As cashless payment providers compete for market share in the gaming industry, the stakes are increasingly high. Companies are investing millions of dollars, developing complex strategies and algorithms, and employing some of the brightest minds in the space.
But Flexia Payments might be the only cashless provider with a strategy partially inspired by the Ancient Greeks.
“Cashless is like the Trojan horse for getting a better customer onboarding experience and customer engagement,” said Flexia CEO Craig Libson during the recent Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.
Of course, it’s not quite as simple as building a giant wooden horse and hoping gaming operators will invite Flexia inside. But Libson and Scott Walker, Flexia’s president, are convinced their plan provides a unique cashless experience that starts with being majority owned by MVB Bank.
The company’s relationship with MVB gives customers “access to its Flexia Mastercard account card,” Walker says, “therefore giving casinos the ability to see with the patron is doing inside the casino, and that is a real big differentiator for us.”
Walker also notes that Flexia works with “the best processor in the business,” Galileo, a company owned by Sofi, the online personal finance company and bank.
The Trojan horse element derives from Flexia’s commitment to helping customers quickly access cashless payments securely through a better onboarding experience. Except unlike Greek history, there’s no element of surprise.
“It becomes a win-win, because the customer can walk in, get a QR code and we can get them a Flexia card in two minutes,” Libson says. “They can pull money from their bank account, and they can start playing. They can move it back to the Mastercard account and go home and never have to see the cashier or talk to a person, and they’ve got a branded card in their hand that when they spend it outside the casino, it earns loyalty points from the casino. So it’s a very integrated solution as opposed to all I want to do is give you ten different ways to fund a wallet.”
Libson and Walker admit that banks have been reluctant to fund cashless gaming accounts specifically designed for gambling. The relationship with MVB Bank was struck with that obstacle in mind.
But what about other banks and financial companies still hesitant to fund cashless systems specifically designed for gambling purposes? Flexia circumvents that issue by transferring monies directly into its Mastercard account.
“We’re not taking money from a Citibank Visa and putting it into a cashless gaming account,” Libson says. “We’re moving it into the Mastercard wallet on our card.”
Libson goes on to explain, “it’s not specifically a gaming account, but a more useful product linked to the gaming world, but it’s not purely a gaming funding product.”
Walker adds that Flexia accounts are also designed to be used for dining, entertainment, and other services provided by casinos.
Libson and Walker feel that widespread adoption of cashless gaming systems is inevitable. COVID helped accelerate adoption of such systems, they admit, but even without the pandemic more businesses have been adopting digital technologies, such as scannable QR codes for menus.
“It’s become more natural for people to go digital,” Libson says. “I think it’s a combination of two things. Do I like the fact that I don’t have to go to a ticket window to cash out, or go to an ATM to get money?
“We’re enabling all that so it’s a better experience, but it fits with all the social dynamics that are going on.”