Conversations with potential customers over cashless gaming last week have come a long way since the previous Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention was held in July in Vegas, according to Flexia CEO Craig Libson.
Flexia, a Las Vegas-based specialty fintech company with a unique omnichannel platform empowering a cashless solution for the gaming industry, has gotten a lot of recognition over the last nine months as it begins rolling out its products in the U.S. It developed them five years ago in Mexico where it has more than 50 casinos under contract.
“The big standout for us this year as compared to last year’s show is the level of knowledge that operators now have about the value of cashless solutions,” Libson said. “Last year, we had to do a lot of educating. I would say 85% of our conversations at this year’s tradeshow were substantive, with people who are really interested. Also, we’ve had more exposure in the market now and people know who we are; they’re aware of our partnership with MVB Bank. We’ve formed a lot of strong relationships and this time next year, we’ll have a significant footprint in the U.S. market.”
Libson said some operators previously bought platforms that didn’t have key features they now realize are important. They’re recognizing that Flexia can seamlessly populate a loyalty program and a wallet and can incorporate partial existing data, then supplement it.
“Some products (from other companies) came into the market during the last year and unfortunately, they didn’t provide a completely positive customer (or operator) experience. So while many people are interested in cashless, they may have previously had a less-than-positive experience with other solutions,” Libson said. “We can prove to them that Flexia is different and that we’ve carefully thought through all the possible user experiences and integrations and created our product to solve for those. Operators and partners recognize our deep experience and knowledge and the intelligence built into our platforms. We’re getting a really nice reception from customers who are more educated in cashless gaming, as well as from customers who have previously tasted something and not necessarily loved it, but know what they need now.”
Flexia is just entering the market with a couple of casino-management platforms, Libson said. The company had to migrate its program into the U.S. and get its Mastercard in place with MVB Bank and modify some of the know-your-customer aspects that are more stringent in the U.S. compared to Mexico.
“We added a few different features to accommodate what’s changed in the world – for instance, using a dynamic QR code on the slot machine to transfer funds, so that every session has a unique ID instead of sticking a piece of plastic into the machine,” Libson said. “These are relatively small changes, but you want to think them through and do it right. You want to discuss in detail with the operators to ensure it’s the best technology to create the most seamless solution for them.”
Libson said the 2022 trade show in Anaheim was even better than the July conference in Las Vegas. There was a higher quality of discussions among those who attended, he added.
Since Flexia launched five years ago, Libson said online gaming is more prevalent and pointed out that his company bridges the online world and the land-based world by linking accounts to the different systems.
“People are more interested and they’re seeing how they can treat their customers in line with the different uses in their gaming experience like sportsbooks and online gaming,” Libson said. “We’re exploring person-to-person betting within the network. Let’s use our system to pay each other. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen.”
Flexia expects to be in multiple casinos with multiple platforms by the end of the year, Libson said. That will include everything from small bar installations to major casinos.
“Indian gaming is a primary focus for us, because our product fits so well with the local casinos,” Libson said. “We don’t want somebody who goes to Vegas on a vacation and gets a card and never shows up and uses it again. Our product is tied into the casino’s loyalty program and we want the person who comes back to the casino property frequently and wants to earn loyalty points. That’s why this show is important to us.”
In the future, Flexia President Scott Walker said, they expect to integrate with several online gaming operators, in addition to the land-based casinos and systems operators. “They’re all interested in the ability to move money between those environments – the online gaming wallet and land-based gaming wallet.”
Flexia is majority owned by MVB Bank, which also holds the majority of money with online sports betting sites, Libson said. That creates a lot of efficiencies and MVB is a progressive bank, even looking at cryptocurrency.
When it comes to innovation for Flexia, that means continuing to customize programs the more they work with operators, Libson said. Much of that centers on the casino’s existing loyalty programs, some of which may not be very advanced, sometimes with only a name and phone number.
They’re talking to properties about how to configure those loyalty programs, so online matches up with land-based casinos when it comes to tracking and promotions. It’s about seeing what the market and customer needs rather than telling them what Flexia has.
“We’re going to be like what the Apple smartphone was to the Palm Pilot,” Libson said. “We’ve launched a well-thought-out and fully featured platform.”