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Casinos

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TMs and ticket redemption kiosks dot casino floors across the coun- try, and several companies are transforming the way cash-dispensing stands operate. From check cashing and debit transactions to cash advances

and marketing, cash access corporations are turning simple ATMs into sophisti- cated machines.

FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE

There are a variety of new cash access services currently on the market, and more are being released each year. U.S. Bank first introduced check cashing on ATMs four years ago, and has

continued to expand the capabilities of the increasingly standard service due to high demand from casino operators. “Casinos are interested in innovative ways to reduce demand on cage per-

sonnel,” says Paul Nielsen, vice president and managing director of gaming serv- ices for U.S. Bank. “They’re also looking for ways to increase convenience for guests. They are looking for ways to increase cash to the floor. This solution delivers all on all of those needs simultaneously. It allows a migration of services away from the cage to the ATM or to the kiosk. The kiosks are located through- out the facility, so it increases convenience. Whenever convenience is increased, there’s potential for cash to the floor to be increased as well.” U.S. Bank provides check cashing in partnership with Global Payments, a

company that offers check guarantee and cash advance services to gaming opera- tors. Nielsen says U.S. Bank and Global Payments are currently developing a new check cashing-related service to introduce in the near future. Check services company Certegy also offers check cashing on its ECAGE

application, which is used by casino cage personnel. The company is currently working to develop the capability for casino patrons to access check cashing on kiosks on the gaming floor. “We do have the application developed to be able to offer check cashing

from a kiosk device on the floor that would work in conjunction with ECAGE, but we are currently in the process of certification testing,” says Mandi Hart, Certegy’s vice president of cash access product development. “We anticipate the product to be available to the market this summer.” Other companies have developed updated kiosks that provide ATM services

and ticket redemption in one machine. Automated Currency Instruments CEO Neal Jacobs says his company’s latest product, the PEK Plus, will be released June 1 with dozens of popular features. “It’s the next generation,” Jacobs says. “It provides TITO redemption. It

provides the cash advance functionality as well as player card enrollment, so that if somebody wants to enroll in the player club of the casino, they can do it right at that unit with a swipe of a driver’s license. We can reissue their loyalty card if they’ve forgotten it. It adds significant functionality.” ACI is also planning to make ATMs more entertaining for patrons. “One of the things we’re doing is trying to make the customer interaction at

36

Companies innovate with cash access products

By Caitlin McGarry

the kiosk more interactive, more involving for the consumer so it becomes part of the entertainment experience in the casino,” Jacobs says. “We hope to be able to show some of that at the G2E show in November. Some of the things we’re going to be doing involve the graphical user interface that the customer sees. We’ll have entertaining displays on the unit to keep the patron interested and entertained while he or she is waiting for the transaction to complete.” The move toward a cashless gaming floor

is becoming more of a reality with the advent of server-based gaming and ticket-in/ticket- out technology. Cash access provider Global Cash Access characterizes itself is a pioneer of cashless gaming, and is soon introducing its latest cashless product, QuikTicket. “When you play a slot machine,

when you cash out, you get a tick- et,” says GCA CEO Scott Betts. “When you get the ticket, you take the ticket to the next slot machine, and when you’re done playing, you take it to a redemp- tion device, which we also run, and redeem it. What QuikTicket allows you to do is go straight from an ATM transaction to a ticket. It really eliminates the cost and the potential for fraud and theft of having to cash out at the gam- ing machines.”

PREVENTING PROBLEMS

Cash access providers ensure extra security for their financial services, but they also offer precautionary options for problem gamblers. Certegy’s Gamblers Addiction

Intervention Network is an example of a program that allows casino employees to enter problem gam- blers’ information using the ECAGE application.

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