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Embrace Cashless in Your Casino

Prepare for the inevitable adoption and implementation of a virtual wallet.

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Casinos often face challenges around cashless technology:

  • Your property is unable to offer a variety of payment options for guests.
  • Your organization's leadership has not yet bought into the idea of a cashless guest experience.
  • Your competitors for hospitality and entertainment dollars are already providing low-friction cashless payment options.
  • The gaming industry is not providing clarity around which cashless methods exist and how they should be pursued in a legally acceptable way.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The cashless casino is a necessary modernization initiative that can be realized when digital and mobile strategies intersect.
  • Properties need to prepare to offer virtual wallets or risk negative impacts to their operational efficiencies, guest expectations, revenue, and regulatory mandates.

Impact and Result

  • Identify the value of a cashless casino to your organization and communicate that value to gain leadership buy-in.
  • Ensure your organization has considered all the potential roadblocks to going cashless and identified possible solutions to overcoming them.
  • Select a cashless casino approach that will be well-received by the organization and your guests.

Embrace Cashless in Your Casino Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should embrace (or prepare to embrace) cashless virtual wallets at your casino. Review Info-Tech’s methodology and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Cashless Is Queen

Understand the benefits of cashless technology for your casino property and guests. Map how virtual wallets will impact guest and operational experiences.

2. Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Cashless

Align with your key stakeholders to ensure operational staff and guests are educated to adopt and embrace cashless technology. Assess the impact of adopting virtual wallets on your property’s technological health and risk management.

3. Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors

Understand the role of casino management system providers and payment solution providers in enabling virtual gaming wallets, including the various options that are available through several vendors.

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Embrace Cashless in Your Casino

Prepare for the inevitable adoption and implementation of a virtual wallet.

Table of Contents

3 Executive Brief 52 Step 2.1: Aligning With Key Stakeholders
4 Analyst Perspective 74 Phase 3: Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors
5 Executive Summary 75 Step 3.1: Casino Management System Providers
23 Phase 1: Cashless Is Queen 85 Step 3.2: Payment Solution Providers
24 Step 1.1: Cashless Across the Property 94 Summary of Accomplishment
35 Step 1.2: Mapping the Impact of Cashless 95 Additional Support
50 Phase 2: Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Cashless 99 Bibliography

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Modernizing how guests pay to play is a must.

Making the choice to pursue cashless should not be done half-heartedly or simply to keep up with your competitors’ offerings. Selecting a cashless vendor is like selecting a CMS. Your property will be intertwining itself with the vendor, impacting the way your property operates and your guests play for years to come. Ensure you select a vendor that will support the direction your property is moving in for the next five to 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic may have made cashless a more prominent component of your casino’s digital, mobile, and/or customer experience strategies, but that does not mean it should be rushed to completion. If anything, COVID-19 has highlighted how important it is to implement this properly.

In the end, though, your property will inevitably need to adopt cashless virtual wallets to stay relevant in the competitive hospitality and entertainment industry. Prepare for that moment by understanding how all the components and stakeholders of cashless interact.

Photo of Larry Fretz, Practice Lead, Gaming & Hospitality (GHRC), Info-Tech Research Group. Larry Fretz
Practice Lead, Gaming & Hospitality (GHRC)
Info-Tech Research Group
Photo of Brittany Lutes, Research Analyst, Gaming & Hospitality, Info-Tech Research Group. Brittany Lutes
Research Analyst, Gaming & Hospitality
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge
  • You are unable to offer the necessary variety of payment options for guests.
  • The organization’s leadership has not bought into the idea of a cashless guest experience.
  • Your hospitality and entertainment competitors are already providing low-friction cashless payment options.
  • The industry is not providing clarity around which cashless methods exist how and they can be pursued in a legally acceptable way.
Common Obstacles
  • The presence of virtual wallets in North American casinos was practically non-existent prior to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Selecting the right method and vendor to support your preferred method can be challenging.
  • A cashless casino needs to be an imbedded component of your property’s overall digital and mobile strategies.
  • The expected adoption of cashless technology and virtual wallets by guests was originally perceived to be quite low.
Info-Tech’s Approach
  • Identify the value of a cashless casino to your organization and be able to communicate that value with leadership to gain buy-in.
  • Ensure your organization has considered all the potential roadblocks to going cashless and identified possible solutions to overcoming these obstacles.
  • Select a cashless casino approach that will be well-received by the organization and your guests.

Info-Tech Insight

The cashless casino is a necessary modernization initiative that can be realized when digital and mobile strategies intersect. Properties need to prepare to offer virtual wallets or risk negative impacts to their operational efficiencies, guest expectations, revenue generation, and regulatory mandates.

Your challenge

This research is designed to help casino operators that are facing cashless challenges.
  • Casino properties have been unwilling and/or unable to modernize their payment options for guests for several years, despite other hospitality and entertainment industry competitors (as well as society in general) increasingly going digital.
  • There has been an ongoing lack of interest in modernizing payment methods on the part of casino executive leadership.
  • It’s relatively unclear what types of cashless methods exist, meet regulatory requirements, are user-friendly, and are likely to be easily adopted by guests.
  • One operator indicated they were facing “two years of digital adoption in two months once COVID-19 hit.”(TribalNet, Cashless Casino Session, 2020)
Casinos are unique from other entertainment venues – they have always asked their customers to exchange their cash for alternative forms of payment: chips, tokens, and even tickets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance our efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives.”

(Bill Miller, AGA’s President and CEO (Source: Perry, 2020))

Common obstacles

These barriers make this challenge difficult to address for many organizations:
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on the gaming industry in North America to adopt safe gaming practices, and cashless gaming is one of those practices.
  • Cashless gaming cannot be a standalone strategy. It needs to be an embedded component of the organization’s overall digital and customer experience strategies, which will require significant cross-department collaboration.
  • Issues around privacy, responsible gaming, anti-money laundering, and guests’ lack of knowledge of and capability in using digital tools have prevented cashless gaming from being adopted. So the implementation of cashless gaming in North America is still a relatively unknown undertaking.
  • Organizations are reluctant to invest in virtual wallets, since this technology has little known research on how it will likely be adopted.
Your property cannot afford to avoid payment modernization.

72% — Percentage of all respondents that indicated they were “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to use cashless payments, if available. (Source: Yogonet Gaming News, 2020)

26 million — The number of mobile transactions Starbucks had in the first year it launched a virtual wallet—in 2010. (Source: Starbucks, 2011)

Concept model for 'Embrace Cashless in your Casino', 'Cashless casino is a necessary modernization initiative that is realized through the intersection of a property's mobile and digital strategies.' Main branches off of 'Cashless Casino' are 'Improved Guest Experience', 'Realized Operational Efficiencies', 'Optimized Technology Capabilities', 'Enhanced Risk Management', and 'Payment Processing/Clearing'.

What is considered “cashless?”

A form of contactless payment

Other terms being used for cashless:

  • Virtual wallet: E-Wallets are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which will provide a money transmitter license.
  • Cardless casino: The most well-known term and related to IGT’s platform, this technology enables the guest to leverage their mobile device as a form of loyalty card and digital wallet.
  • Virtual casino: Uninhibited by the walls of a traditional casino, a virtual casino enables guests to play both the casino’s on-premises and online games from the same virtual wallet.

$1.5 Trillion — The projected worth of U.S. contactless payments by 2024 (Source: Juniper Research, 2020)

Sources:
Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.
Gruetze, 2018.
Bontempo, 2020.
The Associated Press, "Casinos push for cashless gambling payments,” 2020.

Definition: The process of enabling customers to engage in various forms of casino games without needing to handle physical cash funds.

Payments being leveraged:

  • Debit
  • Credit
  • Apply Pay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • Electronic Fund Transfer/ACH
  • Pre-funded card
  • Casino credit markers

The importance of cashless

Why should your casino be discussing its implementation and adoption?
  • While conversations about cashless might have become more frequent due to safety concerns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is the world was already increasingly becoming cashless.
  • The gaming industry, which is notoriously slow with regards to digital adoption, can now demonstrate to their guests that they can provide the cashless technology necessary for easy playing.
  • While the example of Starbucks’ mobile payment is infamous, they hardly have the legal, financial, or regulatory compliance obligations that casinos have.
  • Making purchasing gaming credits or chips as easy as ordering morning coffee shows guests that their experiences matter.
  • The original reason why ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) systems were so readily accepted was the added convenience. No longer were guests required to carry around buckets or pockets full of coins and bills. Cashless gaming will have similar appeal.
“From an operator perspective, the cashless solution improves player engagement, personalizes marketing, and reduces the friction in onboarding younger demographics.” (Dave Bontempo, 2020)

Timeline of cashless

Casinos have been cashless for a long time.

Introduction of TITO technology

1993

Cashless on cruise casinos via folio charges

2015

COVID-19 pandemic forces payment modernization

2020

1998-2000

Adoption and acceptance of TITO

2018

Sports betting legalized in the US

2021

First virtual wallet approved for gaming in Nevada

Sources:
IGT, 2002.
Muheir, n.d.
Ordine, 2020.
Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.

Generations of digital natives

Timeline outlining the history of technology and generations that are considered digital natives. 'Millennials (1981-1996)' and 'Generation Z (1997-2012)' are highlighted with the note '50.7% of the US population are digital natives'.

Sources:
Dimock, 2019.
Starbucks, 2011.
Scott-Briggs, 2016.
Britannica, “Personal Computer.”
Britannica, “Facebook.”
Computer History Museum, 2020.
Computer Hope. 2019.
Internet Hall of Fame, n.d.
Motorola Solutions, n.d.

Who will adopt cashless?

Better yet, who will embrace it?

  • The adoption of virtual wallets will become easier as more generations who grew up in the digital era gain purchasing power.
  • Digital natives, including members of Generation Z (born 1997–2016) and Millennials (born 1981–1996) have only ever lived in a digital world. This makes the adoption of cashless technology easier for them. As a result, more than half (50.7%) of the US population will soon expect cashless payment options for all transactions.
  • That being said, don’t discredit the likelihood of Baby Boomers and members of Generation X adopting and even embracing virtual wallets.
  • Cell phones and apps are being used by people of all generations. This became even more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people went online to work, socialize, and order food and other goods.

Embracers

Sports bettors in the US:
  • Are mostly males ages 23 to 34.
  • Are likely to have an annual income of $50K or more (69%).
  • Are active social media users.
  • Overlap a lot with the eSports audience.
American Millennials:
  • Are 24.5% of the US population (i.e. 83 million Americans are Millennials).
  • Continue to gain more disposable income as they age.
  • Are not interested in traditional casino gambling but spend money and time on food, drink, and other entertainment.

Sources:
Henricks, 2019.
Eventbrite, n.d.
The Yale Tribune, 2018.
Fry, 2020.

The perfect storm

Now is the time to encourage virtual wallet adoption in the casino environment.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a big push for contactless, cashless payment methods, but the demand for cashless was already underway before then. It is simply being amplified by an increasingly digital society and the pandemic.
  • There are entire generations of digital natives that make up more than half of the US population. They already are or soon will be legal gambling age and are gaining more purchasing power each year.
  • People will want the option to engage in (physically) safe methods of play during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Society has become more digitally inclined, which makes the idea of a virtual wallet less of a mystery.
  • On-premises and digital gaming have converged, and players want to continue to see this convergence enhanced.
“The world is moving further and further away from cash, and there will be a point when it comes to a case of join in or get left behind.” (Ethan Baker, 2020)

Info-Tech Insight

Remember not all your guests will want to embrace cashless. There will be many loyal guests who are still drawn to using their cash at your casino. Providing cashless methods of payment should not interfere with this segment of your market. Additionally, appeasing this segment should not prevent your organization from pursing modern payment methods for those who expect low-friction digital transactions.

