Focus on Koin: With its dream team in place, Koin is ready to innovate

December 15, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports
December 15, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports

Professional sports franchises serious about winning championships typically recruit the top-tier, most talented individuals available in order to compete at the highest level. Koin Payments, an industry leader in digital solutions, is applying a similar strategy with impactful results to strengthen its position in the gaming and hospitality sectors during a transformative period within retail gaming.

A stellar selection of high-profile executive hires possessing proven expertise and vast experience with synergistic open and closed network payment and data solutions have come on board in recent months, prepared to lead the industry to new heights of product development and innovation.

“I call it my Dream team,” said Koin Payments president Gary Larkin. “It is a team we worked very hard for well over a year to bring together. We wanted people who would not only hit the ground running with skills and expertise to lead the company in the right direction, but also work well together in forging a collaborative leadership.”

Bob Woodbury, Koin’s new chief operating officer, is a leader of great competence, according to Larkin, adding “he has the kind of background and experience for the journey Koin is embarking upon. We are delighted to have Bob with us”.

Woodbury most recently led FIS Global’s network and security division. He also served as general manager for NYCE Payments Network.

Additionally, he helped deliver the first mobile transactions in an American debit network in 2009, partnered with e-retail companies to help facilitate domestic networks’ first ecommerce transactions, and managed deployment of the largest real-time loyalty-redemption network in the country.

Scott Carcillo joins Koin in the capacity of chief commercial officer, a position for which Larkin deems him ideally suited with a background deep in commercial banking.

“Scott is a strategic thinker, without question” Larkin said. “He has an impressive blend of covering payments at both the issuing and acquiring levels, including his most recent past experience as Chief Payments Officer for Shift 4.”

The all-star lineup at Koin also brings in Mark Hemmnerle as Chief Legal Officer and Tracey Eginton as executive vice-president of compliance.

“Mark’s experience spanning WorldPay and Shift 4, where he lead legal and compliance, is augmented by a successful history in Casino general management, presenting a unique blend of  skills covering legal, compliance and practical gaming operations. Tracey comes to us with over two decades of experience in the compliance realm for gaming, most recently with the soon-to-open Fontainebleau in Las Vegas,” Larkin said. “Her expertise is a perfect fit for the journey we are on.”

Koin is an organization on a mission to bring what Larkin recognizes as what is most needed within the gaming and hospitality sectors as it relates to the introduction of digital payments.

“We have assembled a team which not only has some idea about doing what they think they might like to do, but have done it over and over again in geographies far and wide. They have succeeded in bringing up payment solutions in emerging jurisdictions and delivering next generation digital technologies that coexist with legacy underlying platforms.

“These are things that are very important to us, and concepts I believe may be unique to the gaming industry.”

Larkin expressed the importance of understanding exactly what the market is seeking rather than overwhelming the customer. He believes in introducing new ways to operate what he describes as closed network transactions to save operators money, improve the player experience, and to accomplish all of this in a smarter way with less friction than has ever been the case within the gaming industry.

“We like to think, and we certainly hear, that our wallet outperforms any other wallet in the gaming space today,” he continued. “We constantly work hard, not just to be where we are today, but constantly iterate to make it a better experience. It is all about the player.”

Larkin firmly believes that the additional features Koin Payments bring to the table come not only from company leadership but also investment partnerships, most recently with Euronet.

“Euronet is one of the world’s leaders in innovative payment solutions,” Larkin observed. “It recently completed a second-round investment in Koin in its belief that we offer opportunity for expansion into the gaming and hospitality worlds but as importantly have capabilities to support many of the advanced payment solutions they have brought to market with over 1.9 billion mobile wallets worldwide and connecting 4.2 billion personal bank accounts.”

Understanding such strength from that level of enterprise class payment provider requires marketing strategy with the right kind of integrated leadership. Larkin believes his team is equipped to understand and work collaboratively with Euronet to ensure the very best of their solutions finds the right home within the opportunities Koin can open within the gaming and hospitality spaces.

Working within the constraints of the current gaming industry, Larkin noted, has in many ways allowed the U.S. to fall behind some advanced payment solutions found in other parts of the world.

“Payment solutions have found their way into the U.S., but on a very thoughtful basis of taking the very best of what has proven to be a safe, sound, and reliable player experience and place it together with the existing underlying infrastructure,” he said.

“It’s going to be around a long, long time. Gaming is not going to reinvent itself on the gaming floor at the underlying CMS level, so you have to know how to work with it to get the very best out of the system.

“We think this is a long journey, not for the faint of heart and people who are looking for an immediate return. Growing a new market opportunity, changing consumer behavior and payment functionalities takes time.”

Larkin believes Koin Payments is well prepared with the capital investments and global resources of Euronet to lead the way.

“The team that we have put together for a journey, that we believe will take many years, is poised to become the leader in the industry,” Larkin concluded. “The total transformation of gaming will take many years, but we are excited to be at the beginning of it.”

John G. Brokopp is a veteran of 50 years of professional journalist experience in the horse racing and gaming industries