Focus on Scientific Games: Acquisition of ACS will expand point-of-sale technology on table games

December 10, 2021 1:00 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
December 10, 2021 1:00 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Scientific Games is banking on its acquisition of ACS’ cashless table game solution to dramatically expand the usage of the point-of-sale technology and provide a gateway for players to adopt cashless gaming.

Scientific Games, global gaming industry leader and a developer of table game content, closed last week on its deal that adds ACS’ PlayOn cashless product line that provides players with a seamless debit solution at live table games. It has rebranded the product as AToM –

Access To On Demand Money – in which players swipe their debit card and enter their PIN for a player experience that is friction-free.

“We rebranded it this way for a very specific reason,” said Roger Snow, Scientific Games’ senior vice president of global tables. “The three main letters in that are ATM, and when customers see that, they know they can get access to money.”

Instead of getting cash, however, players get chips for table games.

“What drew us to it is the simplicity,” he explained. “Ninety-five percent of American adults have a debit card, and there’s no learning curve whatsoever for players. We became aware of this in the marketplace at The Strat in Las Vegas 18 months ago. It’s unbelievably simple, intuitive, and a great convenience for players. Why make them get up from the table and go around the casino hunting for an ATM when the ATM is right there in front of them? We know players use it and like it.”

The AToM solution is currently live on 650 table games in California, Nevada and New Mexico at some 25 properties, with the average transaction about $900. Snow noted that there’s a big appetite for the product in the industry and that it had a “great reception” at the Global Gaming Expo in October.

There are about 25,000 table games in North America and opportunity for growth.

Scientific Games has a large international operator that’s excited about adding AToM to its properties, Snow reported. While ACS is a great company, its size kept it from working with large operators because it didn’t have the insurance coverage required in an era of cyberattacks, he said.

“Now that Scientific Games owns it, that opens up the market completely,” said Snow. “There’s no regulated casino in the world that we can’t do business with. Our immediate goal is to hit the streets and get this out there. We expect that to expand dramatically, not only in those areas but other states as well. We are going to expand in California and Nevada and add more in New Mexico. We’re approved in New Jersey, and we have interest there. We also have access to tribal markets. Right now it comes down to regulatory approvals in states.”

AToM augments the company’s existing suite of cashless products, including its Unified Wallet, a solution that lets players digitally access funds to play EGMs and tables through the use of a mobile app.

“We think at Scientific Games that this is a bit of a gateway into cashless and getting players comfortable with it because it’s a process they are used to,” Snow said. “Going forward, as wallets become more prevalent throughout the industry, it will make that second transition that much easier.”

As for AToM, casino operators receive financial data from all gaming transactions made using the solution in real time, from easy-to-implement internal management and accounting systems.

Scientific Games plans to do a marketing campaign to showcase the technology to players, and Snow believes that changing the rebranding to AToM helps do that as well.

ACS’ product was the first in the marketplace and has its advantages with one point-of-sale device per table while others have one device per pit, Snow said.

“That one-to-one device per table is very important,” he added. “It’s so fast and reliable with very few rejected transitions unless you don’t have the requisite amount of money in your account.”

Like any disruptive technology, it takes a while for adoption, he asserted. Eventually, there’s a tipping point where “nobody knew they needed it, everybody now knows they have to have it. We’re getting into that inflection point right now.”

There are plans to add new features to the product in the future.

“This isn’t the end, but the beginning,” said Snow. “AToM will evolve over time like all of our utility products have evolved over time. Our first card shufflers look nothing like our latest and greatest card shufflers. I think this will follow a similar trajectory.”