Noah Acres has been involved in developing technology for gaming and other industries for more than 20 years, as well as marketing and gaming operations. He was vice president of gaming and marketing for the Riviera in Las Vegas when he began working with his father, gaming pioneer John Acres, and he is now a principal of Acres Manufacturing, developing technology that is changing the way casinos operate. He spoke with GGB Editor Frank Legato from his Las Vegas offices in June. To see and hear a full podcast of this interview, visit GGBMagazine.com.
GGB: Acres technology is spreading fast, not the least of which is your Cashless Casino module, now linked to more than 30,000 games. How do you see the overall adoption of cashless wagering progressing?
Acres: I think the growth of cashless has been slow and steady. But in my opinion, I think that we are on the cusp of exponential growth in cashless, because a lot of the tinder has already been laid. Cashless gives casinos access to more players and more money. Seventy percent of transactions are non-cash in the wider consumer economy, and casinos just cannot afford to stay cash-only businesses, because it’s literally turning customers away.
You published a white paper on cashless, pointing out the differences between your technology and legacy systems. Can you tell us the main points of difference?
In our solution, called Cashless Casino, the casino is never in possession of player deposits. And that’s a really big differentiator. All the other systems use what’s called a cashless wagering account to store player deposits. We think this challenges casinos, because now they have to manage and secure cashless wagering account balances for all their players. I don’t think casinos want that burden.
You recently introduced the “TIBO” ticket, for ticket-in, bonus out. Can you tell us about that?
TIBO bonuses players from the ticket printer, which is pretty cool. Today, when you go into a casino and use the old-school TITO system, the only thing that that happens as far as the ticket printer goes is if you push the physical cash-out button, a cash-out voucher comes out. We can command the ticket printer outside of the slot machine, so our real-time data interface tells the ticket printer, “Print this bonus ticket for a player for this reason, and here’s the amount.” We can use the ticket printers as a really great way to communicate with players and do something that’s really never been done in the industry before—send them real-time offers and incentives.
Another of your new products is the Video Poker Analyzer, which gauges the skill of individual video poker players. How does that work?
We grade every player’s decision in real time, and we give you a summary of the player. We produce what’s called a mistake bank that takes all the player’s mistake values and sums them up. So, casinos can, first of all, stop marketing to these advantage players, and they can increase the marketing offers to the high-margin players, who are really the players that are going to move the needle.
The Acres Foundation casino management system has been groundbreaking in the data it has allowed operators to access. Tell us about the Foundation HQ platform.
Foundation HQ is our CMS platform. It works on our hardware, called Foundation, and Foundation HQ is the management system that we’re building. There are a ton of functionalities that are going to be built in there. It’s the first system that’s built in the big data and mobile era, versus what’s on the market today, from the desktop era, designed for snail mail and after-the-fact marketing. Foundation HQ can process any jackpot in four minutes or less, and that’s going to be groundbreaking for the industry. And we’ll do it in a way that involves employees and helps them actually increase their tips.