JCM Global has taken its FUZION technology to a Native American casino in Michigan and looks to further expand its national coverage by the end of 2022.
The newest installation is underway at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek and should be completed by the end of May, according to Chris Blevens, product manager for JCM Global.
A patented technology unique to JCM, FUZION is a live monitoring and management system for all of the printers (GEN5) and bill validators (iVIZION) on a casino floor.
Casinos are always focused on how full their cash boxes are at any given moment, and with the FUZION data, they’re able to track that data and send alerts to their teams.
“That means the guest experience on the casino floor will be enhanced,” Blevens said. “They will reduce a lot of those emergency drops where players are inserting cash into bill validators, and they get locked out because the cash box is full and have to wait for someone to come by and pull it. With the FUZION data, we’re constantly monitoring all of those cash boxes and tracking how fast people are inserting cash to send alerts saying it will be full in two hours.”
JCM also manages ticket printers with a live connection to the printer, so when it starts running out of paper, they can send an alert similar to the bill validator.
FUZION also plays an important role in casino security, especially in tracking money laundering, which can leave casinos vulnerable to fines if it goes undetected. The system constantly monitors for suspicious activity on the casino floor across different machines and can even deter it by sending alerts to staff, said Blevens.
“If there’s someone on the casino floor trying to launder money or trying to pass counterfeit bills, we are able to detect that kind of activity,” he explained. “We have a couple of options when we see it. We can send an alert to the surveillance team to check it out. With the FUZION system, we’re taking a picture of the bills as they are going through the iVIZION regardless of whether we’re accepting them and rejecting them, and they can see a high-resolution image of what’s going through there. The security team can see what that player is doing.”
When they see this activity, they can disable the bill validator. Typically, a player is going to be inserting bills to get those counterfeits to work, and no one knows that the person is out on the casino floor, said Blevens.
“We send those alerts, and they know he’s out there,” he said. “Even if we disable the bill validator, the machine is still playable for a valid player to play the machine so we’re not disrupting the business of the casino. We’re just trying to dissuade those suspicious people out there.”
The technology also helps resolve bill disputes. With FUZION, because they’re capturing that image for every transaction, they can bring that up for the customer and show them the history of what they’ve done at this machine.
One of FUZION’s unsung features is its 2D barcode. JCM developed a new specification for barcodes that can be redeemed in slot machines through its iVIZION bill validator.
“The 2D barcode is a feature only the iVIZION is capable of,” Blevens said. “We’re able to completely change the TITO ticket from what you see today. The 2D barcode ticket takes up about 75% less space, and it doesn’t have to be right in the middle of the ticket and frees up space used for any type of promotional or marketing needs. If you want your brand out there, we can start printing that. We can use it to start doing lottery tickets or sports betting tickets. We’ve had a partnership with IGT where their sports betting kiosk is using the functionality of the 2D barcode so they can validate sports tickets.”
Any wallet can use the FUZION system and add that cashless interface to a slot machine. One of the great things about FUZION is it’s an agnostic type of system” because it can take that TITO ticket and virtualize it and send it back to the player’s wallet, said Blevens.
“Our goal is to make sure that the players always have options,” he continued. “If you want to come in and use your phone to pay, that’s great and here’s how you can do that. If you want to come in with your cash, we don’t want to turn that player and their money away.”
JCM Global has three properties that are operating with the FUZION technology, including Resorts World Las Vegas and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento.
“We’ve been making partnerships in the cashless wallet area,” Blevens reported. “A lot of the wallet providers like Everi and Global Payments are looking for ways to integrate their wallets with slot machines. JCM is one option for them, and they are going through our FUZION system to push those funds to slot machines. That is another area of excitement for the casinos. They are looking at not only ways to manage the cash on their floor, but they also want a way to have a future pathway towards cashless. We are already doing well with FUZION, but cashless is starting to drive a lot of interest also. We’re hoping to have cashless up at one property by the end of this year, and we’ll keep on adding FUZION as a standard option for our existing iVIZION and GEN5 customers.”
Customer service is at the center of everything that JCM does and Blevens believes “that separates us from our competitors.” With the system connection to the bill validator and printer, anytime a casino needs to update the firmware in those devices and plug into them one-by-one, that’s a five-minute process per game, he said.
Once they are connected to FUZION, JCM can upload those files to the server and push them down to banks of machines.