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Like a Well-Oiled Machine

From loyalty to enrollment, kiosks help operators maximize the patron experience while increasing efficiency

Like a Well-Oiled Machine

Hail, Mighty Kiosk.

Operators have expressed that sentiment for the last couple decades about one of their prized industry catalysts. Every kiosk innovation resembles a warm-up for something more prominent, and vital to their interests.

The evolution, from cash dispersal and wayfinding to show reservation and loyalty signups, or from hotel check-ins to shopping information, appears endless.

Operators savor their versatility.

The kiosks, built with sleek designs and cabinets, can stand tall in a busy hotel lobby or be tucked neatly away from the gaming floor, occupying no valued gambling space.

Gaming’s perfect companion recently spread its wings, unifying both brick-and-mortar and online revenue streams. Kiosks remain a valued lifeline between operators and patrons, deploying the advancements of the financial, entertainment and marketing sectors.

What a trusted old friend. Companies grasping this dynamic gain an edge in this sector.

Hardware for Patrons First

The kiosk area has evolved chiefly to offer high-level flexibility for patrons, according to several Everi executives who addressed its varied components in a wide-ranging interview.

“Operators are constantly seeking new efficiencies and channels to provide guest service,” says Will Anderson, director of product management and payment solutions for Everi.

“Through foresight and innovation, Everi has been able to meet these demands by taking transactions that previously required face-to-face interaction and pushing them to the self-service channel,” he adds.

“QuikTicket, QuikTransfer—which allows you to send TITO funds directly back to your bank—and our Flex Funds self-service check cashing are key examples of this.”

Anderson says the company’s kiosk cabinets are designed and assembled in-house, enabling significant versatility.

“This allows Everi to source hardware components that fit strategic needs versus sourcing an off-the-shelf solution—such as an ATM—and building a kiosk around it,” he indicates. “The kiosks are designed to be modular, allowing our hardware engineering team to thoughtfully and methodically select internals that are able to withstand the above-average usage demands of the gaming environment.

“When we look at the Prelude loyalty kiosk, however, that’s where we outsourced the kiosk build. Still, we are able to source internal hardware components that fit our strategic needs.”

Francis Keyser, senior vice president of product management and loyalty, reiterates that although the company has devices developed in-house with its own software, it can also work with outside vendors who produce hardware units. That helps Everi meet the demands of placement around the property, helping operators decide how to engage customers.

“For our loyalty units, we helped develop our own size of touchscreens that I would say livened them up and made the kiosk feel like our own, even if the larger shell is built by a third-party vendor,” Keyser asserts.

Everi’s product army helps operators facilitate the convergence of online and ecommerce transactions with brick-and-mortar gaming environments, along with retail, hospitality environments and non-traditional spaces such as venues.

Victor Newsom, senior vice president of payments solutions for Everi

Victor Newsom, senior vice president of payments solutions for Everi

“Meeting these needs requires more than just a one-size-fits-all solution,” according to Victor Newsom, senior vice president of payments solutions for Everi.

“We have tremendous success with core products like our CXC kiosk that does a multitude of financial service activities, loyalty & engagement, and AML/compliance, which also need to be self-service where possible rather than sending everybody to the cage or having to rely on or force attended transactions,” he adds.

“Casinos and other operators are looking for these efficiencies that are empowering patrons to interact and employees to interact in ways that deliver convenience and value and operational efficiencies. Mobile channels are a key approach, but the fact is that self-service kiosks are a critical part of the total solution.”

This again highlights the intersection of online and brick-and-mortar gaming—one industry viewpoint holds that kiosks have never been more important, as they anchor the brick-and-mortar world in the age of online ascension.

Everi has a different perspective, according to Anderson.

“The convergence of the digital channel and the self-service channel has allowed operators and patrons to have a familiar point of interaction to access and move funds in the gaming environment,” he asserts. “The kiosk interaction has become more important for customers who don’t necessarily want to make the visit to the cage, but still need to have some sort of output or input of a financial transaction that they can perform via self-service.

“So, it’s not necessarily about pushing 100 percent of people over to the digital channel. I think it has been an advantage for Everi, in the overall landscape, because we are able to provide a wallet-based product (CashClub Wallet), but it still allows patrons to interact with a kiosk to pull out gaming funds from that wallet or deposit gaming funds back to the wallet, all while they enjoy an aspect of the digital experience,” he adds.

Industry demands remain highly focused on self-service, according to Keyser.

“As a supplier, that means what can you provide for a patron to do at their own leisure. With the patron, they now have more options—do they want to deal with a person or do they want to handle that interaction immediately themselves,” Keyser indicates. “The benefit on the operator side is they can reduce FTE counts at loyalty desks and cages and push those dollars toward better interactions from a customer service perspective.

“Resetting PINs, signing up for loyalty cards, redemptions of offers, redemptions of drawing entries—all things that used to require visits to a line or a loyalty desk have now been streamlined.”

Brian Sullivan, vice president of platform and quality engineering, indicates that Everi has bespoke kiosk solutions other than its ATM and Prelude lines.

“Those are lightly customized to fit our parameters, the needs of our customers, and our product owners,” he asserts. “Even our ‘ATMs’ are more of a financial services product for us because they do so many things. As far as customization, we change the bezel on those, so the card readers are in Everi’s purple to distinguish us from other vendors. It’s also an anti-skimming measure.”

