Flexia Payments, a specialty Fintech company empowering a unique cashless solution for the gaming industry, enters 2023 with strategic partnerships and close collaborations with the leading casino management system providers – Aristocrat, Axes, CasinoTrac, Konami and Win Systems, as well as a significant additional CMS partnership in the final stage of negotiations.
Flexia’s trademarked Wallet as a Service approach, coupled with the flexibility and technical innovations of the Flexia platform, enables partners to offer their casino customers a fully integrated, CMS-branded cashless solution, powered by Flexia, as a component of their own CMS. “This collaborative effort reduces implementation time and allows partners to fully focus on the casino operator’s needs,” said Flexia CEO Craig Libson.
“Our approach – from a market segment focus and a collaborative approach – is a result of paying close attention to the cashless business as it has morphed over a period of years,” Libson said. “(Flexia President Scott Walker) and I have been in this for seven years in multiple countries, engaging with operators with various casino management systems and watching what products have been brought to market and how and where the points of friction are in the process.”
“We have transitioned from a company that is independently bringing a Flexia cashless solution to the casinos – with what we think the solution should be and with the flexibility to adapt to what the customer needs – to a more collaborative approach to the market,” Libson said. “The CMS providers need something that they can offer as a component of their platforms, and time has proven that cashless requires a different expertise and different platform capabilities.”
One reason this benefits the CMS is that it enables the CMS to control the attributes of the solution, and another is the protection it provides against FinTechs and other companies circumventing the CMS to get to their customers, said Libson. There are cashless gaming providers looking to go directly to casinos with their own mobile app and product which neuters the role of the casino management platform, he added. On top of that, he continued, a collaboration facilitates a better economic model that is both a win-win and more lucrative for all parties.
“What we say is let’s not try to unseat you in your relationship with the casinos,” Libson said. “Let’s try to improve your relationship with the casino. Let’s empower you to provide a cashless solution in a much more streamlined fashion as a component of your CMS.”
“It’s much easier to tailor a solution in coordination with these casino platforms rather than be in competition with them,” Libson said. “That’s something we’ve focused on, and we have signed agreements with most of the casino management platforms. The ones we don’t have agreements with, most of them we’re in advanced conversations with. We’ve found this approach to be very welcomed by them.”
Libson said they’re going into these relationships offering the Flexia solution without requiring these operators to say they want to bet only on this one solution. What they’re seeing with the casino systems is that Flexia can deliver a better product and can enable their casino system to deliver a better product.
“We have no problem doing that,” said Libson. “We think we’re going to come out and be the preferred solution and the better solution. We’re not going to be a mandating solution.”
In going back two years, he said the casino platforms were originally standoffish to Flexia because they thought they could build it themselves. What Flexia is getting now is “open arms, because it’s an expertise they don’t have in the casino system, and they recognize we can do this in a symbiotic relationship,” he added.
Libson pointed out that one of the problems with adopting cashless in the industry is that some of the early implementation was done in casinos that were the least likely to catch on quickly. For example, a tourist or destination casino. But cashless makes the most money and has its greatest utility for casinos with repeat customers – whether it’s a tie-in to the loyalty program, the data that can be gathered, or the efficiency of having the customer hold a cashless gaming card and reuse it over time.
“When we talk to many of the casino systems and casinos, the launches to date are not returning the type of economics that they would have expected because the users in casinos that have been launched to date are largely not the right customer,” Libson said. “What we are doing is looking at that and focusing on the tribal casinos and the local casinos – truly the repeat customer.”
He said they understand repeat customers and their habits, since Flexia’s genesis is in the Mexico market where it’s all local casinos and it’s all cashless. They expect to get significant traction this year, proving the efficiency of the product and the economics as well, he noted.
Providing cashless functionality isn’t as simple as moving money from one account to another, Libson said. There’s a complicated onboarding process from both technology and compliance. There’s the linking of multiple platforms inside a casino, whether it’s a loyalty or casino management or point of sale system inside the property to interact with in order to enable gaming balances to be used to buy drinks at the casino bar, for example.
“There’s the onboarding, compliance, integration, branding and access to data,” he explained. “It’s all part of our Wallet as a Service and as casinos get closer to implementing them, they see that bringing this all together with expertise is a valuable piece.”
Libson said they spent 2022 solidifying their relationships with the casino management platforms and completing the integration of the Flexia platform with their system.
“Now that it’s complete, we’re starting the actual roll out to the casinos and the more coordinated marketing of the solution,” he said. “In some cases, the CMS will do that directly and in some cases we’re doing it in conjunction, and in other cases we’re doing it independently but always in a coordinated fashion. 2023 is going to be the rollout for us.”
Flexia President Scott Walker said 1% of U.S. casinos are cashless, and that they’re at the forefront in an environment that’s poised to have growth.
“There’s a greenfield out there we can harvest, and we expect to gain a lot of traction with multiple casino properties over 2023,” Walker said.