Info-Tech’s methodology for Embracing Cashless in Your Casino

1. Cashless Is Queen 2. Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Cashless 3. Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors
Phase Steps
  1. Cashless Across the Property
  2. Mapping the Impact of Cashless
  1. Aligning With Key Stakeholders
  1. Casino Management System Providers
  2. Payment Solution Providers
Phase Outcomes This phase will help you get a holistic view on why cashless is so important to your property not only from a guest experience perspective, but also from an operations perspective. Reflect on the key challenges and identify how they can be overcome when adopting cashless with regards to your operations, guests, technology, and required regulations. Determine what limitations or gaps exist with your current CMS solution and decide if your property is prepared to move forward with cashless now or if you should wait.

Insight summary

Overarching insight

Cashless casino is a necessary modernization initiative that can be realized when digital and mobile strategies intersect. Properties need to prepare to offer virtual wallets or risk negative impacts to their operational efficiencies, guest expectations, revenue, and regulatory mandates.

Phase 1 insight

Cashless casinos are not a silo. Other aspects and amenities on the property can and should be included to provide a holistic guest experience.

Phase 2 insight

Before embracing virtual wallets in your casino, your property needs to prepare by actively working with regulators and governing bodies to overcome expected roadblocks, as well as any new ones that are uncovered throughout the implementation process.

Phase 3 insight

Be mindful of the vendor and the cashless technology your property chooses to move forward with. After selecting one, you will not be able to switch vendors easily or cheaply.

Tactical insight

Highlight the value of cashless by identifying the various components of your cashless system and how switching to cashless will lead to a reduction in fees elsewhere across the business.

Tactical insight

Partner with the stakeholders who might otherwise be potential roadblocks to pursuing cashless. Given that this is new territory for so many stakeholders, groups such as regulators might be looking to you for support during implementation.

Tactical insight

Selecting vendors for cashless may not as difficult as it appears. Depending on the CMS provider that your property is currently leveraging, you will likely continue to lean on them and integrate with one of the few third-party payment providers.

Key deliverable:

Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Leverage the activities and outputs of this blueprint to demonstrate your casino’s need for a virtual gaming wallet and drive consensus.

Sample of key deliverable 'Cashless Casino Decision Point Template'.

Blueprint deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

Outline Operational Benefits

Demonstrate the operational benefits that can be realized when adopting a virtual wallet.
Sample of the 'Outline Operational Benefits' deliverable.

Enable Guest Adoption

Plan to involve and teach guests how to use your virtual gaming wallet.
Sample of the 'Enable Guest Adoption' deliverable.

Account for Technology Limitations

Address technology concerns before moving forward with a virtual wallet and understand your current limits.
Sample of the 'Account for Technology Limitations' deliverable.

Prepare for New Regulations

Actively consider how new regulations will create new risks to be assessed and responded to accordingly.
Sample of the 'Prepare for New Regulations' deliverable.

Blueprint benefits

IT Benefits

  • Your property’s technology stack will likely have to be updated to modern versions of software and hardware to enable the successful rollout of your virtual wallet technology.
  • This project ensures IT is seen as a valuable partner in the success of the business and increases IT’s representation during business decisions.
  • You will invest in and develop technology that enables a holistic guest experience.

Business Benefits

  • You will be able to increase the methods in which guests can leverage funds and play at your casino.
  • Operational efficiencies that come with cashless payment include being able to reduce staff and equipment required to operate the cash side of the business.
  • The virtual wallet enables access to data that can be leveraged to personalize the guest experience and enhance the delivery of your services.

Measure the value of this blueprint

Determine if there is value in your property adopting cashless now.
  • Implementing a virtual wallet should have a positive impact on your property in various ways, including:
    • Operational efficiencies
    • Increase in revenue
    • Optimized guest experience
  • Throughout this blueprint, we will examine how your property can determine if these impacts and their measured value would be reason enough to pursue cashless now.
  • The Track Metrics slide explores some of the different metrics that can be used to measure the impact of cashless.
$261.4 Billion — Annual value of business sales in the US gaming industry (Source: AGA, 2018.)

Track Metrics

Track these metrics throughout this project to keep stakeholders informed.

As the project nears completion, aim for:
  • A decrease in time, effort, and spend on managing and monitoring cash.
  • An increase in guest dollars spent per trip.
  • An increase in player data collected that can be leveraged to enable personalization.
Type Metric Current Expected
Operational Reduction in currency transaction reports (especially related to AML) 20 15
Operational Reduction in number of staff required for cash counting and reconciliation 12 (per shift) 8 (per shift)
Operational Reduction in cost of purchasing and/or maintaining technology related to cash management $1.3 million $900,000
Operational Reduction in the amount the business spends on ATM fees $438,239 $337,618
Operational Reduction in the number of cage drops/pick-ups 24 18
Financial Increase in the average amount spent at the property per guest per trip $2,475 $3,290
Financial Increase in the length of stay per guest 2 days 3 days
Guest Increase in the amount and quality of guest data available Demographic only Demographic and behavioral

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation

Workshop

Consulting

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is between 6 to 10 calls over the course of 2 to 4 months.

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Call #1: Discuss cashless casino and gain an understanding of where your organization is currently. Call #2: Create a Cashless Working Group.

Call #3: Identify your cashless market segments.

Call #4: Conduct a journey map and calculate the impact of ATM fees on your business.

Call #5: Create an education plan and identify which market segments should be leveraged in a focus group.

Call #6: Determine your current technology’s health, opportunities, threats.

Call #7: Actively consider new regulations and update your Risk Manual.

Call #8: Determine which vendors your property will leverage for cashless technology.

Call #9: Decide whether to move forward with cashless technology now or wait.

Embracing Cashless in Your Casino

Phase 1

Cashless Is Queen

Phase 1

1.1 Cashless Across the Property

1.2 Mapping the Impact of Cashless

Phase 2

2.1 Aligning with Key Stakeholders

Phase 3

3.1 Casino Management System Providers

3.2 Payment Solution Providers

This phase will guide you through the following activities:

  • Create a Cashless Working Group
  • Identify your Cashless Segment
  • Develop Journey Maps
  • Losing or Gaining with ATM and Cash Access Fees

This phase involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • Cashless Working Group
  • Marketing Director/Chief Marketing Officer
  • CEO
  • CRO
  • CFO
  • COO

Step 1.1

Cashless Across the Property

Activities
  • 1.1.1 Create Your Cashless Working Group

This step will guide you through the following activities:

  • Create Your Cashless Working Group

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CMO
  • Other cashless stakeholders (as appropriate)
Outcomes of this step
  • Understand why cashless is important for your organization.
  • Establish a working group to provide direction and clarity around the process
Cashless Is Queen
Step 1.1 Step 1.2

If Cash Is King Then Cashless Is Queen

  • Cashless technology enables the guest to move around the property freely and effortlessly — the same way the queen moves around the chess board.
  • The autonomy that guests experience with virtual wallets cannot be overlooked and will be critical to their adoption.
  • The gaming industry has been grounded in the idea of customers using cash – or better yet, exchanging that cash for currency only valuable in the casino. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made the importance of cashless clear.
  • Enabling cashless payments prepares the property to welcome guests who have been hesitant to enter a casino since the onslaught of COVID-19.
  • Additionally, virtual wallets can enable guests to pay for all their resort purchases for their entire trip.
  • Most importantly, the adoption of cashless does not remove the ability to use cash for those players that choose to do so.
  • It simply provides an alternative means of payment that is more valuable and convenient for a particular segment of your market.
Chess pieces with a black queen, rook, and pawn, surrounding a toppled white king.

AGA’s support for cashless

“The no. 1 principle from the AGA is to equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly.” (Howard Stutz, 2020)
  • Obtaining regulatory approval for cashless technology is a key concern for most properties.
  • Regulators are looking to the AGA for guidance and the go-ahead to move forward with modern payment options.
  • For example, the Nevada Gaming Control Board stopped prohibiting cashless systems in 2020 and is now willing to test and approve systems.
  • IGT’s “Resort Wallet” carded cashless solution received approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board in January 2021.

Sources:
Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.
Mulheir, n.d.
AGA, 2020.

In May 2020, the AGA provided guidelines on how the industry can move forward with cashless by outlining seven key principles:
  1. Equip customers with more tools to wager responsibly.
  2. Ensure state laws enable a flexible regulatory approach capable of keeping pace with evolving forms of digital payments.
  3. Give customers payment choice and convenience.
  4. Address heightened customer public health concerns.
  5. Provide customers with confidence in digital payment security.
  6. Create a uniform regulatory environment for casino operators, suppliers, and regulators.
  7. Empower law enforcement to better identify offenders through digital payment analysis.

Integrate cashless to add value

Cashless is where mobile, digital, and guest experience strategies should converge.

  • To pursue virtual wallets effectively, it is important your property already has mobile, digital, and customer experience strategies and is prepared to intersect them.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, properties were considering the potential benefits of cashless in the context of their larger digital and mobile strategies. Any cashless initiative should be associated with these larger strategies.

The shift to a virtual wallet will enable your property to deliver on these key aspects:

1

Providing a way to personalize the guest experience via increased access to guest data.

Engaging with guests through platforms they want to leverage.

2

3

Increasing operational efficiencies at the property.

Advancing your property’s entire value proposition.

4

Info-Tech Insight

Your mobile application will become stickier when it has cashless payment abilities. Guests will have another incentive to download and use the mobile app.

Determine who will be impacted by a cashless initiative

And who will influence its success.
  • Cashless initiatives can impact various aspects of your property:
    • On the gaming floor – slots, tables, sports betting, and online gaming.
    • From the resort perspective – restaurants, retail stores, hotel accommodations, and events.
  • When choosing whether or not to pursue cashless, it should not be done in silos. Rather, it should encompass the guest experience from start to finish.
  • The ways in which guests will interact with the property influences the ways in which operational staff deliver their services and support.

Info-Tech Insight

Pursuing a cashless strategy without consulting other key stakeholders will lead to problems with adoption by customers. Ease this process and ensure guests will have a single source for their virtual wallet.

Slot machines

The first attraction to be considered for cashless

  • As soon as most operators begin to think about the cashless experience, slots are the first attraction that comes to mind.
  • There are two key methods that vendors and operators are currently using to offer a cashless gaming experience at the electronic gaming machines (EGMs/slots):
    • Loyalty cards: The player inserts their loyalty card into the machine. Through their mobile device or the EGM’s touch screen, the player inputs a secure code and transfers their desired amount of funds to the game. This method often still requires the player to leverage a mobile device, especially when it comes to loading their virtual wallet.
    • Mobile devices: Using their phone only, the player transfers funds from their virtual wallet to the EGM to enable play. Often this is done by scanning a QR code or tapping their device on the BLE hardware built into the EGM/slot.
Stock image of a patron sitting at a slot machine.

Info-Tech Insight

There is no right way to adopt cashless at the slots. Understanding your market and other areas that may or may not be included in the cashless initiative will help your organization adopt the right method.

