Chad Hoehne pinpoints three problems with adding capabilities such as point-of-sale transactions or cashless gaming to traditional casino management systems.
“It’s challenging. It’s difficult. It’s costly,” says the president of Table Trac Inc. “Those are the three things we’re trying to swipe out of the way.” CasinoTrac, his company’s unified casino information and management system, has been able to integrate easily with third-party providers since its debut almost 20 years ago.
“A CMS needs to be flexible,” Hoehne continued. “I’ve always held the philosophy that CasinoTrac is going to be an open system relative to integrations with third-party providers and that our clients are going to drive that. If a casino wants to use a certain POS system, we’re going to provide the interface. If we don’t already have the interface, we’re going to build it, and it will become part of our library.”
Among the numerous providers CasinoTrac currently accommodates are seven POS systems, nine brands of ticket redemption hardware, seven providers of Title 31 compliance tools, various bingo systems and a “couple” of digital signage companies.
Table Trac, founded in 1995 in Minnesota., began with table games management, accounting, and player tracking. It now offers a system that encompasses tables, slots, revenue accounting, IT, marketing, and players clubs. More than 300 casino customers in 13 countries use CasinoTrac.
This year, Table Trac added a Las Vegas office and announced integrations with eConnect’s advanced facial recognition system; with Centennial Gaming Systems to allow players to reprint loyalty cards and enroll in players clubs at a kiosk without staff assistance; and with Koin Payments and Marker Trax to introduce cashless payments for the company’s KTMobile app.
“The cashless area is one where integration is key,” Hoehne said, adding that Table Trac’s experience with various integrations has enabled the company to provide clients with multiple options. “The adoption of (cashless) is still getting its feet underneath it. There was an initial push in the marketplace. And there’s been a bit of a pause in the adoption of the mobile cash to game with the providers.”
One factor might be the costs associated with transactions, both for operators and players. “A lot of times, transactions into casino gaming floors have been considered a high-risk transaction and therefore incur a larger fee from the external provider,” Hoehne explained. “I think that’s part of what has to change before there’s wide adoption of cashless on the gaming floor.” He added that Koin Payments and Marker Trax offer methods that help operators control those transfer costs. Table Trac calls the integration with Koin Payments and Marker Trax “Cashless in a Box” because it combines mobile, gaming, and financial technology with marketing and player education support for operators of all sizes.
Even with the growing acceptance of cashless transactions in other industries and the prospect of less costly cashless gaming transactions, Hoehne said many players won’t give up the use of folding money. “The cash customer, the non-mobile-app user who’s got their player card is going to be an important part of our gaming floor business and the customer experience going forward,” he said. “We’re bringing in those technologies, but they’re not meant to replace the experience so many customers rely on.”
He said the company is developing Version 5 of the CasinoTrac system, which will have a new look and feel for operators, and expects to start customer demonstrations next year. “We don’t obsolete our systems that are in the field. We just continue to add features and functionality so all our clients can be operating on essentially the same version.”
In effect, CasinoTrac is capable of any number of additions, Hoehne said.
“That’s really driven by our clients,” he said. “We simply allow the customer to use those interfaces as they see fit. It’s driven by our customers making the decision that they want us to work with a certain third-party vendor. It’s a different philosophy, though, from a lot of our CMS counterparts.”