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PlayOn keeps the cards coming

Accessing your money while playing table games or slot machines at Nevada casinos might soon be as easy as 1-2-3-4 – or whatever your ATM pin number might be.

Automated Cashless Systems-PlayOn will present its latest technology during the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the pre-eminent show for the global casino-entertainment industry taking place Monday through Thursday at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The PlayOn technology will be available at the company’s booth, No. 2008.

“We rely on trade shows, websites and word-of-mouth particularly to get information out about this technology,” said Michael Sackrison, chief financial officer of ACS. “(G2E) is very important (so that) people will know that we are now live. We have achieved some notoriety through various periodicals here and there, and now we are having people come see us rather than reaching out to them. We’ll have a booth at G2E to provide the product both for the operational aspect and the accounting and reconciliation of the transactions. We can demonstrate all of that.”

ACS’s PlayOn technology allows patrons to securely access their money by using a debit card without ever having to leave a table. At the gaming position, a patron may swipe their debit card at the PlayOn terminal, request an amount, enter his/her corresponding pin number and, upon approval, receive a voucher that can be converted to chips, according to a press release issued by ACS.

It works just like a point-of-sale purchase, not an ATM transaction, so the possibility of a customer running up against daily withdrawal limits should not be an issue. Customers can only withdraw money in their account. They will not be allowed to incur debt using the technology.

“When you first get your debit card from the bank, you’ll see on the statement that you have some limits – a $500 ATM limit and a $2,500 to $3,000 POS limit,” Sackrison said. “If someone buys a mattress or couch, they could bump against the limit just like with gaming. It’s all the same thing with the bank. The difference with our transaction and one you do at a furniture store is that you use your pin instead of signing, like you would with a credit card.”

While the technology is already in place at Pala Casino Resort and Spa and Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California; River Rock Casino in Geyersville, California; and Santa Ana Star Casino in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, it has not been approved yet by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Stephen Warner, chief executive officer of the Reno-based company, and Sackrison said they have spoken with several properties in Nevada that have demonstrated “significant interest” in PlayOn. Of course, nothing can be done until the technology is approved by the Gaming Control Board. Warner expects the approval process to take between nine and 12 months.

PlayOn has been tested by Gaming Laboratories Inc. and complies with regulations for table games in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico and other jurisdictions. The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement has recently approved the technology, Warner said.

“We’ve been deemed a cashless wagering system that requires a nonrestricted manufacturer’s license,” he said. “Basically, we have a similar application in New Jersey to become a casino-service industry enterprise. We have filled out applications, they are in process, and we’ve begun meeting with investigators.”

ACS’s technology should provide a growth opportunity for local casinos. Warner said the idea behind PlayOn is to increase holding power, which equals an increase in theoretical revenue. The patron remains engaged in the game instead of leaving the table. This technology will also make the gaming experience more convenient for patrons.

“What we have experienced is the players appreciate the convenience, and in some sense it’s more of a secured situation, in as far as the customer doesn’t have to walk around with cash or incur any debt,” Warner said. “This creates one more touch point within the casino. Customers are creatures of habit, and they’ll continue to take markers, cash checks and use ATMs.”

Warner said that PlayOn has been well-received by patrons and the casinos that use the technology. The company also has a good working relationship with Vantiv Entertainment Solutions, which processes more than 23 billion transactions annually with a volume of $842 billion-plus. Vantiv is the payments and transactional engine behind PlayOn. Additionally, ACS employs a proprietary gateway that allows properties to impose transaction limits in order to meet internal controls and responsible gaming concerns.

“We wanted acceptance from customers, but also from casino employees, and we gained both,” Warner said. “There has been no pushback or any issues whatsoever. Everything has been going very smoothly. Our relationship with Vantiv is very good.

“PlayOn is a win-win for the entire casino landscape, and the properties we’ve worked with thus far have learned that firsthand. We look forward to reaching out and introducing PlayOn to more casinos and players in the months ahead.”

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