Table games

Cashless, but not contactless

  • Cashless payment at table games is enabled during initial and subsequent transactions between the dealer and the guest. The guest exchanges their virtual wallet funds for poker chips.
  • Like at the slot machines, the guest uses either their mobile device or loyalty card to pay.
  • While the payment process for table games can be cashless, the actual play has not been switched to contactless.
  • From poker chips to playing cards, the safety concerns that have prevented many players from returning to the gaming floor since the COVID-19 pandemic began are not fully addressed by the current method of making table games cashless.
  • Moreover, it’s not novel – cruise lines have enabled guests to do this for years in cruise casinos with direct charges to guests’ room folios.
Stock image of a hand bending cards up from a poker table so only we can see them.

Info-Tech Insight

Of all the casino attractions that need cashless technology to respond to guests’ health and safety concerns, table games is the most behind. Ensure the vendor you select will enable cashless and contactless transactions.

Sources:
Legato, 2019.
Murphy, 2020.

Online gaming and sports betting

“At the end of the day, I do think that this convergence of land-based and online is also another major factor that’s going to drive adoption, maybe even in a more significant way than COVID-19.” (Matthew Dickson, Co-Founder & CEO of BitBoss)

Stock image of someone betting on sports.

Source:
Tonin, 2020.

Connecting gaming wallets

  • Despite a high amount of pushback originally, sports betting has been the gateway to cashless gaming in the US. This method of gaming enabled players to leverage a virtual wallet from an app on their device, transferring funds between their bank accounts and virtual accounts seamlessly.
  • Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing number of states that have passed legislation enabling online and sports betting. Adopting virtual wallets is now a very real concern for most operators.
  • Whether it is currently legal in your area, will be legalized soon, or is far from being legalized, these factors should feature in operators’ conversations and decisions about virtual wallets.
  • From an end-user experience, having the ability to leverage the same digital wallet across several channels can lead to a positive omnichannel experience.

Integrated resorts and amenities

A truly inclusive experience.
Cashless payment expands beyond the gaming floor to:
  • Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Hotel
  • Events
  • Spa
  • Entertainment
Stock image of someone paying with their phone.
  • For integrated resort properties, the holistic guest experience will be critical to the cashless technology being adopted.
  • Guests will begin to seek out the opportunity to pay for various aspects of their stay via a virtual wallet if the technology is provided.
  • Many of the vendors in this space are working to ensure this can happen.

Info-Tech Insight

The stickiness of cashless will be enhanced when it is associated with more than just the gaming side. Give guests more reasons to load funds onto their virtual wallet.

1.1.1 Create Your Cashless Working Group

1-3 hours

Input: List of potential stakeholders, Level of the influence of various stakeholders on your cashless initiative, Information on to what degree stakeholders are supportive of a cashless initiative

Output: List of stakeholders that should be included and/or consulted in the cashless initiative

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template, Whiteboard/flipcharts, Pens/markers, Sticky notes (in three colors: green, red, and one color of your choice)

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, Other cashless stakeholders (as appropriate)

  1. Aim to create a working group that can help inform your property’s decision on whether to pursue cashless now or wait. Identify potential members of the working group by leveraging the Stakeholder Power Map activity in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.
  2. Create a list of stakeholders, using the “Stakeholder Impact & Level of Resistance” slides in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template. Record their names on your whiteboard/flip charts and on the “IT Stakeholders” slide of the template. Group related stakeholders together.
  3. Draw a power map as illustrated in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.
  4. On your whiteboard/flipcharts, evaluate each stakeholder on the list based on:
    • Influence: To what degree can this stakeholder impact the progress of this initiative?
    • Involvement: How involved is the stakeholder in this initiative already?
    • Support: How supportive is this person of the cashless initiative? Label supporters with green sticky notes, resisters with red notes, and the rest with a third color of your choice.
  5. Based on your assessment, write each stakeholder’s name on a green, red, or other colored sticky note as appropriate. Place each sticky note in the appropriate place on the power map.
  6. Use your power map to determine the people who should be included in your Cashless Working Group. Confirm those who should be active participants versus those who shall be simply consulted. Document this on the “Cashless Working Group Organization” and “Cashless Working Group RACI” slides in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

As your property moves forward with this initiative, ensure that the right people are at the table to support the conversation. IT is a critical player, but so are other operational groups like marketing and finance.

Leverage your Cashless Working Group

The Cashless Working Group should:

Govern

Be the accountable group that oversees the initiative and actively makes decisions concerning it.

Inform

Identify best practices and make suggestions around what will or will not be successful as the initiative moves forward.

Direct

Make recommendations on how the property should move forward with a virtual wallet and highlight potential obstacles.

This group will need to have close working relationships with the groups that oversee any digital, mobile, and/or guest experience strategies.

Step 1.2

Mapping the Impact of Cashless

Activities
  • 1.2.1 Identify Your Cashless Segments
  • 1.2.2 Develop Journey Maps
  • 1.2.3 Losing or Gaining With ATM and Cash Access Fees

This step will guide you through the following activities:

  • Identify Your Cashless Segments
  • Develop Journey Maps
  • Losing or Gaining With ATM and Cash Access Fees

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • Marketing Director/Chief Marketing Officer
  • Cashless Working Group
  • CRO
  • CFO
  • COO

Outcomes of this step

  • An understanding of the value of cashless technology for the guest experience and benefits for the operator.

Cashless Is Queen

Step 1.1 Step 1.2

Regulations

Regulations on how to adopt virtual wallets are continually evolving.
  • Given that cashless is a new concept for most casinos in North America, gaining the necessary approvals to move forward will be critical.
  • Whether you are the first or fiftieth casino to adopt cashless in your state or province, this process will continually evolve and improve.
  • Partner with your regulators to ensure that each of you understand and respect what is expected for cashless to be implemented.
  • It's important that your role and the role of your vendors are established and accepted by your regulators to mitigate risks.
  • Your property does not need to become a bank in order to provide a virtual wallet.
  • When considering PCI compliance, ensure that you partner with a vendor that is meeting these regulations.
Four types of regulations: 'Audit & Compliance', 'KYC', 'Responsible Gaming', and 'AML'.

Info-Tech Insight

Understand what your regulators are comfortable with and do not push this unless warranted. Remember to partner with your regulator and not to push something that could negatively impact your property or other properties in your regulatory area.

AML and responsible gaming:

One of the most notable benefits to come out of cashless casinos is the enhanced ability to track transactions and player behaviors.
  • The trail created by digital transactions makes it easier to track and identify various types of fraudulent activity, including anti-money laundering (AML). As a result, regulators may actually come to favor this method of payment for this reason.
  • Online casinos that support virtual gaming or esports betting are already engaging in measures that are similar with how casino virtual wallets operate.
  • The process of tracking digital payments reduces the amount of reporting that properties need to conduct themselves.
  • Regulators can feel comfortable knowing that financial institutions are already engaging in their own AML and KYC compliance.
  • How each property addresses responsible gaming tactics will need to be considered.
The responsible implementation of cashless technology should enhance the gaming experience without causing friction.

Sources:
Baker,, 2020.
The Associated Press, "Casinos push for cashless gambling payments,” 2020.
Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.
IBM, 2020.

Benefits not barriers
  • Ensure there are several types of responsible gaming tactics available for players, including:
    • Self-imposed limits
    • Monetary transfer limits (frequency, velocity, dollar amount)
    • Responsible gaming messages displayed on devices
  • It is of utmost importance to ensure properties do not shift accountability for responsible gaming to the player.
  • According to the CDC, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in mental and behavioral issues in 40% of adults.
  • Casino operators need to implement measures around cashless technology that do not amplify these issues.
  • Many operators and vendors see the switch to digital payments as a key opportunity to monitor guests and intervene when problem gaming is apparent.

Case study

The case for cashless in fighting money laundering.
Logo for BCLC.
INDUSTRY
Gaming
SOURCE
British Columbia Lottery Corporation and Cascades Casino Delta
Challenge

In 2018, the government for the province of British Columbia (in Canada) estimates that over $7 billion had been laundered through the province's economy. This illegal activity took place through various means, but of particular concern was the gaming industry. At the same time a report called “Dirty Money” by Peter German of CBC news was released, identifying how the B.C. gaming sector was failing to identify and report on AML transactions.

Solution

In a response to the overwhelming amount of AML activity that was taking place in casinos, calls for action were made. In fact, one casino in Delta, British Columbia (Cascades Casino Delta) put forward a request to have the provincial and federal governments review their current regulations to allow for cashless gaming. Cascades Casino Delta argued that this would increase their ability to identify money laundering.

Results

While the debate and conversation continues, one of the key points being made is that “gambling data can be tracked, and money transactions are transparent, thereby limiting opportunities for crime such as money laundering” (excerpted from a staff report to Delta council).

Currently the Government of Canada and provincial government in BC are reviewing cashless gaming systems to identify their ability to monitor and identify AML activity.

Sources:
Jaques and Gyarmati, 2019.
German, 2018.
Lindsay, 2020.

Understand your property’s cashless segment

It might surprise you who will seek it out.
  • Pursing a cashless strategy is an opportunity to better understand your customer segment and cater to their changing needs and wants.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has likely significantly increased the number of customers who will want to use cashless payments.
  • While there will be a strong emphasis on the younger players or digital natives for a cashless initiative, do not discount other potential adopters.
  • There is likely an entire group of players who have not re-entered the gaming environment solely because they are concerned about their health and safety. Moreover, this segment learned how to do virtual transactions during their increased time spent at home during the pandemic.
49% — The increase in online spending of those 65 and older from January to October 2020, as compared with the same span in 2019. (Source: Bhattarai, 2021.)

1.2.1 Identify Your Cashless Segments

2 hours

Input: Microsegments of your casino's customer market, Value of those microsegments

Output: Method to monetize the value of each microsegment

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template, Demographic information, Behavioral information, Spending information

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Marketing Director/Chief Marketing Officer, Cashless Working Group

  1. The goal of this activity is to identify players who are most likely to use a virtual wallet at your property and what the value of those players will be if they switch to cashless.
  2. On the “Cashless Casino Microsegments” slide of the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template, list potential players who will be inclined to make the switch. People to consider:
    • Those who are already part of your online gaming or sports betting platforms, since they already have a virtual wallet of some sort.
    • Digital natives – those who are born after 1981 and older than 21.
    • Loyal players who have not returned to the casino since the COVID-19 pandemic began due to concerns around safety and health.
    • Loyal VIP customers who can be leveraged for focus groups and market research.
  3. Identify the value of each of these segments through reports, exports, and queries from your CMS, player loyalty, and/or data warehouse systems. Based on your available data, identify the number of players in each segment, what their average annual spend at your property is and, their gender, average age, trip frequency, and spend per trip. Complete the “Cashless Segment Analysis” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Once you identify your guests who want cashless

You are better prepared to serve them.
  • Identifying the segments of your property’s market who will be likely to engage in cashless play forces you to consider the likelihood of adoption.
  • In doing so, your property will also have a better understanding on what makes up its various submarkets.
  • After implementing cashless, the data that your property will have access to on given players will increase. Ensure the data being collected will be valuable and leveraged in future decisions.
  • With this data, you will also have the information about guests needed to personalize the guest experience.
Stock image of a person playing a slot machine with a pink glow.

Integrated Casino Industry Reference Architecture

Leverage reference architecture capabilities throughout this cashless project.

The goal of Info-Tech’s Integrated Casino Industry Reference Architecture is to identify the various ways in which IT can support the casino in entertaining and serving the customer. Understanding what your property’s capabilities are is key to enabling the successful deployment and adoption of cashless technology.

