Focus on IGT: Taking a leadership role in FinTech

November 18, 2022 8:00 AM

Focus on IGT: Taking a leadership role in FinTech

  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
November 18, 2022 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States
  • Focus on Partners

G2E was buzzing with FinTech discussions, announcements and predictions – and IGT played a leadership role.

Although many gaming suppliers aspire to lead in the casino FinTech space, the frontrunners are clearly breaking free from the pack. IGT said it’s one of those leaders with its Resort Wallet and IGTPay solutions.

IGT has more than 30 clients globally using its payments products and services across lottery, gaming and digital. In the U.S., IGT has processed more than $2 billion in payments on behalf of its clients since 2018.

The multi-national supplier recently announced cashless deployments with Station Casinos and Indigo Sky Casino, as well as an agreement with the Oregon State Lottery. It has had a proven cashless deployment in Sweden for several years.

Jacob Lanning, IGT’s senior director of business development and payments, spoke to CDC Gaming Reports, outlining their solutions’ unique features, explaining how IGT can service such a wide range of operators, and sharing lessons learned from successful IGT cashless deployments worldwide.

“Cashless is the hot topic in the gaming industry today, and if you look broadly at how people transact in their everyday lives, you are seeing these big shifts towards a variety of cashless technologies,” Lanning said. “Whether it’s paying for their coffee or groceries or going to get a haircut, it’s more likely than not you’re using some form of cashless. It just makes sense that players would have an expectation about having the convenience of not having to carry around cash when it comes to the entertainment they enjoy at casinos.”

IGT had some precursor cashless products for several years in various markets. It supported wagering accounts through IGT’s technologies as well as a focus on non-gaming areas, Lanning noted.

“We have had a focus on a player-centric set of products that ultimately will help improve the overall player experience on the casino floor,” he said.

At Station Casinos in Las Vegas, the STN Cash app gives players a quick, convenient and secure method for funding slot play from mobile phones. IGT’s Resort Wallet technology enables the creation of a PIN-protected cashless wagering account, while IGTPay is the payment gateway that allows Station Casinos’ Boarding Pass members to transfer funds from debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts and e-wallets.

Resort Wallet is what players use to do transactions with points of sale throughout the casino from slot machines, table games, igaming and sports betting to restaurants and retail outlets.

“Resort Wallet has the capability to integrate with all of those different touchpoints to give the player one unified digital wallet for their on-casino experience,” Lanning said. “What makes our solution unique in the gaming industry is that IGT supplies what’s called an external funding gateway, which gives players direct access to the banking networks directly through the IGT solution, as opposed to having to partner with an e-wallet provider. Casinos that run our casino management system, IGT Advantage, have the ability to add on the IGTPay component with Resort Wallet and directly fund those accounts using all the traditional methods you would expect in an e-commerce experience or e-wallet experience.”

They can use debit and credit cards, ACH payments moving funds through bank accounts, and IGT integrates with a number of e-wallet providers such as Sightline and PayPal.

“If an operator has a preference because their players have a preference for a certain e-wallet solution, we have the ability to bring that and ultimately give the player the most choices relative to how they fund their wallet and how they access their money,” Lanning explained.

The IGTPay side of the technology was first deployed in 2012 in international markets with non-land-based casino uses, and in the U.S. it has been deployed since 2018 with ilottery, igaming and sports betting.

“It’s a robust technology that has supported legalized gaming in many jurisdictions globally for quite some time,” said Lanning.

With its technology, IGT is focused on three areas. The first is how to make it easier for the player to onboard into the ecosystem. The biggest struggle any new technology has is player adoption.

“They don’t understand the value of the technology until they try it, and if it’s too hard to try, there’s a lot of people who won’t,” Lanning said. “We’ve been focused on adding a lot of features to the ecosystem to make it easier to onboard those players. One of the big things we showed at G2E was our integration with automated Know Your Customer platforms. Many of those processes today are manual and require staff intervention and ultimately can take additional time. We have been focusing on delivering a solution that automates that process using similar technology in igaming and sports betting that withstands regulatory scrutiny and provides a great player experience. We’re bringing that to land-based gaming as well.”

The second area of focus is to create an easier player experience in adding new payment methods. IGT works with many processing partners, including Global Payments, which has ACH transactions. Many players don’t memorize their routing number and bank account numbers, and IGT allows players to use their online banking credentials to go into the bank and link the bank account they want instead.

“The easier it is for them to move money, the more likely they are going to utilize the platform,” Lanning said.

The last area IGT focused on was bringing a solution that’s ubiquitous to the casino experience.

“For the first time at G2E, we showed our integration at point-of-sale,” he said. “That allows players to spend their money wherever they want in a casino environment. If you can only spend it on certain parts of your experience at a casino, ultimately it doesn’t drive the holistic value for that player. It’s a lot harder for them to retain that solution because it’s a lot easier to pull out a credit card or e-wallet they may have, like Apple Wallet or Google Pay.”

“There was a lot of interest at G2e from operators across the country and there’s a lot of excitement for expansion in 2023,” Lanning reported.

“It seems to be top priority for a number of operators,” he said. “This solution has gone through its early adopter phase, and we’re starting to leap that chasm of new technology where people are waiting to see how the first people like it before they are willing to adopt or not. I feel like we’re over that hurdle, and in terms of operator adoption, you’ll see a number of additional announcements in the coming months.”