Keyser believes that what’s interesting about the kiosk is its role in becoming better defined now with the growth of the digital channel. It has allowed Everi to create better products by carving out features that make sense for their channels.

“Certainly, in the loyalty rewards section, we’re able to say what makes sense on which device,” he says. “For example, if you need to look at a restaurant’s menu or a map that directs you to something, that’s easier to do on a kiosk. However, making a reservation could create a line at the kiosk, so that can be pushed onto a mobile device through the digital channels of an app, web, or email.”

Anderson touts several products in Everi’s lineup, each with its range of benefits.

“CXC 5.0 is the flagship unit, with dual monitors (upper monitor for marketing), privacy glass, shoulder surfing camera, and high capacity,” he says. “The CXC 5.0S is the single-monitor solution, and the 5.0L is a smaller footprint and lower cost solution. Rounding this out is the e-cash solution and the Mini CRT, which provides an ultra-small footprint geared towards route operators and smaller markets.”

Beyond the core functions of ticket redemption, bill breaking, and 3-in-1 ATM, the CXC family of devices offers a suite of functionality, according to Anderson, including:

  • Quikticket – allows patron to purchase a gaming ticket with their debit card.
  • Quiktransfer – allows patron to deposit a ticket to their bank account with the debit card in real time.
  • FlexFunds Self-Service Check Cashing – patrons can access their available check cashing limit on the casino floor with options for cash or ticket.
  • Cryptocurrency withdrawals – allows patron to withdraw fiat cash using a crypto wallet.
  • EveriCares – Patrons have the option to deposit the change from their ticket to a vetted local, regional or national charity.
Making Money Move

Another company making inroads in the kiosk sector is Pavilion Payments—the company’s VIP Financial Center kiosks are created in-house to specifically cater to clients’ needs. They meet the escalating demand of a market that views the early-stage, line-reducing function of kiosks as an appetizer.

pavilion-vip-financial

Pavilion Payments VIP Financial Center kiosks

The sheer number of capabilities, from TM services to TITO redemption and cash advances, continues to escalate.That includes an ascension in the online era, according to Pavilion CEO Christopher Justice.

“What’s most important for kiosk solutions now is to integrate with online payments solutions,” he asserts. “Being able to connect virtual and physical payments represents a huge value for patrons, particularly if it is the same account and balance across both, and casino operators would be wise to implement those kinds of solutions. Far from becoming obsolete, the online realm has significantly increased the potential for kiosk technology.”

To meet this demand, Pavilion offers VIP Financial Center, providing an all-in-one kiosk solution that integrates with online solutions. It offers a broad range of payments services including self-service TITO tickets, bill breaking, e-check, ATM and cash advance capabilities.

The product also provides unique features like allowing credit card cash advances to take place at the kiosk without needing to finish the transaction at the cage, he adds.

The company offers three different models, which are all powered by VIP Lightspeed, Pavilion’s proprietary platform which helps facilitate enrollment into VIP Preferred, plus a bevy of other services.

VIP Financial Center offers a slim design for more floor space, enhanced security, and its Infinity Cassette Exchange (ICE) program with real-time device monitoring and cage alerts. It also integrates with Pavilion’s cashless solutions like VIP Mobility through its e-check/ACH network, VIP Preferred.

“VIP Financial Center gives patrons a wide array of self-service capabilities at the touch of their fingers,” Justice asserts. “This enables them with all the services available at the cage like e-check, cash advance, MFA, Choice 4 delayed-settlement in certain jurisdictions, TITO redemption and bill breaking services.

“Pavilion Payments’ system-agnostic approach allows any gaming institution to easily implement its solutions, including VIP Financial Center.”

The kiosk connects to the VIP Preferred e-check/ACH network. VIP Preferred users can move their funds around any of the more than 400 in-person and online gaming institutions after only a single enrollment.

Users can access the funds from their VIP Preferred accounts, bridging online and in-person gaming payments. By linking the online to the physical, Pavilion empowers patrons by giving the tools to play on their own terms.

Justice considers the unified payments experience to be one of, if not the most important factors for the product.

All About Integration

AXES.ai, perennial gaming tech disruptors, has taken the traditional kiosk and injected its innovative touch. Company officials say its state-of-the-art kiosk integration kit provides robust analytics capabilities that enable operators to track user behavior and measure the effectiveness of kiosk applications.

axesCompany reports say that the Kiosk Integration Kit is integrated with the AXES Point of Sale as well as the mobile app to ensure that players have 100 percent flexibility to transfer funds from any one of the devices on the AXES Fintech Platform.

Using the AXES kiosk kit, one’s  ATM, smartcard, TITO, and cash transactions can be fully integrated into a kiosk environment in minutes. With real-time reporting, operators can gain insights into customer preferences, monitor user interactions and kiosk applications for maximum impact.

Integrating with AXES kiosk software via the company’s API, operators can customize kiosk applications with a range of interactive features, including touchscreens, virtual keyboards, and barcode scanning.

AXES software is intuitive and easy to use, enabling operators to quickly create and deploy kiosk applications that will decrease cost of labor and theft and increase businesses’ efficiency and profits, company officials say.

From varied angles, kiosks command an important role. A look at these companies offers a snapshot of the kiosk sector. Sure, it’s only one part of an operator’s marketing and customer service efforts. But it’s an important area.

Kiosks remain the backbone of many casino operations. They facilitate customers, who then flood the operators with money, like a well-oiled machine.

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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