Focus on Acres: A new cashless solution built for the modern-day casino

March 17, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports
March 17, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports

Food for thought for casino operators: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

The precise origin of the quote is unknown, but it concisely addresses the fact that large casino suppliers have responded to cashless solutions by relying on technology that hasn’t evolved for over two decades.

Sometimes things need “a little shaking up” to lead an operation out of its comfort zone. A “disrupter” if you will, to quote Noah Acres of Acres Manufacturing, when he was asked about his company’s newest product, Cashless Casino.

“Cashless Casino’s design is the best solution to connect payments with real-time gaming data in the safest way possible for a casino,” he said. “Our competitors are stuck with modifying an old solution to try to fit to modern day needs.”

Embracing change and giving a better way of doing things a chance is a challenge in any business, but as Acres explained it: “There’s a lot of benefit to being a disruptor because you get to look at things with fresh eyes and not be tied to making old solutions still relevant.”

Fact is, according to Acres, old solutions when it comes to cashless gaming are no longer relevant in the modern casino environment.

Acres’ optimal cashless solution eliminates CWA (cashless wagering accounts) altogether, according to the company’s recently released White Paper. Whereas a CWA requires the casino operator to assume liability for all player deposits, Cashless Casino eliminates this liability because it prevents casinos from ever actually taking possession of player deposits.

“I think a lot of operators have looked at the cashless wagering architecture and see nothing but risk and downside to it,” Acres explained. “Casino operators are typically not developing their own technology. They’re looking at system suppliers to provide these solutions.

“The system side of the slot business has gone completely ignored for more than 20 years. As such, there is a lot of opportunity for a new player to come in and disrupt it exactly as we have done with Acres’ Cashless Casino. We have the benefit of starting from scratch and creating solutions that fit the modern day.”

Operators need look no further for answers than Acres, which has provided ground-breaking technology for the casino industry for nearly half a century. Founder John Acres, a member of the Gaming Hall of Fame, reinvented the way casinos do business by creating the loyalty program software, the modern progressive jackpot system, and instant bonusing.

Acres’ Cashless Casino solution mitigates risk, operates more quickly, and is more secure. Player deposits remain in the custody of the financial services provider or the player at all times.

“Our Cashless Casino benefits players in a lot of different ways.” Acres continued. “First of all, it’s a one-step wallet, which is what we alluded to in our White Paper. The player makes a deposit with the processor, it is then placed on account, which allows the processor to move it directly to the slot machine.”

Acres contrasted this with legacy CWA technology whereby funds have to be moved from the payment processor wallet to the cashless wagering account and finally to the game, which “makes it confusing for players”.

“When you factor in Cashless Casino to non-gaming related cashless, for example, making a purchase at the gift shop, coffee shop, or restaurant, the money always remains in the payment processor’s wallet ready to be spent, whether the payment terminal is at a slot machine, table game, or retail outlet”.

Compare that to cashless wagering account architecture, as Acres explained, where money has to be moved to the wallet for gaming play and then has to be moved back to the non-gaming play wallet.

“With a cashless wagering account, players are constantly moving money back and forth between the two wallets,” he said. “Our Cashless Casino solution eliminates that completely.”

“Furthermore, we provide real-time data, which means we can send messages and bonuses based on real-time in game events. We can also handle multiple forms of values, which means that the player, in addition to transferring cashable credits to the game, can also transfer free play, casino credit, or the different bonuses they can win.

“CWAs can only handle one kind of currency, whereas we can provide a totally brand-new player experience that’s mobile. That’s the Cashless Casino solution.”

Acres said that Cashless Casino has been approved in 10 gaming jurisdictions. It is already being used by Penn Entertainment on 31,000 machines at 21 different casinos in nine states. The company’s first Native American contract with Rolling Hills Casino in Northern California was recently inked.

“Cashless Casino is a software application installed on our Foundation hardware,” Acres revealed. “All the operator has to do to go cashless is install Foundation, then select a mobile app and a payment processor. It’s pretty seamless and actually can be installed in any casino within 15 weeks. And the reason it can be installed in any casino is because of our SAS-Sharing technology, which allows casinos to install Foundation without losing any functionality from their CMS, whether it be Aristocrat, IGT, Konami or Light & Wonder.”

Noah explained that there is only one data port on a slot machine that can write credits to the game. That data port is currently being occupied by the legacy system.

“With Foundation, we can unplug the legacy system from that data port, plug Foundation in, and then plug the old system into Foundation.,” he said. “The old system stays operational even as Foundation begins to work. No matter what casino management system a casino uses, they can still install Foundation and Cashless Casino.”

Given the fact it is estimated that in modern society over 70 percent of all consumer transactions are cashless, and the number of companies doing business over apps continues to grow, it is time for operators to reap the real benefits of one of the casino industry’s best opportunities to drive growth and lower costs.

“That doesn’t mean it will automatically be adapted in the casino environment,” Acres cautioned. “The only way it will happen is if you remove all the friction and make it a really easy and satisfying experience that’s beneficial to the player. That’s what we do.

“Cashless wagering account architecture merely contemplates the player moving money from A to B. Our Cashless Casino solution provides a whole new player experience, whether it is bonuses that can be sent from their phone to the game, or instant messaging. This is the start of a new era in casino gaming that is both data-driven and connected.”