhode Island Lottery now offers PlaySpot at selected retail locations.

Las Vegas-based Scientific Games, which had its new sports betting kiosks and tablets on display at G2E, continues rewriting the book. It looks to bring a successful European model to the United States.

The sports book solutions have been used in Europe for more than 15 years and can be found at over 3,000 retail shops. Like the William Hill units found throughout Nevada, the kiosks allow a sports bettor to deposit and withdraw from their account and place bets. Scientific Games is also unfurling mini-tablets, about the size of an iPad, placed on a chair inside the sports book.

Vendors continue to rewrite the function of getting funds to the casino floor, and as technology continues to evolve, it’s clear that cash is becoming only one of many ways to play.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.

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