Keep in mind that every casino will have a slightly different reference architecture. Take the reference architecture templates Info-Tech provides and customize them for your own property(ies). The method in which your property plans to adopt and implement cashless may be different from other properties. This will likely be informed by your capabilities.

While moving through the other activities in this blueprint, actively consider the various capabilities that are impacted by cashless in your specific casino operations. These should actively influence your cashless process design, communication, and training plans, as well as your choice to move forward or wait on implementing cashless.

Download the Integrated Casino Industry Reference Architecture

Value Chain for the Integrated Casinos Industry with 'Attract Guest', 'Casino: Entertain Guest' and 'Hospitality: 'Service Guest', then 'Retain Guest'.
Value Chain for the Integrated Casinos Industry
ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE: BUSINESS CAPABILITY MAP FOR GAMING
Business Capability Map for Gaming with Value Chain items as column headers and rows 'Enabling Capabilities', 'Shared Capabilities', and 'Defining Capabilities'.
As this business capability map shows, there are many capabilities (indicated in yellow) that will be impacted by moving to a cashless casino. Leverage the reference architecture capabilities throughout this project to evaluate and address the impacts of cashless.

Download the Integrated Casino Industry Reference Architecture

Cashless wagering process

Evaluate and design the process by taking into consideration the guest experience, operational processes, technology configuration and features, and regulatory obligations. Leverage the business capabilities in your reference architecture. Process for cashless wagering. '1) Create cashless wagering account', '2) Load cashless wagering account', '3) Transfer cashless funds to EGM or table', '4) Play with cashless funds', '5) Transfer cash out of funds to cashless wagering account', and either circle back to 2, or '6) Withdrawal cashless wagering funds'.

1

The guest creates a cashless wagering account either online, with the cage, or at a kiosk. At that point, their virtual wallet is created and is accessible.

2

The guest can then load their virtual gaming wallet with funds at the cage, at the kiosk, via online payment transfer, or at an EGM or table directly. AML/KYC compliance will be met at this time, either by the FI (electronic payment transfer) or by the casino.

3

The funds are transferred to the slot or table game by leveraging a loyalty card or mobile device and BLE. For security, the guest will be required to use a PIN.

4

The guest will play their game with the funds they transferred.

5

When they are finished playing, the guest can transfer any remaining funds back to their virtual wallet by removing their loyalty card from the EGM or through their mobile device.

6

The guest’s funds will remain in the payment solution provider’s wallet until they are used again or until the guest withdraws the funds from their virtual gaming wallet. This can be done via online transfer, at a kiosk, or at the cage.

Understand how the guest will move through their gaming experience with the use of a virtual wallet

Journey maps capture the key interactions and motivations of the stakeholders of a process or product in chronological order. They tell the story of a stakeholder’s experience with a product or service, starting with the initial point of contact all the way through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.

Components of a journey map:

  • Personas: A generalized archetype of the target customer of your products or services segmented by the value they receive from your products or services.
  • Workflow: The order of steps the customer performs to complete one or more of their tasks.
  • Touchpoints: The various points in the journey when your customer interacts with you and your products or services.
  • Channels: The mediums through which the touchpoints occur.
  • Emotional journey: The emotional highs and lows your customer feels at each point of their journey.
  • Inflection points: The stages of the customer journey that trigger an enhancement or degradation of the customer’s overall experience.

Journey mapping the cashless experience

How to create a journey map:

  1. Determine the various personas/stakeholders (both internal and external) who will be impacted by this initiative. For this specific instance, both players and operational staff will likely be most impacted.
  2. Define the workflow. This is the component of the journey map where the current stage, desired stage, and various stages in between are identified and documented. Ensure that these stages are placed in the correct order for your property.
  3. Identify the various activities or touchpoints that the stakeholder will engage in for each of the stages.
  4. Analyze the expectations that stakeholder will have in terms of their needs. What are nice-to-have, must-have, and hidden needs?
  5. Discuss with the team any feedback already understood from these stakeholders.
  6. Consider the emotional journey of the stakeholder in terms of a “high,” “neutral,” or “low” emotional state.

1.2.2 Develop Journey Maps

1-2 hours (per map)

Input: Activities, touchpoints, and personas, Market segmentation from Activity 1.2.1 as personas, Outputs from your reference architecture, Information on your cashless wagering process

Output: Journey maps reflecting the customer and employee experiences

Materials: Integrated Casino Industry Reference Architecture, Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Operational Leadership, Cashless Working Group

  1. The purpose of this activity is to define the workflows. You may wish to go through each workflow chronologically (e.g. the cashless wagering process) or refer to your policies and/or process documents.
  2. Refer to the “Journey Map Template” slides in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template. Fill out each journey map by:
    • Identifying activities, touchpoints, and the persona’s desired outcome of each stage.
    • Analyzing persona expectations – start with must-haves, then nice-to-haves, and then hidden needs.
    • Discussing feedback and experiences your team has heard from the stakeholders they engage with regularly.
    • Going through the emotional journey from a persona’s point of view and list experiences that produce a high, neutral, or low emotional state.
  3. Brainstorm process or service improvements around the unfulfilled expectations or inflection points in the emotional journey.
  4. Document journey maps for each stakeholder, taking into consideration the desired customer’s state, each stage that will get the stakeholder to the desired state, activities and touchpoints along the way, customer needs and wants, and their emotional journey.
  5. Your journey maps should be iterative, so be prepared to continue adjusting them over time as you gather more information from stakeholders.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

ATM fees are driving cashless

  • As your property moves forward with cashless technology, it will be important to model and understand the potential fee (expense) and commission (revenue) impacts.
  • Guests will not immediately move 100% cashless once it is available.
  • Go back to the precedent of how your property responded to the loss of in-room phone fees when mobile devices became common. This is a similar switch that is being driven by your guests.
  • Some key points to consider are:
    • What revenue are you potentially losing versus the potential for additional revenue in from the gaming?
    • If your property pays fees, what will this reduction (or increase) in these look like for the property? Are there cost savings?
    • Are you going to see a large reduction in fee income?
    • Will you be required to fill ATMs less frequently with cash and therefore reduce the labor costs associated with this responsibility?
The reduction in ATM fees will be a huge enabler for the players who cannot fathom “throwing their money away” to ATM fees. (Source: Baker, 2020)

1.2.3 Losing or Gaining With ATM and Cash Access Fees

2 hours

Input: Current ATM fees revenue, Current expense related to ATM fees, Segmentation of revenue and expense

Output: Dollar value of how each change in customer segment that uses virtual wallets will impact the fees you pay and collect

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, CRO, CFO, CMO, COO

  1. The purpose of this activity is to clearly identify how much money your property could lose or gain related to ATM and cash access fees through the implementation of virtual wallets.
  2. Identify the current revenue your property generates with ATM fees.
  3. Identify the current expense your property incurs associated with ATM fees.
  4. Determine the breakdown of revenue and expense based on your player segments.
  5. For each segment, determine and model the amount of expense your property will save and the amount of revenue your property will lose for every percentage of each segment that chooses to switch to cashless technology.
  6. Leverage the “ATM and Cash Access Fee Breakdown” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template to support this process.
  7. Use this information to identify the minimum and optimal number of guests that your property would like to see leveraging cashless.
  8. Complete the “Operational Impact of Cashless” slide in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

By the end of this phase

You should know if cashless will benefit your guests:
  • You should have a solid understanding of who and what will be included if your property choses to implement cashless.
  • The benefits your property may realize by pursuing cashless should be clearly identified, and various stakeholders should be able to articulate why they would or would not like to see the property invest in cashless technology.
  • At this time, it might have already become clear that cashless is not currently viable for your property or your guests.
You should have an answer to the following:
  • Is there a group of committed and accountable individuals willing to manage the cashless process?
  • Will your investment in cashless reduce fraudulent activity (such as AML) and encourage safe gaming practices?
  • Do you have the customer segments that will want to adopt cashless?
  • What will the customer journey look like?
  • Do you have the IT capabilities to support the necessary guest and employee journeys?
  • Will you lose a considerable and impactful amount of revenue in ATM fees?

Embracing Cashless in Your Casino

Phase 2

Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Cashless

Phase 1

1.1 Cashless Across the Property

1.2 Mapping the Impact of Cashless

Phase 2

2.1 Aligning with Key Stakeholders

Phase 3

3.1 Casino Management System Providers

3.2 Payment Solution Providers

This phase will guide you through the following activities:

  • Aligning With Key Stakeholders

This phase involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • Risk/Compliance Officer
  • Governing Body Accountable
  • COO
  • Information/Security Officer
  • Cashless Working Group
  • Other IT Stakeholders

Step 2.1

Aligning With Key Stakeholders

Activities
  • 2.1.1 Create an Education and Awareness Plan
  • 2.1.2 Select a Pilot Focus Group
  • 2.1.3 Assess Your Property’s Technological Health
  • 2.1.4 SWOT Analysis of Your Technological Health
  • 2.1.5 Identify Applicable Regulations
  • 2.1.6 Risk Management Manual/MICS Update

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Create an Education and Awareness Plan
  • Select a Pilot Focus Group
  • Assess Your Property’s Technological Health
  • SWOT Analysis of Your Technological Health
  • Identify Applicable Regulations
  • Risk Management Manual/MICS Update

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • Risk Officer
  • Compliance Officer
  • Governing Body Accountable
  • COO
  • Information/Security Officer
  • Cashless Working Group
  • Other IT Stakeholders

Outcomes of this step

Identify barriers and paint points that will inhibit implementation or adoption of cashless.

Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Cashless

Step 2.1

Identify potential roadblocks

Implementing cashless technology at your property will be neither instantaneous nor seamless. There are several factors that need to be considered to ensure proper implementation, including:

Operational Efficiencies

Plan to increase operational efficiencies by automating processes and reducing cash-related transactions.

Guest Experience

Make sure guests are a part of the implementation process and leverage their feedback for an optimal experience.

Technology Capabilities

Consider the technological implications that cashless will require and if your property can function offline.

Risk Management

Partner with regulators to identify what risks your property should be prepared to respond to.




As you work through this phase of the blueprint, be mindful of the various impacts that cashless will have on how you provide gaming entertainment and other amenities and services for guests.

Obtain buy-in from operational stakeholders

  • Operational staff will be some of the most impacted on a day-to-day basis when your property switches to virtual wallets.
  • As with any change, ensuring their buy-in and support will be critical to the success of the implementation and guest adoption of cashless technology.
  • For starters, any communication or change management plan should make sure staff are aware of the increase in efficiencies coming to their jobs:
    • Handling cash (e.g. drops, pick-ups, counting)
    • Interacting with guests (loading the virtual wallet, paying out jackpots, paying out wallets)
    • Generating reports
    • Reporting compliance to regulatory bodies
  • Spending time educating employees on the changes will significantly impact the successful implementation of cashless technology, as well as guest adoption.
Stock image of a cash counting machine.

Choosing a solution beyond slots

Create a holistic guest experience.
  • One of the common missteps by operators is creating a cashless strategy that only takes into consideration their EGMs.
  • By including representatives of other areas of the property in your Cashless Working Group, you ensure that the chosen solution actively considers all silos of the guest experience. That does not mean that all aspects need to be adopted immediately. However, no silo should be left out of the discussion as a potential component of how your property pursues cashless.
  • Think about the bigger picture. Consider not only what is needed now, but also how the chosen system will align with your digital strategy and integrate with sister properties (both in and out of your state/province).
  • Additionally, with bitcoin and blockchain becoming more widely adopted, will your property be able to support these technologies?
“20% of the decision should be influenced by the ability to support other components of the universal cashless[.]” (Jeffrey Hoss, Everi, 2020)

Info-Tech Insight

Many operators plan to take a staggered approach to cashless. This will ensure that they can understand the market for cashless before pursuing it 100% across the property/properties.

