San Diego’s closest Tribal casino has become the world’s first location to go live with a Title 31 / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) solution created by Konami Gaming. Chris Faria, Executive Editor at Tribal Gaming & Hospitality Magazine interviewed leadership at Jamul Casino® and Konami Gaming, Inc. about the landmark debut of SYNK31 Title 31 / AML at the 200,000 square foot gaming destination.
According to Jamul Casino’s Chief Information Officer Josh Ford and Director of Compliance & Risk Teresa Martinez, Konami’s SYNK31 offered an all-in-one solution to their Title 31 compliance needs:
What gave you confidence about trying Konami’s Title 31/AML solution?
Josh Ford: I remember seeing SYNK31 back when it was just an idea on a PowerPoint three years ago. Konami sent its team to gather feedback from SYNKROS customers on what they liked and what they did not like about their Title 31 process. Since one of Konami’s leads on the project, John Shipley, was a former operator himself, he understood the struggles within the industry and set out to make a change.
Fast forward to our first demo of the product, we couldn’t believe it. Konami was showing us a live demo of the product they developed based on all of the operator feedback and it was fantastic. Seeing Konami’s vision go from presentation to a developed application made us realize that Konami is taking Title 31 seriously and that this will be the next game changer in the industry.
Teresa Martinez: SYNK31 provides us with a complete case management system. Jamul Casino is a fast-growing, innovative property, and in order to keep up with the demands of Title 31 reporting requirements, we needed a system that could connect seamlessly to our casino management system. SYNK31 appealed to us due to its ability to set up suspicious activity analytics/configurations as well as its ability to house all of our Title 31 reports (KYC, committee review, case notes, etc.).
What are some of the common issues you see with Title 31/AML systems?
Josh: The biggest issue I have always ran into in the past with Title 31 solutions is data integration. What better way to get over that hurdle by having the provider of the majority of your casino data be the provider of your Title 31 solution! Konami knows SYNKROS data better than anyone else, it’s a natural solution.
Teresa: Most Title 31 systems lack the suspicious activity analytics component, with SYNK31, its all-encompassing. Additionally, there’s no longer the need to develop spreadsheets to monitor continued suspicious activity, SYNK31 tracks it all for you.
What was your team’s experience with the rollout of SYNK31?
Josh: If I could sum it up in one word, I would have to say dedication. They were dedicated to getting the product right. Konami was checking in with us every step of the way, and we saw our ideas on a phone call get deployed right away.
Teresa: The launch of SYNK31 was a positive experience. Konami provided onsite support during go live, and worked tirelessly with our Compliance Department to ensure they were confident the data was accurate.
What stands out about the technology?
Josh: The ease of use. The application requires minimal end-user training as it just flows intuitively and makes sense.
Why is this important for the Tribal gaming space?
Teresa: Tribal gaming is always changing and evolving, and SYNK31 is the type of technology that can keep pace with the evolution of this industry.
As Konami Gaming’s Vice President of Systems Software Development Sathish Anantharaman explains, the development of this award-winning technology started at the property level:
How did Konami go about developing this technology?
Sathish Anantharaman: It all started by talking with casino operator customers. Our SYNKROS team hosts regular customer forums, and through those discoveries, we formed a very clear picture of what casino operators wanted to see. Focused meetings with multiple customers also helped us understand the struggles our customers were dealing with for multiple products and vendors to be compliant.
Next, we brought together a team at our Las Vegas headquarters to specifically focus on creating this Title 31 / AML system. For months they built it – top to bottom – in order to reflect casino needs and the robust system efficiency expected from a SYNKROS product.
Finally, at G2E Las Vegas 2019 we presented SYNK31 for the first time, as the world’s newest and comprehensive Title 31 / AML system.
What was the goal behind the creation of SYNK31?
Sathish: We wanted to create a Title 31 / AML system that was truly focused on efficiency, speed, connectedness, and consistency – all of which are key to enduring property compliance. Konami has been in the casino systems business with SYNKROS for two decades now, and we have the industry’s most reliable, real-time ecosystem because we built it from the ground-up as a single, non-forking code base environment with best-of-breed architecture from the financial industries and military industries.
Working with casino customers over the years, we’ve listened to issues surrounding Title 31 /AML compliance. The solutions out in the market struggle with disjointed interfaces, poor integrations, and features “frankensteined” together. Konami knows how to create technology to fix that, because those are exactly the issues that SYNKROS helps solve. We wanted to give casinos the ability to manage Title 31 / AML compliance from a single robust, ultra-reliable system.
What makes it different than other Title 31/AML solutions?
Sathish: Compared to other AML systems – which often store key case information such as reports, attachments, time stamped notes, and filed documents across various locations – SYNK31 stores and maintains all information for each patron/case in one location for true case management. SYNK31 is also equipped for direct API and/or data polling options with hospitality systems, POS systems, and more, in order to integrate data from multiple, mixed sources at one time. Using one seamless login, casino employees with SYNK31 can complete all the forms and reports necessary for compliance, including the Multiple Transaction Log (MTL) Form, Negotiable Instrument Log (NIL) Form, Suspicious Activity Incident (SAI) Report Form, Currency Transaction Report (CTR), Know Your Customer (KYC) Reviews, and much more. All necessary AML information is captured and compiled with near real-time results. SYNK31 also alerts permissioned reviewers and supervisors when a CTR or SAR may need to be filed or a KYC review may need to be completed, in order to ensure all filing requirements are addressed by the employees responsible. In addition, it stores all data, alerts, attachments, and dispositions for a minimum of five years, as a reliable archive for ongoing property reference, review, and protection. These are the features casinos wanted to see, and these are the features provided now with SYNK31.
What made Jamul Casino a leading location for the first ever launch?
Sathish: Jamul Casino has a demonstrated track-record and vision when it comes to new technology. This Tribal organization is passionate about innovating the casino experience to drive long-term benefits to its guests, team members, and community. The leadership at Jamul Casino is highly strategic and creative about advancing its reach in the highly competitive Southern California market.
What types of casino properties can use SYNK31?
Sathish: SYNK31 is highly scalable, to suit gaming venues of all sizes, and even multi-property portfolios. Today, we’re prioritizing SYNKROS customers for first access to SYNK31 Title 31 / AML. But we have plans to also offer it to non-SYNKROS properties, so casinos that use other casino management systems can take advantage of it too.
What does SYNK31 say about the future of systems technology?
Sathish: We hear a lot about creating a “seamless” experience for casino players. This is true and absolutely important for the future of casino technology. But I think you will also hear more about creating seamless technology environments for casino operators, on the management and administration side. There is a real business impact when internal teams are coaxing old, disjointed technology systems – in terms of training, data loss, troubleshooting, repair and maintenance. That is time and energy possibly better spent on advancing business objectives and market competitiveness.
Those interested in learning more about Konami’s award-winning SYNK31 and its SYNKROS casino management system are encouraged to contact Randy Caron at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete Konami’s SYNKROS contact request form at https://www.gaming.konami.com/systems/ContactUs.aspx.