By Ryan Reddy, IGT Vice President Systems and Payment Products
Now more than ever, casino operators are turning to suppliers for insights and innovations that will enable them to thrive in today’s “new normal.” Casino resorts, large and small, have been forced to re-examine all aspects of their operations and to identify services and technologies that will position them for long-term success. Although it remains to be seen exactly what will drive success on casino floors in the post-COVID-19 era, it is abundantly clear that providing patrons with options to reduce their dependency on close personal interactions and handling cash are imperative.
During the long days of temporarily shuttered casinos, IGT has been working side-by-side with its customers to illuminate how its IGT ADVANTAGE casino management system (CMS) and its portfolio of mobile products can help promote cashless, cardless and contactless casino experiences.
Recently, I spoke on Raving On Air with CEO, Deana Scott to share how IGT technologies can drive operational efficiencies and help patrons feel more safe and secure when casinos re-open. Here’s the background.
It is well established that most consumers are accustomed to leveraging cashless and contactless technologies to navigate many facets of their daily lives. Everything from banking to learning, grocery shopping and socializing are now readily facilitated via mobile, personal devices. The current pandemic however has catapulted the relevance of mobile technology into new areas. IGT customers who once viewed mobile technologies as “nice to haves” are now contacting us and seeking advice on how to best leverage them within their enterprises. Similarly, our current IGT mobile systems product users are interested in learning how to maximize their technology to bolster customer confidence and comfort in the post-COVID-19 era.
IGT has considered mobile technology and conveniences as important extensions of the traditional casino experience for many years. Motivated by the possibilities for enhanced marketing automation, optimization, efficiencies and more, the gaming industry now has the additional reasons of player safety and well-being to leverage mobile systems technology. Our customers are eager to understand how they can enhance their IGT ADVANTAGE CMS to reduce their patrons’ and staff’s reliance on handling cash and to promote an environment where social distancing is achievable and acceptable.
We’ve developed the award-winning IGT ADVANTAGE Player Experience Suite of products to deliver the same effortless experience to casino patrons that they currently enjoy elsewhere in their daily lives. Together, the three components in this suite — Cardless Connect, Intelligent Offer, and Resort Wallet with IGTPay — enable a player to enter a property and immediately engage in play while accruing loyalty points and receiving targeted offers. The seamless experience allows a player to engage on a personal mobile device while eliminating the need to interface with a casino’s service team, directly handle cash, or insert a player loyalty card into an EGM. These are real, market-ready products and some of them, such as Cardless Connect and IGTPay, are deployed with some of the most sophisticated operators in the world. Each product serves a specific need and together they create an ecosystem that eliminates the need for trips to high-contact areas within a casino such as players clubs, casino cages, ATMs and offers kiosks.
Cardless Connect is a simple app, or feature within a casino app, that replaces the traditional plastic players card with an electronic version that is stored on a player’s mobile device. Intelligent Offer enables operators to send personalized offers and promotions directly to a patron’s mobile device, eliminating the need for rack cards, vouchers, etc. Resort Wallet, a product that allows for pure cashless transactions throughout the resort, and when paired with IGTPay, offers a truly dynamic combination. IGTPay leverages our proven payment gateway technology with the support and services of our experienced Payment team. It connects the player to secure external funding sources such as credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, and eWallets. This enables the player to safely and easily move funds electronically in and out of their Resort Wallet casino player account, then use the funds to make cashless transactions at gaming machines. With IGTPay, IGT is the merchant of record, and manages the external funding function from end-to-end while providing a fully turnkey solution that enables the operator to focus on the rest of the casino operation.
IGT has developed an additional trio of products that enable operators to remotely and efficiently perform a variety of essential casino functions. IGT ADVANTAGE modules Taxable Accrual, Mobile Responder and Machine Accounting are operational tools that also promote social distancing in the casino environment. For example, Taxable Accrual enables players to process their own hand pay jackpots at a slot machine, without the assistance of an attendant. Mobile Responder is a tool that sends automatic notifications of EGM events directly to a service team member’s mobile device. This reduces the need for attendants to constantly stroll the floor within close proximity to players and games. We recently added sanitation notification functionality to this module that enables service attendants to log, track and schedule EGM cleaning. In addition to these technologies, IGT Machine Accounting gives operators the option to enable and disable slot machines from their desktop, similarly allowing for less in-person interaction and device contact on the casino floor.
In these difficult times, we want our customers to feel confident that IGT is committed to their long-term success. They can take comfort in knowing that we never stop innovating, solving problems or creating opportunities on their behalf. Our experienced team can help our IGT ADVANTAGE users determine which IGT solutions can best help them achieve their business objectives and provide their players with the best possible casino environment.