Choosing a solution beyond slots

  • Guests may be unsure on how to use your app at first, but remember that apps, virtual wallets, and digital payments are hardly new to most guests.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many customers who were once new to such technology to have to learn quickly how the technology can be leveraged. It is no longer accurate that just younger generations are tech savvy.
  • The list to the right shows the various methods of engaging in a digital society, which have only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Adopting cashless is not about educating guests to be digital, but rather about educating guests to use your particular platform to enable their play.

A digital society, going online to:

  • Order groceries
  • Play games (social and gambling)
  • Place bets (sports and other odds-based betting)
  • Use social media
  • Participate in video calls (work and social)
  • Bank
  • Order takeout
  • Make online purchases

Info-Tech Insight

Once your property selects a cashless application, it will be hard to change it later. Your guests will become accustomed to the capabilities and features of that app and will not respond favorably to change.

“It often doesn’t feel like you’re using ‘real’ money and you can quickly lose a sense of how much you’re spending.” (Baker, 2020.)

Enable responsible gaming behaviors

  • While educating your guests, make sure that there is a strong emphasis on what responsible gaming measures exist and how they can be enabled.
  • No vendor wants to see their application be the reason guests are not properly self-excluding or not engaging in responsible gaming behaviors. Likewise, no operator wants to be held liable for not ensuring sufficient measures were provided.
  • One of the benefits of virtual wallets is that once the player has enacted their responsible gaming tactic, it will prevent them from placing bets. However, that will not stop the player from inserting cash into a machine.
  • Operators will need to leverage several forms of technology (applications and surveillance) to ensure that guests who have self-excluded or reached their daily limit cannot simply switch to cash.
  • Working with your regulatory body, determine what should be included in this to prevent your property or solution from failing. Responsible cashless gaming needs to be front-of-mind for operators and should not be sidestepped.
  • Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works. This adds another element of personalization for guests.

Info-Tech Insight

Consider your Responsible Gaming settings early and implement different tiers based on your customer markets to ensure guests are not limited, but still protected by the specific limits (frequency, velocity, dollar) set.

Personalize the guest experience

Loyalty and customer relationship management:

  • Integrating cashless technology with the property’s loyalty program will be a significant consideration for your property.
  • Cashless gaming opens your property up to a wealth of data that can be leveraged to divide your market into micro-segments and personalize the guest experience. This will both enhance the guest experience and protect players who are engaging in irresponsible gaming behaviors.
  • Use the existing information that your property has on its guests to identify the best segments to pilot the new cashless gaming application.
  • Some vendors are approaching this as if the guest’s mobile device is their new loyalty card.
  • Your property should plan to link the virtual wallet app with a guest’s existing loyalty program profile. For guests who want a virtual wallet and have not seen the value in joining your loyalty program before, suddenly they will be engaged with this service and related product offerings.
  • From a casino operations and hosted player perspective, cashless enables your property to see when a player is loading funds into their account in anticipation of a trip to your property.
Sources:
Bontempo, 2020.
Ordine, 2020.

2.1.1 Create an Education and Awareness Plan

2 hours

Input: Components of your education and awareness plan, including: Who, When, How, Where, Why

Output: Method of educating various segments of the casino’s market on your virtual wallet

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Marketing, Loyalty Program, Cashless Working Group

  1. The purpose of this activity is to create a high-level plan on how you would like to go about educating guests on your virtual wallet.
  2. Identify the following:
    • Who will be educated (VIPs, digital natives, health-conscious guests, etc.).
    • Why they will be educated.
    • How they will be educated.
    • What will be the process in educating them (e.g. will you recruit a pilot group for the virtual wallet and then slowly expand or roll it out to everyone at the same time?).
    • Where you will educate guests (virtually, in person, etc.).
    • When the education will take place (e.g. during app testing, once fully implemented, in stages, etc.)
  3. Enter this information in the “Education and Awareness Plan” slide of the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

For most cashless solutions, there is still a waiting period for funds to be electronically transferred back to a guest’s primary bank account. Ensure operational staff and guests are properly educated on how this will impact their ability to obtain their funds after their visit/play is completed.

2.1.2 Select a Pilot Focus Group

1 hour

Input: Results of market segmentation activity (Activity 1.2.1), Results of education and awareness plan activity (Activity 2.1.1)

Output: Decision on whether to move forward on a pilot focus group, Decision on which market segment should be used for the focus group

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Marketing, Cashless Working Group

  1. The purpose of this activity is to leverage the information gathered in previous activities to determine if your property will go forward with a pilot focus group for cashless.
  2. After segmenting your customer markets based on loyalty and player type, identify if there is a particular segment that would be worth engaging for this.
  3. Weigh the opportunities versus inhibitors associated with running a focus group when piloting your virtual wallet with this segment. Record these on the “Focus Group – Opportunities vs. Inhibitors” slide of the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.
  4. Determine if a focus group will be leveraged and update your Education and Awareness Plan as appropriate.
  5. Leverage the segmentation and focus group to inform/evaluate your list of which physical casino games would need to be included in the pilot to support this segment in their play (e.g. high-limit slots).
  6. Complete the “Guest Experience and Education” slide in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

Understand the impact and benefits of piloting this with loyal guests first – those who won’t be upset should there be glitches or mishaps in the roll out of the virtual wallet.

Acknowledge your property’s tech health

And prepare to address lingering tech debt.

  • The virtual wallet app selected should have capabilities to integrate beyond just your CMS – think tickets, food, gaming, drinks, hotel, retail, loyalty, and blockchain (eventually).
  • Your property will need to have a solid understanding of any tech debt you have that could inhibit the solution chosen.
  • Conduct a thorough assessment of your property's technology health, including assessing the various non-functional requirements (NFRs) that exist.
  • Some operators worry that they will spend money upgrading their gaming systems, hardware, and/or other applications for cashless that will ultimately not lead to a ROI in the current climate. Understanding the potential ROI of cashless first can help make the case for this.
  • Certain vendors may argue that such upgrades are not necessary, providing a certain version of a virtual wallet is being leveraged.
  • Make the case for upgrades and ensure the business understands the criticality of modernizing and securing the casino’s technology.
  • Use Info-Tech’s Management and Governance Diagnostic to assess which key processes need to be matured to better support technological capabilities such as BCP, change management, and problem management.

Gauge technology by its degree of common technical NFRs or measure the underlying factors that impact those attributes

Common evaluations of technical health stick to high-level assessments of how an application or hardware delivers in certain areas, which are traditionally associated with non-functional requirements. This would entail interviewing the appropriate technical subject matter experts for your applications.

MAINTAINABILITY

RAS) How reliable, available, and serviceable is the application?

TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE

Do the app functions operate as needed?

INTEROPERABILITY

To what degree can the app connect or is the app connected into other systems?

ADAPTABILITY

To what degree can the app handle changes in features or scale?

SECURITY

Is the application secure or does it have any security risks?
More detailed analysis is based on measuring the more tangible metrics, which are often the factors that impact how an app delivers on those non-functional requirements. This can require leveraging existing or potentially additional tools to perform that measurement, along with involvement from your technical SMEs.

TECHNICAL DEBT

  • Lines of code
  • Code duplication
  • Deferred features
  • Technical debt ratio

MAINTENANCE HISTORY

  • Incident rate
  • Mean time to repair
  • Mean time between failure
  • Downtime

PERFORMANCE

  • Response time
  • Throughput
  • Dynamic capacity
  • Static capacity

COMPLEX DESIGN

  • # of disparate data sources/storage
  • Configuration restrictions
  • # of disparate sub-systems

VERSIONING

  • # of versions behind
  • # of releases per cycle/quarter

SECURITY

  • Vulnerability count
  • Flaw creation rate
  • Application block rate
  • Security incident rate

Protect your guests and property from security concerns

  • When examining their property’s tech debt, many operators also consider how advanced their security parameters are at preventing fraud or breaches.
  • Ideally, your property recognized that COVID-19 put your casino at risk to increased security breaches and is actively implementing initiatives to prevent the risks associated.
  • When leveraging a vendor’s (likely cloud) solution, you need to ensure that both your and the vendor’s tech stack are prepared to withstand any attempts to compromise the casino’s or guests’ virtual wallet data.
  • Strongly adhering to PCI (Payment Card Industry) and KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations will play a significant role in protecting your property from becoming breached or experiencing fraudulent playing.
  • Additionally, your property needs to consider how guests will be protected. For example, what happens if they accidentally leave funds on a machine they were previously playing?

Sources:


Baker, 2020.


Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.


Bontempo, 2020.

Info-Tech Insight

The vendor that you partner with will likely be associated with a Financial Institution (FI) that undergoes their own KYC checks, enhancing the security parameters associated with guests using your virtual wallet.

2.1.3 Assess Your Property’s Technological Health

1-2 hours

Input: Understanding of tech health, List of technology to evaluate

Output: List of technology that could affect the successful implementation of a virtual wallet

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Application Development Director, Cashless Working Group

  1. The purpose of this activity is to gauge the health of your property’s tech. This will provide you with insight on which tech needs to be further investigated as a potential inhibitor to virtual wallets.
  2. Begin by understanding how tech health is defined (see “Strengthen your technology architecture”). Each technology can be weighed against these criteria:
    • Maintainability
    • Technical performance
    • Interoperability
    • Adaptability
    • Security
  3. Create a list of technology (software and hardware) that should be evaluated.
  4. For each technology identified, rate it against the rationalization criteria using a 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) scale. Use the “Technical Health Rationalization Criteria” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template to support the rating process. Determine which technology might need to be retired, modernized, or maintained.
  5. If your property has significant tech health issues, consider conducting a larger investigation into your property’s tech debt by leveraging Info-Tech’s Build an Application Rationalization Framework.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

Operators that did not let their tech debt become overloaded and actively worked to maintain up-to-date versions of hardware and software have placed themselves to be in a better position to support virtual wallets.

Strengthen your technology architecture

  • Your Casino’s technological architecture for a virtual wallet will be highly dependent on the technological debt it carries, as well as regulations and capabilities.
  • Your technology stack should be set up in a secure and systematic way to enable a simple process of funding source, to wallet, to play, to wallet, to funding source.
  • If upgrading to support BLE technology is too expensive and won’t yield an ROI, then you need to consider how cashless can still be successfully implemented
  • Keep in mind that the goal is always to increase the methods with which guests can play and the ease of play.
  • Cashless should not be pursued simply to say it’s being offered if it must rely on a convoluted architecture framework. This will impact IT’s ability to deliver the solution effectively and will negatively impact the guest experience.

Info-Tech Insight

The key differentiator between a casino’s virtual wallet from other virtual wallets (e.g. Starbucks) is that guests will expect to be able to send money back into their own bank account and access the funds once again.

