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The Cashless Touch

Vendors continue to provide technology combinations to facilitate cashless, contactless casino play

The Cashless Touch

Kiosks and contactless devices were bound to intersect sooner or later in the gaming world.

And the pandemic made it sooner.

Their accelerated presence occurs while operators try to put Covid-19 in the rearview mirror. The growth of self-service technology already had spiked demand for a touchless experience in varied industries. The pandemic of 2019-20 sped up this trend, from a health angle. Safety needs, deployed via smartphone, enable customers to gamble without touching slot machines and kiosks.

Vendors address both the need for funds-access speed and a health safety net. Kiosks and contactless devices have never meant more for each other.

Arsenal of Solutions

If necessity is the mother of invention, then innovation is a niece or nephew. Darren Simmons, the executive vice president and fintech business leader for Everi, touts the company’s ability to adapt to the Covid-19 effect on casinos.

“With the rapid spread of Covid-19, casino operators had to rethink how they interact and engage with their patrons, so they feel they have the experience they want but in a safe and secure environment,” he says.

Everi has been delivering self-service kiosk solutions, across multiple products, to casino operators for years. The pandemic has driven greater adoption of these services by casino patrons, who want cashless loyalty solutions and cashless payment options, according to Simmons.

“The pandemic has not eliminated the use of cash in casinos,” he says. “But it has contributed to an increase in the use of digital wallets and contactless payments and has pushed operators towards a new cashless paradigm. Everi wants to be a part of the solution by leveraging the infrastructure casinos have built over the years with self-service kiosks, which has created a foundation that will contribute to the natural evolution towards contactless and cashless options.”

QuikTicket, for example, has gained tremendous traction with casino operators and their patrons in both commercial and tribal gaming jurisdictions, he says.

“QuikTicket allows patrons to access funds through a simple and quick cashless, self-service ticket purchase at our kiosks that they can put directly into an EGM,” Simmons explains. “Many casinos made the implementation of QuikTicket a priority for their reopenings and expansions. Our goal is to provide gaming patrons the same ability, comfort and convenience to load, retrieve, and unload funds that they experience with other funding applications like a kiosk, ATM or the casino cage.”

Simmons also touts the Everi CashClub Wallet. This product enables casino customers to deliver integrated digital patron experiences alongside current solutions by leveraging their existing investments in infrastructure like kiosks and operations with the addition of “Casino BaaS” (“Banking as a Service”) capabilities and advanced financial technology.

“The goal is to create a funding experience all while still providing customers with multiple options to access funds while on the casino floor, whether it is with a mobile device or interacting with a kiosk,” Simmons says.

“Existing controls, processes, and favorite guest interactions are extending to include—but not mandate—new digital ones. From touchless TITO (ticket in, ticket out) dispense to moving funds from your personal account to retail, gaming or online endpoints, Everi makes it easy. Most of all, regardless of the touchpoint, Everi will act as the broker for movement of funds and reduces risk and overhead for the casino.”

Everi has launched a multi-purpose kiosk—its Prelude series—that maximizes space with a compact physical footprint. It can be mounted or stand alone with a pedestal kit. The Prelude series not only supports cashless payment solutions, but also delivers Everi’s Loyalty Engagement promotional services with full mobile options as well.

Simmons says Everi has unveiled a modern version of its CXC series, 5.0S, that provides a single screen for marketing content as well providing traditional functionality like ATM, ticket redemption and bill breaking. “All of these new products are fully integrated with our AML Compliance, Giving Module and CashClub solutions that allow properties to move cage-based transactions to the casino floor,” he says.

Stability With Mobility

Global Payments Gaming Solutions produced its own product lineup to address the pandemic.

“The global pandemic emphasized the immediate need for cashless, contactless solutions on the casino floor,” says Christopher Justice, president of Global Payments Gaming Solutions. “As an industry leader, Global Payments answered that call and leveraged its existing technology within VIP Mobility and VIP Financial Center to meet the needs of all patrons, regardless of their preferred method of funding.”

“Cashless gaming shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ offering, which treats all customers the same. Our solutions are tailored to the individual needs of our operating partners and the individual desires of their end users.”

Prior to the pandemic, contactless payment methods were considered an opportunity to meet consumers’ evolving preferences rather than a necessity, he asserts. But the global health crisis fueled the need for safe, contactless payment methods as patrons returned to the casino floor.

Most competitors drive a singular user experience; however, Global Payments’ solution caters to the preference of patrons who use cash as well as those who prefer a cashless experience, according to Justice.

VIP Mobility and VIP Financial Center are powered by Global Payments’ VIP Preferred e-check network. By harnessing the convenience, flexibility and ease of Global Payments’ groundbreaking VIP Preferred e-check network, plus functions like e-check and Choice 4 deferred settlement, today’s guests can transfer funds directly from their VIP Preferred balance to their favorite game with the touch of a screen.

Justice says VIP Mobility is the culmination of efforts since 2018 to leverage mobile technology and transform the gaming experience for patrons and operators. VIP Mobility is the industry’s first mobile solution enabling true cashless and contactless gaming from funding through cash-out. VIP Mobility was designed to solve a number of problems for patrons and casino operators alike, he indicates.

“For patrons, a common pain point in gaming is waiting in line at the ATM or cage to fund their game,” Justice says. “However, VIP Mobility enables patrons to skip the line and access funds directly from their phone. In 2020, Downstream Casino & Resort made VIP Mobility available to its patrons. Since the solution went live, several patrons have described the VIP Mobility app as fast, easy to use, convenient, and secure.”

Customers are generally impressed with the ability to transfer funds, keep funds on the app and go from machine to machine, according to feedback reported by the company.

