Global Cash Access looking to upgrade casino ATMs

15 July 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Global Cash Access is asking gaming regulators to allow it to upgrade its casino-based ATMs so customers can get cash or ticket in-ticket out vouchers that could be used on slot machines.

Global Cash's ATMs now distribute only cash, and the upgrade will need the approval of gaming authorities.

Global Cash executives on Friday said the technology, called Quikticket, will increase casino safety and security by reducing cash-handling on the casino floor.

Also, the option to receive a voucher instead of cash is not expected to contribute to problem-gaming concerns, the company said.

"We see this as the natural evolution of the technology and what (ticket in-ticket out's) promise was, which is to lower the cost of cash-handling on a casino floor," Global Cash Chief Executive Officer Scott Betts told the state Gaming Control Board.

By increasing the use of vouchers in slot machines, casinos will also lower their costs and increase operating efficiencies.

Betts estimates that Quikticket would cut the average casino's cash needs for slot machines by $60 million, in addition to reducing the casino's cash-handling expenses by at least $1 million per casino, he said.

"As we move toward the cashless gaming process, you will have less people handling cash," Betts explained. "This reduces the opportunity for theft or fraud."

The average slot machine holds 2,000 notes with an average bill being $20, according to an industry executive. Under this scenario, a Strip casino with 1,500 slot machines could have $60 million in cash in the machines. However, the majority of slot machines accept gaming vouchers, so the cash in the machine is already reduced, according to the executive.

Mark Clayton, an attorney and former Gaming Control Board member who represented Global Cash on Friday, said Quikticket doesn't "fundamentally change the choice, decision-making process or availability of cash access" for customers.

Katie Lever, Global Cash's general counsel, said the company found research is inconclusive on if the use of vouchers causes an increase in problem gambling.

"There is no research that affirmatively concludes that when a patron takes cash compared to a ticket on an ATM device that they lose the sense that they are gambling with real money," Lever said.

Global Cash said a report that it commissioned from the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on ticket in-ticket out's impact on problem gaming found that the Quikticket technology was appropriate for Nevada.

The report reviewed existing studies on ticket-in ticket-out's impact since approval.

Global Cash also told regulators that Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said in a letter presented to regulators that his group "doesn't take any position for or against Quikticket."

Whyte said late Friday that the council submitted the letter neither supporting nor opposing Quikticket because "without research, there is not much way to assess potential impacts."

Global Cash declined to give a copy of the report or the letter to the Review-Journal after the hearing.

Global Cash's presentation Friday was informational and did not require a motion for approval from the Gaming Control Board.

Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said Quikticket's implementation is a policy issue to be addressed by the state Gaming Commission.

The company will appear before the commission July 22.

Las Vegas-based Global Cash supplies kiosks to casinos that include ATMs, bill-breaking and ticket redemption services.

Company executives declined to reveal how many kiosks it has in Nevada where Quikticket could be implemented.

Copyright GamingWire. All rights reserved.

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