Applications included in architecture:

  • CMS
  • Geolocation
  • BI/reporting and analytics
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Payment processing
  • Risk management
  • KYC
  • Loyalty/CRM
  • Responsible gaming

2.1.4 SWOT Analysis of Your Technological Health

1-2 hours

Input: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Output: Completed SWOT analysis for your property’s technological health

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template, Whiteboard/flipcharts, Pens/markers

Participants: CIO/ IT Director/ IT Senior Leadership, Information/Security Officer, Cashless Working Group, Other IT stakeholders (as necessary)

  1. The purpose of this activity is to understand the various internal and external factors that inform the capabilities of your casino’s architecture and applications.
  2. Depending on the number of participants for this activity, break into teams of four. Have each team consider:
    • Internal strengths and weakness
    • External opportunities and threats
  3. Have teams brainstorm items that fit in these assigned grids. Use the prompts from the “Questions to consider – SWOT analysis” slide as guidance.
  4. Pick someone from each group to complete their SWOT grid.
  5. Conduct a group discussion about the items on the list; identify implications for IT and opportunities to innovate.
  6. Document your findings in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template. Use the “Sample Tech Debt/Architecture SWOT Analysis” slide as a starting point.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Questions to consider – SWOT analysis

Strengths (Internal)
  • Has your property recently updated its CMS software?
  • Do all of your machines have interactive LED touchscreens?
  • Are there payment processing machines, BLE technology, and/or other methods to enable table game play?
Weaknesses (Internal)
  • Do you have sufficient internal staff to support the implementation and maintenance necessary for cashless?
  • Would your machines need to have additional in-game hardware upgrades?
  • Have there been any recent investments in the ATMs located on the gaming floor(s) in the past three years?
  • Are your key IT processes of sufficient maturity to support the ongoing support, troubleshooting, and operations necessary for the system?
Opportunities (External)
  • Does your property already have virtual wallets in place with other vendors (such as to support sports betting or iGaming)?
  • Does your property have an up-to-date method of generating reports and analyzing player behaviors?
Threats (External)
  • Are there certain other obstacles for your organization?
  • Are you protected against security breaches?
  • Are there issues with respect to sourcing of staff or technologies?
  • How does your technology currently support the process of ensuring KYC and AML regulations are being met?
  • Do you have open audit findings?

Sample Tech Debt/Architecture SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS
  • Infrastructure hardening to prevent breaches recently completed
  • Updated the CMS to latest version in 2019
  • Strong relationship with payment solution provider
WEAKNESSES
  • Current network infrastructure needs to be updated
  • Would need to update 50% of the EGMs
  • 70% of the EGMs still need to have BLE technology installed IT's DRP-, incident-, and problem-management processes are not defined or responsive for a cashless environment
  • Organization's BCP (manual processes) have not been tested recently
OPPORTUNITIES
  • Combine the several virtual wallets players already have into a single source
  • Leverage the CRM solution data to ensure seamless roll out
THREATS
  • May need to temporarily leverage the vendor’s mobile app, which could cause confusion for guests
  • Do not have a method of tracking KYC through technology methods — player must visit cage or loyalty services
  • Open internal and external audit findings exist

Critical technology considerations

Review the key technology considerations below to help with your decision making.

CMS solution version supports cashless POS terminals available at each table game Ability to integrate with food and beverage and retail POS terminals across resort Resilient and secure network to support increased activity

1

2

3

4

All EGMs feature an LED screen POS solution and hardware supports cashless Ability to integrate with hotel PMS Method to enable gaming if the network were to go down temporarily

Comply with new regulations

By partnering with Regulators
  • Ensuring your properties accurately follows the guidelines of the various regulatory bodies is paramount.
    • For example, in Nevada, there needs to be a cashless wagering system from which the debit or credit funds are transferred through and this system requires approval from the board.
  • Since cashless casinos are in their relative infancy in the Western world, implementing this the right way will be critical to ongoing success.
  • Rather than try to implement something that regulators may not have flagged or addressed, bring it to their attention proactively. Be their partner.
  • Additionally, addressing the issue from the onset will enable your governing body to implement risk controls that could save your casino from various reputational, compliance, or security risks.
Sources:
Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.

2.1.5 Identify Applicable Regulations

2 hours

Input: Regulations and legislation

Output: Completed table: “Regulatory Legislative Impacts on Cashless”

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Chief Compliance Officer/Legal Counsel, Regulatory Body, Audit and Risk Officer, COO

  1. The new and changing regulations related to cashless will be influential on how your property is able to move forward with a virtual wallet. It is important to ensure these regulations are identified and monitored.
  2. Working with regulators, identify all the regulations that might have an impact on how your property pursues cashless. Record them in the “Regulatory Legislative Impacts on Cashless” table in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.
  3. This list should be exhaustive; no regulation or legislation should be missed. If there is a potential that the regulation or legislation will impact your property, include it.
  4. For each regulation, identify how it will impact the way in which you pursue cashless.
  5. Examples of impacts: limits on transfer of funds into or out of the virtual wallet; your property’s ability to hold funds in its bank accounts; requirements around how responsible gaming information is presented on the application.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

Carefully analyze regulatory language to identify what your property is liable for and what might fall on your various vendors.

2.1.6 Risk Management Manual/MICS Update

4 hours

Input: Governance, Risk threshold, Risk list, Likelihood of each risk, Severity of each risk, Response to each risk

Output: Documentation of necessary risk management preparation

Materials: Build an IT Risk Management Program blueprint, Risk Register Tool, Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, Risk Officer, Audit and Compliance Officer, Governing Body Accountable

  1. The purpose of this activity is to critically examine the potential risks that could arise with cashless and ensure the responses to those risks are well-documented and accessible.
  2. Cashless casino solutions are a new technology that are receiving a high level of attention and scrutiny. It’s likely that your property is unprepared.
  3. Leverage Info-Tech’s Build an IT Risk Management Program blueprint, including the Risk Register Tool. Follow the instructions in the tool to:
    • Determine who will be accountable for the risk and compliance management strategy that covers cashless.
    • Create a list of potential risks
    • Identify what the likelihood and severity of each risk is
    • Determine an appropriate risk response, based on your property's threshold.
  4. Document the results so that your property is prepared to go forward should one of the risks arise.
  5. Complete the “Cashless Risk Assessment” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Risk Register Tool

Info-Tech Insight

The governing body that will be accountable for your risk management will need to be addressed frequently throughout this process. Much like the regulators, your governing body should be seen as a partner in this process.

By the end of this phase

You should know if cashless is a possibility now.
  • This phase helped you determine if cashless will be successful at your property, as well as how to ensure your property is preparing itself for success with cashless.
  • A strong focus on vendor and regulatory partnerships will inform what method of cashless your property is prepared to support. This focus also helps you determine if there are critical technology gaps that will inhibit the success of virtual wallets.
  • If there will be barriers to adoption, your education plan should actively consider and address these.
You should have an answer to the following:
  • How will guests be educated about cashless?
  • Will you pilot the application with a focus group?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of your property’s technology health?
  • Do you understand the gaps or limitations of your current technology?
  • Are you aware of the potential regulations that will impact your property and inform how you are compliant?
  • Have you identified, assessed, and prepared to respond to new risks?

Embracing Cashless in Your Casino

Phase 3

Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors

Phase 1

1.1 Cashless Across the Property

1.2 Mapping the Impact of Cashless

Phase 2

2.1 Aligning with Key Stakeholders

Phase 3

3.1 Casino Management System Providers

3.2 Payment Solution Providers

This phase will guide you through the following activities:

  • Casino Management Systems
  • Payment Solution Providers

This phase involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • CTO
  • Director of Security
  • Additional IT team members (as appropriate)
  • COO
  • CIO
  • CFO
  • Cashless Working Group

Step 3.1

Casino Management System Providers

Activities
  • 3.1.1 Gap Assessment of Current CMS Provider

This step will guide you through the following activities:

  • Gap Assessment of Current CMS Provider

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • CTO
  • Director of Security
  • Additional IT team members (as appropriate)

Outcomes of this step

  • Potential CMS solutions and what they offer
  • Any gaps in your current CMS provider

Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors

Step 3.1 Step 3.2

Technology vendor stakeholders

There will be three key vendor stakeholders that will play a role in enabling cashless gaming at your property. As an operator, you will need to be actively involved with CMS and payment solution providers.

Casino Management System (CMS) Providers:

CMS providers have a critical role in enabling the customer to actually transfer the funds from their virtual wallet to the EGM or table for play and accounting for the transaction. Additionally, payment solution providers need to integrate with the CMS’s hardware and software to enable the process.

Logos of CMS Providers.

Payment Solution (PS) Providers:

This stakeholder enables the transfer of funds and processes the payments. PS providers allow the customer to debit their own bank account (held at a financial institution) to be transferred to the PS provider’s wallet. They are stored there until the guest accesses them via their virtual wallet.

Logos of PS Providers.

Financial Institutions (FIs):

By connecting and integrating with PS providers, this stakeholder maintains the guests original source of funds. They ensure the deposited funds are coming from a reliable source and comply with AML and KYC regulations.

Logos of Financial Institutions.

Choices, choices

There are fewer choices than expected.
  • Your property will need both of the following:
    • A casino management solution (CMS) provider.
    • A payment solution (PS) provider.
  • Some vendors may only be able to provide one aspect of these two solutions, while other vendors are attempting to provide both.
  • The various factors you considered in the previous phase should shed light on the benefits or drawbacks that would be associated with these options.
  • More importantly, it should shed light on the limitations your property might have.
  • The approval of state regulators should be top of mind.
  • Successful implementation will mean that your property has thoughtfully considered all aspects of the cashless casino framework.
Sources:
The Associated Press, "Casinos push for cashless gambling payments,” 2020.

Both solutions are critical

Sign post with two choices: 'CMS provider' and 'PS provider'.

The CMS’s role in cashless

There are fewer choices than expected.
  • Any cashless technology you choose will need to be integrated with your casino management system (CMS). As a result, your CMS provider will more than likely be the vendor chosen to enable your virtual wallet.
  • However, the CMS vendor (almost) never accepts liability in the process. But they do enable your property to offer a virtual wallet.
  • Your CMS is an integration layer that supports the transfer and accounting of funds processes across the different platforms or gaming machines you use. In this regard, it also links EGM meters to the slot accounting module of the CMS.
  • CMSs control and provide the last mile or final step required to transfer funds from the virtual wallet to the EGM meter or table.
  • If your property is already providing iGaming and sports betting, consider the vendor being used for these transactions; guests will not want three separate wallets on separate platforms.

“[The CMS is] a path process [to enable cashless.]” (Tony Gawne, Chickasaw Nation)

“The last mile” (Ted Keenan, Scientific Games)

Casino Management System Providers

Aristocrat: Mobile nCompass

The strategic player
Logo for Aristocrat Technologies.

Version of CMS required

Oasis 360 with Mobile nCompass in-game hardware
Universal wallet Guests can leverage their various wallets to perform different transactions, seamlessly transferring between slots, table, sports, and online gaming.

Responsible gaming settings

Includes three-day cool off, amount limits, direct transfer, daily limits, bet limits, and tolerance limits.
EGM funding and access methods Uses API processes where player taps their virtual “loyalty” card.

Requires payment solution providers

Yes
Multi-property funds transfer support This is enabled even if the guest is at a property in a different state, as they have their funds sitting in a “banking wallet” and not a “gaming wallet” when they are not playing.

PMS and POS tender support

Can integrate with other areas of the property such as restaurants and hotels.
Sources:
Legato, 2019

What you’ll like about them:

  • Aristocrat has been actively working toward creating a virtual gaming wallet and first introduced the capability at G2E in 2019.
  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, they have strategically introduced cashless into their three-pillar approach aligning:
    • Mobile
    • Cashless
    • Clean
  • Player enrolls in the virtual wallet via a kiosk or at the club desk. It is integrated with the player’s loyalty account.