With VIP Mobility and VIP Financial Center, casino operators are empowered to leverage a multi-channel approach, allowing patrons to use the same account and funds across multiple casinos and channels. By embracing system-agnostic solutions, like VIP Mobility, as well as VIP Preferred and VIP Financial Center kiosks, casinos can tap the flexibility needed to modernize their payment infrastructure to deliver the alternative, cashless experience that many patrons prefer.

In 2020, Global Payments Gaming Solutions created VIP Financial Center to help casinos combat fraud while remaining compliant in the process. VIP Financial Center is the industry’s first true, full-service solution that provides convenient self-service TITO tickets, bill breaking, e-check, ATM and cash advance capabilities to casino guests, Justice says.

VIP Financial Center’s LightSpeed Kiosk series has been carefully designed to provide robust service capability, high dependability, easy serviceability, enhanced security, and an easy-to-use, consumer-friendly interface all in a slim profile design. This enables casinos to achieve maximum value for the floor space occupied by their kiosk solution, while saving more room for revenue-producing slot machines or table games.

JOINGO-ing the Party

Sightline Payments acquired Joingo, the leading mobile engagement and loyalty platform for the gaming industry, earlier this year to help enhance Sightline’s product offerings.

It was a smart pickup.

Joingo’s mobile app solution is used by nearly 100 casinos nationally, according to Kirk Olson, senior vice president, mobile, for Sightline.

“The mobile app allows patrons to fund their cashless wagering, connect to slots and table games, hotel check in/out, view folio, keyless entry, room controls, and view their loyalty rewards account balances and personalized promotional offers,” he says. “It also gives them the ability to find their favorite games on the casino floor and make restaurant reservations with just a few taps.

“A mobile-first experience is one that Americans have come to expect in their daily lives—whether in banking, airline travel, stocks, or ordering coffee,” Olson adds. “Joingo complements Sightline’s leading Play+ wagering account by providing customers with greater utility and an enhanced user experience.”

The marriage of Joingo and Play+ first launched at Resorts World Las Vegas, the Strip’s newest casino, in late June. Guests using the Resorts World Las Vegas mobile app, powered by Joingo, can now access their virtual loyalty card, view their loyalty points in real time, make reservations for amenities across the property, and wager on slots and table games using their cashless accounts.

Users of Joingo’s solution do not need to worry about remembering to bring their physical loyalty card or stopping by loyalty kiosks when visiting Resorts World Las Vegas.

“Sightline’s approach is a software-driven mindset,” Olson asserts. “We believe our clients should be able to easily integrate a mobile app solution with their gaming and retail systems in a cost-effective manner—as opposed to purchasing and maintaining hardware and kiosks across the floor. This is similar to the approach that airlines are now taking, where they are removing video screens on flights and offering in-flight entertainment via their app because they know everyone will have a mobile device with them.”

Olson indicates that because of societal shifts toward contactless options—whether via QR-code menus, tap-and-go payments, or use of mobile wallets—the market for Joingo’s loyalty and engagements solutions has increased dramatically over the past 18 months.

“Casinos for many years have lagged behind other industries in the use of mobile apps because of one key problem: lack of utility,” he says. “Today, Joingo’s mobile app can transform a guest’s experience by providing them with the ability to access whatever they need right within the app, be it checking in to their hotel room, generating a mobile key, accessing their offers for their stay, making reservations for a show or dinner, or accessing their cashless gaming account to wager on the casino floor.”

This utility can also revolutionize loyalty and personalization for operators. Olson says the gaming industry spent more than $600 million on promotional mailers sent to their guests last year. These direct mail efforts are costly in printing and posting, along with being slow to arrive. By leveraging the app, casinos can easily deliver an offer to a patron in real time based off their location, spending behavior, and gaming worth, he indicates.

“The mobile-driven data, which casinos collect about their customers, can dramatically improve their marketing strategies,” Olson says. “This information can also be used to forge partnerships with other businesses where customers are spending their time and can be used to drive visitation to your resort.

“The ability to combine the key functions of a kiosk with loyalty cards and tracking along with the leading cashless funding solution in Play+ creates tremendous opportunity for operators to have a one-stop shop for their mobile and cashless gaming needs via Sightline’s suite of products.”

Sightline is expected to launch additional products into this space in the coming months.

Riding the Cashless Train

Officials for FABICash, also known as FABI, say the company has been awarded corporate contracts for Churchill Downs, Golden Nugget and Maverick. It is now in more than 200 U.S. casinos coast to coast.

The company recognizes the new reality of responsible gaming. It has partnered with the major gaming, sports betting and POS platform providers to facilitate a fully cashless gaming experience through FABIWallet, which allows the patron to play at slot machines and tables, place sports bets and play online without the need for a cage or kiosk visit.

All transactions integrate into its compliance Title31 tracking solution, FABITrack, making it a true omnichannel cash access, mobile wallet and compliance solution. FABIWallet is one of a fleet of products the company has directed at this sector. Here is an overview of some of them.

FABICash: The company’s team of in-house software engineers designed a fully PCI-

compliant, web-based product that is easy to use, customizable, efficient and fast. The FABICash platform has achieved 100 percent up-time, making it the most reliable cash access solution on the market, officials say.

FABITrack is the company’s Title 31 AML compliance program that conveniently interfaces with all gaming platforms. It aggregates all player activity for a particular gaming day and easily creates a CTR batch e-filing with direct connect to FinCEN.

Mobile Jackpot electronically processes jackpot payouts in real time, from a Clover mobile device or PC workstation—multiple payout options, including the multi-function kiosk with TITO bill break, ATM and e-check processing.

Throughout the industry, companies continue to embrace unofficial industry code. Make funds access easy. Make it fast. And make it safe.

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.