Turning the Page in Casino Payment Technology
Welcome to the new era of casino operations. With the tide changing in regulations and cashless making its way into the gaming infrastructure, operators and players have access to a world of new opportunities. The shift to cashless is not only meeting the needs of today’s digital-first consumers, it’s bringing casinos up to speed with the technologies and payment systems that have become ubiquitous across other industries.
So which cashless trends will be accelerated as gaming payments go beyond greenbacks? Let’s take a look at what’s in the cards for cashless, and how casinos can benefit from these trends.
Harnessing Cashless Payments for Marketing
Digital advertising isn’t slowing down: by 2024, it is expected to account for a staggering 70% of the $314 billion advertising market. With its ability to precisely target and retarget consumers, the power and potential of digital advertising is enormous—especially when combined with cashless payment technology. Credit cards and digital payments give operators the opportunity to collect data and gather insights about their customers, allowing them to make more targeted marketing decisions in the future and be more efficient with their advertising spend.
Likewise, innovations in cashless technology are also enabling advertisers to directly connect with consumers, right at the point of sale. For example, cashless readers featuring large touchscreens and flexible user interfaces allow operators to serve custom content to consumers as they wait for a transaction to complete. This capability is transforming digital marketing, turning payment devices into prime real estate for advertisers to deliver the right ads, to the right audience, at the right time.
Why it works for casinos: From promotions tailored to a player’s game preferences to customized loyalty programs to geo-targeted advertising aimed at customers visiting your casino (or a competitor!), the digital marketing possibilities for casino operators are endless. And with the right cashless technology—and a solid media partner—operators can even offset their machine connectivity costs by receiving a portion of the advertising revenue generated by ads displayed on their devices. By analyzing the results of these ads, and which payment methods people are using the most, operators can gain valuable insights on their guests that can inform their digital media strategy in the future.
Customizing Loyalty Programs
The future of loyalty programs is digital. It’s not hard to see why: with more information about each consumer, brands are able to customize loyalty programs to their exact purchases, needs, and preferences. Loyalty programs are already in place in many cashless technologies—just think about credit card points and rewards, which have practically become a standalone industry. Furthermore, consumers are looking for their loyalty programs to go digital: in a study by Harvard Business Review, nearly half of surveyed consumers rated digital and omnichannel access as one of the most important features in their loyalty programs. The only higher-ranking feature was exceptional customer service—another area that can be enhanced by seamless cashless experiences.
Why it works for casinos: Loyalty is king in the casino space, with operators offering lucrative rewards to their players to keep their business. As we know, cashless technology allows operators to customize those rewards even further, offering incentives that appeal to players’ specific, preferred gaming experiences. Casino operators should look for cashless solutions that integrate with existing loyalty programs, creating an even more convenient, customized experience for players—one that will keep them coming back time and time again.
While cashless payments are still dominated by credit and debit cards, mobile payments are on the rise. According to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, 56% of U.S. adults have made a mobile payment in the past year. Many of these mobile payment users are younger, proving the power of mobile payments to appeal to new generations of customers. Mobile apps and digital wallets offer seamless, convenient, contactless payments—all factors that enhance the customer experience and meet the evolving expectations of customers who are more focused on hygiene than ever before.
Why it works for casinos: Mobile technology—including mobile wallets, mobile payments like Apple Pay, and branded apps—offers endless opportunities for casino operators. Apps, combined with cashless payments, give players the opportunity to do things like reserve a favorite machine, review their play, and allocate money for wagering from their phones. When payments are made directly from a phone, without the need to get cash from an ATM or keep track of a card, it’s one less thing for players to misplace or worry about. For operators, all-in-one integrated apps can become a key part of the customer experience, offering everything from payments to loyalty programs in one convenient click. Mobile technology is the logical next step for casinos as they integrate cashless wagering, giving players the modern, digital-first experience they expect in 2020 and beyond. And, fortunately for operators, the move to mobile integration is closer and easier than you think—with solutions that work without expensive, whole-system upgrades.
Taking Advantage of the Trends
Fortunately for casino operators looking to make the move to cashless, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Operators can start with relatively simple hardware or technology upgrades that allow players to start using cashless payments quickly. Modular solutions, like adding Bluetooth (BLE) technology to bill validators to allow for mobile payments, can allow operators to build on existing systems to rapidly take advantage of new opportunities.
When it comes time to do a complete technology upgrade, all-in-one payment solutions offer operators and players the most flexibility when it comes to payments. From cards to mobile payments, these all-in-one machines can be installed throughout a casino to give players maximum convenience and a more streamlined gaming experience.
Regardless of what technology operators choose, the best plan will always be to think holistically. Finding solutions that improve the experience for players and operators, across the casino floor and beyond—solutions that offer more opportunities, rewards, and modernizations for both parties—is key to taking advantage of everything cashless wagering has to offer. And by finding solutions that can seamlessly integrate with existing systems, operators can maintain visibility across all peripheral devices—ensuring a more consistent payment experience from the front desk to the casino floor.
The entire casino industry is preparing for the changes that will come with cashless wagering. Operators who take advantage of these trends now have the chance to position their casinos as innovative, modern operations—improving the wagering experience for current customers while attracting a new generation of players. The future of the industry is bright, with more ways than ever to harness the power of technology, both now and in the future.