Konami: Money Klip Cashless Wagering

The carded player

Logo for Konami.

Version of CMS required

Integrates in two phases, with the first phase requiring SYNKROS 3.24.3 or higher and the second phase requiring SYNKROS 4.0.8 or above.
Universal walletCurrently not clear if it’s usable for sports and online, but is available for brick-and-mortar gaming.

Responsible gaming settings

The property gets to set limits based on their own “tiers.” This allows different account tiers to have certain capabilities
EGM funding and access methodsThe initial deposit must be done at the cage. After that, the guest can load funds via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and/or other types of banking wallets. The guest uses their loyalty card and a pin via an LED screen or mobile application.

Requires payment solution providers

Integrates with Everi, FABI, Global Payments, Sightline, and Koin.
Multi-property funds transfer supportFunds can be transferred and a part of a universal wallet across various properties of the same brand.

PMS and POS tender support

This is possible, and known integrations are coming with Boyd Gaming.

Sources:


Legato, 2019.


Konami, 2021.


Bartlett, 2020.

What you’ll like about them:

  • When you are trying to decide how cashless will be adopted and are looking to make the process as simple as possible, Konami’s loyalty-card-based system will be a great help.
  • Konami’s CMS has been supporting cashless for over five years.
  • Operators can accept no liability or some liability by allowing the guests’ funds to remain in their gaming wallets for a set period of time.
  • Konami is simple for operational staff, as new changes are simply placing “free play” on guests’ accounts.

Scientific Games: Unified Wallet

The universal player

Logo for Scientific Games.

Version of CMS required

iView Wallet 3 is required, but it works better with iView4. It requires CMP, which could require just small patches to enable, or Bon Tempo ACSC version 13 or above.
Universal walletWorks with brick-and-mortar was well as online gaming and sports betting.

Responsible gaming settings

n/a
EGM funding and access methodsFunds are loaded at the cage or by mobile wallet. It then leverages API/Bluetooth connection to enable the player to transfer funds from the wallet to EGM and back.

Requires payment solution providers

Yes, it can integrate with Everi, FABI, and Sightline.
Multi-property funds transfer supportIt can be rolled out across multi-property locations under the same brand.

PMS and POS tender support

Able to integrate seamlessly with hotel and F&B solutions.

Sources:


Bontempo, 2020.


Legato, 2019.

What you’ll like about them:

  • Operators moving forward with Scientific Games will see the process and app as a customer-friendly way to enable adoption.
  • SG has created a truly “universal wallet” where the guest can transfer their funds between the different gaming wallets they might have already, as well as across the entire property.
  • The operator can enable one of two guest viewing options – one where all wallets are separate and one where funds can be accessed for any means.

IGT: Resort Wallet and IGT Pay

The standalone player

Logo for IGT.

Version of CMS required

Carded cashless option requires no upgrades to customers; however, the cardless cashless option does require properties to upgrade.
Universal walletWhile it is intended for brick-and-mortar properties to allow guests to fund a wagering account via external sources, the guest can use their wallet in lottery, online, sports, and land-based gaming spaces.

Responsible gaming settings

n/a
EGM funding and access methodsIt leverages the combination of loyalty cards and mobile applications. The mobile applications leverage BLE technology and require hardware upgrades.

Requires payment solution providers

Leverages IGT Pay which acts as its own payment processing solution.
Multi-property funds transfer supportFunds can be transferred between sibling properties.

PMS and POS tender support

This is already an integrated component of Resort Wallet, enabling POS and PMS payments to take place.

Sources:


Bontempo, 2020.


Legato, 2019.

What you’ll like about them:

  • IGT is a unique player in the CMS space, as they do not actually require integration with a third-party payment solution provider.
  • IGT leverages a bonus structure to reward players for using cashless as a method to incentivize adoption.
  • The main limitation that operators might experience is that funds cannot be directly transferred back to the external wallet. Rather, funds must be withdrawn via kiosk or at the casino cash desk.

3.1.1 Gap Assessment of Current CMS Provider

1-2 hours

Input: CMS Gap Assessment considerations

Output: Understanding of the limitations of your CMS provider when it comes to cashless

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, CTO, CMO, CGO/Casino Leadership, CFO, Additional IT team members (as appropriate)

  1. The purpose of this activity is to review your current CMS provider. Evaluate if the vendor is fulfilling all of your necessary requirements or if it should be changed prior to pursuing cashless.
  2. Referring to the “CMS Gap Assessment” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template, read through the questions and identify whether your vendor is meeting or not meeting each consideration. Make note of the various ways in which the vendor does or does not address each consideration.
  3. If the vendor has a significant number of “gaps” and/or your property is already considering a new CMS vendor, cashless should be tabled until that vendor is selected. Ensure the CMS’s virtual wallet capabilities are included in that RFP process.
  4. If the vendor is actively meeting all your requirements, then begin your search for a provider by speaking with them about their cashless solution. Use the next few slides to identify how each CMS supports cashless.
  5. Complete the “Technical Impact of Cashless ” slide in your Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

Your property should not pursue a cashless casino with the current CMS provider if your property does not plan to use them long term.

Step 3.2

Payment Solution Providers

Activities
  • 3.2.1 Cashless Casino Decision Point

This step will guide you through the following activities:

  • Cashless Casino Decision Point

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership
  • COO
  • CIO
  • CFO
  • Cashless Working Group

Outcomes of this step

  • Understand the role of payment solution providers
  • Make the decision to go forward with cashless now or to wait

Identifying Cashless Options and Vendors

Step 3.1 Step 3.2

Payment enablers

Who takes on the liability and responsibility?
  • Most properties will require a payment enabler, given that their CMS and they themselves are not interested in taking on the additional liability or risk.
  • Your virtual wallet will require this vendor or stakeholder to have access to a federally regulated money transmitter license. Generally speaking (aside from IGT) this will not apply to the CMSs.
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees this process.
  • Essentially, this stakeholder is responsible for working closely with the external FIs to provide the necessary “banking wallet” that will let guests’ funds be held when they are not in use.
  • This relationship is critical because it could impact how regulators enforce cashless on your property.

Sources:


Stutz, The Nevada Independent, 2020.

Info-Tech Insight

The benefit of using the FI that your payment solution provider works with is that it enables KYC. This will make your regulators happy and enable your virtual wallet’s compliance.

Payment Solution Providers

Everi: CashClub Wallet

The reliable choice

Logo for Everi.

Everi is a long-standing payment solution provider in the industry, which means it’s not a surprise that they would have a critical role to play in this space.

Their solution allows for funds to be debited from the customer’s bank account onto Everi’s cloud platform account. From here, the guest can withdraw money from Everi’s account to their virtual wagering account and access the funds for play.

The solution can work across the property and brand in its various locations. It enables the guest to use the application at slots, cages, kiosks, table games, POS, iGaming, and sports betting.

By handling all the transactions, Everi will be favored by regulators. It even allows guests to use their credit card to load their gaming wallet.

Sources:


Everi Holdings Inc., 2020

What you’ll like about them:

  • Their solution is 100% cloud-hosted.
  • They accept any PCI compliance involved with the transactions; however, as the operator, it will be your responsibility to ensure attestation.
  • They are directly tied to Wells Fargo, meaning additional KYC checks occur even before funds are cleared to go into a guest’s account.
  • The solution links directly with the player’s loyalty account.
  • It already has known integrations with SG.

FABICash: FABICashless

The satisfier

Logo for FABICash.

FABICash’s cashless solution allows the guest to fund a mobile wallet directly via debit, credit, or eCheck. Once the funds are on the guest's mobile wallet, they can transfer funds to an EGM or table game using a secure PIN and transfer funds back to their virtual gaming wallet in the same manner.

The mobile wallet will be connected with the CMS provider of the property’s choice, allowing for real-time transactions. Moreover, it can integrate with other interfaces so that funds can be transferred between the different wallet types the player might have.

For operators looking for property-wide integration (PMS and POS) to enable a holistic guest experience and have the solution set up quickly (it can be up and running in 10 days), this solution is ideal.

Sources:


Gruetze, 2020.


FABICash. 2021.

What you’ll like about them:

  • FABICASH has good integration with most sports betting platforms, including FanDual, Churchill Downs, and Draftkings.
  • Solution is 100% cloud-hosted.
  • It uses their FABITrack solution to support AML regulations; funds come only from legitimate FIs and are enhanced by KYC measures.
  • The engineers that built this platform are the same ones who answer support calls.
  • Guest can independently set up their wallet in as little as 15 seconds.

Sightline: Play+

The all-in-one

Logo for Sightline.

Like the payment solution providers previously discussed, Sightline relies on integration with the property’s CMS to offer a cashless wagering experience to guests.

Operators are given choices around how the account is set up (online or in the casino) and how funds are transferred to the EGM (loyalty card or mobile device). Your property can control adoption to a greater degree and manage the necessary costs with upgrades.

Already insured with the FDIC, Sightline takes the liability and responsibility off of the operator for holding the customers’ virtual wallet funds that are not in play.

Sightline is already a known player in this space and will continue to expand their reputation by enabling cashless play.

Sources:


Financial IT, 2020.


Streeter, 2021.


Sightline, 2021.

What you’ll like about them:

  • Sightline already has known integrations with Aristocrat Technologies through Boyd Gaming.
  • In late 2020, Sightline formed a strategic partnership with FreedomPay to link digital payments and loyalty.
  • Heavily integrated with various online gaming and sports betting providers, Sightline enables a seamless transition between virtual gaming wallets. This extends to other areas of the resort as well, such as food and beverage and hotel.

Global Payments: VIP Mobility

The differentiator

Logo for Global Payments.

Unlike the other payment solution providers featured, Global Payments sets itself apart by not attaching itself to any CMS software.

The banking wallet and the gaming wallet are one in the same, and the solution operates as a distributed ledger rather than a virtual gaming wallet. The ledger acts as an electronic TITO (ticket), tracking all new funds won.

The player can transfer the funds from their mobile device to the slot or table game by scanning a QR code and inputting a PIN code on their phone.

Compared to the other payment solution providers and CMS providers, Global Payments is approaching cashless differently. This is their greatest strength and potentially their greatest challenge, too.

Sources:


Global Payments, 2021.


Global Payments., 2020.


Sutz, CDC Gaming Reports, 2020.

What you’ll like about them:

  • This option might be better suited for an operator who wants to offer cashless, but the costs to upgrade technology across the property would be too high.
  • Global Payments provides all the hardware, software, and services required for cashless delivery.
  • Global Payments accepts the control, management, and liability associated with holding guest funds in the ledger.

3.2.1 Cashless Casino Decision Point

1-2 hours

Input: Points of support for cashless, Points of opposition for cashless

Output: Consensus to pursue cashless or wait

Materials: Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Participants: CIO/IT Director/IT Senior Leadership, COO, CIO, CFO, Cashless Working Group

  1. The purpose of this activity is to come to a consensus on whether your casino property will pursue a cashless casino strategy at this current time.
  2. Each of the key participants should discuss their points of support and concerns for going forward with a virtual wallet. Use “The Case for Cashless” slide in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template to track these.
  3. At the end of the discussion, have each member vote on whether they would like to see the initiative pursued or not. Based on the results of this vote:
    1. Your property is in a position to pursue cashless and address the potential roadblocks identified in the activities of this blueprint.
    2. Your property should wait before pursuing virtual wallets.
  4. Complete the “Cashless Timeline” and “Recommendation and Next Steps” slides in the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template.

Download the Cashless Casino Decision Point Template

Info-Tech Insight

Pursuing cashless at the right time and with the right partners will enable its success. Do not rush into a new technology that your property will be unable to support long term.

Choosing the right time to pursue cashless

  • Given what you now know about your property and cashless virtual wallets, the real question remains not if, but when your property should pursue and adopt this technology.
  • By leveraging the information gathered through the activities in this blueprint, your property is now in a better position to understand what will be necessary to implement.
  • Leveraging your relationship with your current CMS will be critical to the success of cashless at your property.
  • The questions remain:
    • When will your casino be ready to adopt cashless?
    • Have you got the right CMS partner to provide long-term support through the ongoing changes anticipated in this industry?
Stock image of a digital wallet.

Summary of Accomplishment

Problem Solved

Your property now has a comprehensive view of what would be involved in adopting a cashless virtual wallet in your casino. The impact of cashless across the entire property (versus centralized to a specific component such as just the casino) is now understood.

Your property’s ability to adopt cashless will be heavily influenced by the operational benefits that can be realized, the likelihood of guest adoption, the capabilities of your technology, and your relationship with regulators.

Your current CMS provider will in some way be a part of your cashless implementation (unless you plan to change this provider in the next one to two years). As a result, conversations with this stakeholder and the payment solution providers they work with are vital.

In the end, it’s not a matter of if your property adopts cashless, simply a matter of when.

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of an Info-Tech workshop.

Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com
1-888-670-8889

Additional Support

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of an Info-Tech Workshop.

Photo of Brittany Lutes. Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com 1-888-670-8889

To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.

Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

Sample of a slide titled Cashless Segment Analysis.
Identify Your Cashless Segments
Identify which segments of your casino are likely to adopt cashless and how their adoption will have an impact on overall spending in the casino.
Sample of a slide titled Technical Impact of Cashless.
Assess your Property’s Technology Health & CMS Gap Assessment
Review your property’s current technological health to identify what should be replaced, modernized, or maintained to support cashless.

Research Contributors and Experts

BJ Bouscher
VP of IT
Firekeepers Casino and Hotel

Steeve Reese
CIO
SUNS Legacy Partners, LLC

Sasha Purico
CTO
Philadelphia 76ers

Jeffrey Hoss
VP of Business Development
Everi

Christopher Justice
President
Global Payments Gaming Solutions

Ted Keenan
VP of Product Management
Scientific Games

Chris Cleveland
Product Manager
Aristocrat Technologies Inc.

Cath Burns
EVP of Customer Experience
Aristocrat Technologies Inc.

Jared Mayberry
SVP of Customer Experience
Aristocrat Technologies Inc.

Anthony Rabito
President
FABICash

Amber Allan
Systems Business Operations Manager
Konami

Joseph Dominquez
Systems Business Operations Executive
Konami

David Ledford
VP of IT
Cherokee Nation Entertainment

Tony Gawne
Director of IT
Chickasaw Nation

Michael Jungen
Global VP of CX Solutions Technology
Aristocrat Technologies Inc.

Sina Miri
VP of Product, Strategy & Innovation
Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
Michael Ratner
Director of Product Management – Systems Commercialization
IGT

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Bibliography

“American Gaming Association Policy Principles Offer Framework to Advance Casino Payments Modernization.” American Gaming Association, 16 June 2020.

Baker, Ethan. “Cashless Casinos – How the Coronavirus Is Making Casinos Modernize.” Casino.org, 10 July 2020.

Bartlett, Michael. “Aristocrat brings cashless wagering tech to Boyd’s Blue Chip Casino." Gaming America, 26 Oct. 2020.

Bhattarai, Abha. “Baby boomers, to retailers’ surprise, are dominating online shopping.” The Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2021.

Bloomberg News. “China’s Digital Currency Could Reshape Macau’s Gambling Industry .” Bloomberg, 2 Dec. 2020.

Bontempo, Dave. “Going Cashless.” Global Gaming Business Magazine, 24 Mar. 2020.

“Cashless Casino Session.” TribalNet Conference, 2020.

“Cashless Gaming.” Global Payments, 2021.

“Cashless payment technologies in gambling premises." Gambling Commission of UK, n.d. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

“Cashless Solutions.” FABICash, 2021.

“Casino players want cashless options and moderate gaming budgets, report shows." Yogonet Gaming News, 17 Aug. 2020.

“Cell Phone Development.” Motorola Solutions, n.d. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

Cipriano, Chantal A., Michael Lipton, and Kevin Weber. “Canadian Gaming Association's Standards For Cashless Wagering.” Mondaq, 6 Aug. 2020.

Dimock, Micahel. “Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins.” Pew Research Center, 17 Jan. 2019.

“Everi Highlights Roadmap for Cashless Gaming Industry Leadership.” Everi, 12 Aug. 2020.

“Facebook.” Britannica. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

Fry, William. “Now, more than half of Americans are millennials or younger.” Brookings, 30 July 2020.

German, Peter. “Dirty Money.” Peter German & Associates Inc., 31 Mar. 2018.

“Global Payments Gaming Solutions Leads the Cashless Movement.” Global Payments, 26 Oct. 2020.

Bibliography

Gruetze, Mark. “Focus on FABICash: FABICash evolves into a leader in cashless gaming.” CDC Gaming Reports, 30 Oct. 2020.

Gruetze, Mark. “Virtual wallets ahead, but keep players’ needs in mind, vendors say.” CDC Gaming Reports Inc., 11 Oct. 2018.

Hainsworth, Jeremy. "Could cashless casinos curb money laundering in B.C.?." Vancouver Is Awesome, 27 Sept. 2019.

Henricks, Mark. “The Emergence of Sports Betting.” The Holmes Report, 4 Nov. 2019.

Home for the holidays: Shopping, work, and travel trends during COVID-19. IBM.com, 2020.

“Internet History.” Internet Hall of Fame, n.d. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

Jaques, Ian and Gyarmati, Sandor. “Delta bets on cashless casino to tackle money laundering.” Delta Optimist, 26 Sept. 2019.

JL2977. “Why Millennials Are Not Susceptible to Gambling.” The Yale Tribune, 7 July 2018.

“Laptop Computer History.” Computer Hope, 2 Apr. 2019.

Legato, Frank. “Q&A: Cashless Casinos.” CDC Gaming Reports Inc., 9 Dec. 2019.

Lindsay, Bethany. “Casino management ignored workers' warnings about money laundering, B.C. union head charges.” CBC News, 24 Feb. 2020.

Massey, Luke. “Cashless gaming: A new era for how we pay to play.” Totally Gaming, 22 Jan. 2018.

“MGM Mirage Combines TITO Technology.” IGT, 21 Oct. 2002.

“Millennial Research Report and Infographic 2017.” Eventbrite, n.d. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

“Money Klip Cashless Wagering.” Konami, 2021.

Moraine, Julie. “Konami Debuts Game-Changing Cashless Payment System in the US.” Gambling News, 24 July 2020.

Mulheir, Conor. "IGT cashless Resort Wallet solution approved for Nevada roll-out." iGaming Business, 6 Jan. 2021.

Murphy, Chris. "Station Casinos opts for PlayOn cashless payment solution." SBC Americas, 19 Aug. 2020.

Bibliography

“National Economic Impact of the U.S. Gaming Industry.” American Gaming Industry, 2018.

Newsdesk. "Everi to win if casinos go cashless amid pandemic: analyst." GGR Asia, 13 July 2020.

Nygen, Ann. "Getting in touch with touchless tech." Gaming and Leisure, Winter 2020, pp. 66-67.

Ordine, Bill. "As Society Goes Cashless, Casinos Soon Could Follow." Gambling.com, 4 Sept. 2020.

Payments. "FreedomPay and Sightline Payments to Create World’s First Cashless Ecosystem for Casinos, Resorts and Gaming Operators." Financial IT, 16 Dec. 2020.

Perry, Wayne. "US casinos push for cashless gambling payments, citing virus." The Associated Press, 16 June 2020.

“Personal Computer.” Britannica. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.

“Play+.” Sightline, 2021.

Reddy, Ryan. 2020. "Leveraging Cashless and Contactless Technologies." Tribal Gaming and Hospitality, 2020.

Scott-Briggs, Angela. “What is a Mobile Wallet, Origin, and History in Financial Technology?” Tech Bullion, 26 Nov. 2016.

Smith, Sam. "Juniper Research: Contactless Payment Transactions to Reach $6 trillion Globally by 2024, Fueled by Increased Card Use." Business Wire, 11 Feb. 2020.

“Starbucks Mobile Transactions Exceed 26 Million within First Year.” Starbucks, 5 Dec. 2011.

Streeter, Joe. "Sightline Payments to lead Indiana’s cashless wagering charge." Payment Expert, 13 Jan. 2021.

Stutz, Howard. "Digital and cashless gaming technology viewed as bringing casinos into the 21st century." The Nevada Independent, 22 June 2020.

Sutz, Howard. “Executive: Casino industry far more open to digital payments and cashless gaming.” CDC Gaming Reports, 7 Dec. 2020.

The Associated Press. "Casinos push for cashless gambling payments." Fortune, 16 June 2020.

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Tonin, Derek. "Cashless Casinos: How bitcoin technology can create a better & safer gaming experience.” Calvine Ayre, 2 Oct. 2020.

“US Casinos To Go Cashless, Citing Pandemic Fears." PYMNTS, 18 June 2020.

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“WinStar World Casino debuts Everi's cashless gaming solution.” Casino Beats, 3 Dec. 2020.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 9 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Prepare for Cashless
  • Call #1 - Discuss cashless casino and gain an understanding of where your organization is currently.
  • Call #2 - Create a Cashless Working Group.
  • Call #3 - Identify your cashless market segments.

Guided Implementation #2 - Identify and Overcome Barriers
  • Call #1 - Conduct a journey map and calculate the impact of ATM fees on your business.
  • Call #2 - Create an education plan and identify which market segments should be leveraged in a focus group.
  • Call #3 - Determine your current technology’s health, opportunities, and threats.
  • Call #4 - Actively consider new regulations and update your Risk Manual.

Guided Implementation #3 - Identify Cashless Options and Vendors
  • Call #1 - Determine which vendors your property will leverage for cashless technology.
  • Call #2 - Decide whether to move forward with cashless technology now or wait.

Authors

Larry Fretz

Brittany Lutes

Contributors

  • BJ Bouscher, VP of IT, Firekeepers Casino and Hotel
  • Steve Reese, CIO, SUNS Legacy Partners, LLC
  • Sasha Purico, CTO, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Jeffrey Hoss, VP of Business Development, Everi
  • Christopher Justice, President, Global Payments Gaming Solutions
  • Sina Miri, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Michael Jungen, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Sanja Nedeljkovic, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Chris Cleveland, Product Manager, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Cath Burns, EVP of Customer Experience, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Jared Mayberry, SVP of Customer Experience, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
  • Anthony Rabito, President, FABICash
  • Amber Allan, Systems Business Operations Manager, Konami
  • Joseph Dominquez, Systems Business Operations Executive, Konami
  • David Ledford, VP of IT, Cherokee Nation Entertainment
  • Tony Gawne, Director of IT, Chickasaw Nation
  • Michael Ratner, Director of Product Management – Systems Commercialization, IGT
  • Ted Keenan, VP of Product Management, Scientific Games
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