Kiosks have a variety of functions in many industries and can serve to assist with banking, cash handling, wayfinding, information and more. But the kiosks we’ll talk about today are promotional kiosks. From things like couponing to drawings and more, these machines can have a direct influence on your players and the money they put into your operation. And in a cash-strapped world, not to mention competitive industry, operators are looking for ways to be the most profitable while not sacrificing the guest experience. So you want to be sure you pick the right kiosk for you. The following are three companies that provide promotional kiosks to casinos. All have different features and function, but are great in their own right. So to make an informed decision about your next kiosk purchase, just read on.
Atrient, a company founded by IT industry veterans, takes technology very seriously. Its gaming division offers surveillance and compliance solutions and can even develop custom software, but a core focus is its kiosk and promotions business. PowerKiosk, a flagship product for the company, was integral to a new attendee offering at last year’s NIGA trade show, and it even won a CEM Hospitality Operations Technology (HOT) award.
PowerKiosk has many features and functions. Sam Attisha, managing director, explained some of them to us: “When building promotions, an operator can build on a limitless enrollment and qualification criteria. We are not limited to predetermined fields only available in patron management systems. PowerKiosk can access any database including hotel information systems, point of sale systems or a data warehouse.”
A wayfinding component in PowerKiosk uses a system to find EGMs by denomination or game title. Its automated process does not require the operator to update machine locations frequently, saving them time and effort. PowerKiosk also has a unique social media component that brings Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the gaming floor.
Some of the other features include virtual drawings, comp look-up and self comping, casino maps, hotel or entertainment information and content, idle screen digital content and a full-featured calendar.
Attisha explained that PowerKiosk has more than 10 native core functions, making it a complete solution. And if you employ third party APIs, the application can work with either Android or Apple. “As long as an API exists, we can integrate that function into PowerKiosk,” Attisha says. “Though these functions were not built by Atrient, we can integrate with them, offering a near limitless kiosk application.”
A remote administration feature makes PowerKiosk “smart,” as it automatically downloads promotions, content and upgrades from on-site servers, diminishing the need for operators to update manually. A multi-barrel drawing feature allows operators to run multiple and simultaneous drawings in which players can decide which promotion they want to enter. Drawings can then be delivered and displayed via any digital signage system on the floor.
Having the company background it does is a major benefit to working with Atrient, ensuring that all technology is current and dependable. “In order to ensure a maximum return on your technology investment, we begin each project with a needs assessment strategy meeting so we can together define the requirements and goals for a specific solution,” Attisha explains. “This creates the strong foundation needed to build a robust IT solution for your company.”
Of course, the finished product always suits the casino for which it is built. Never using templates, each kiosk is unique to the operator from both a design and function standpoint. A plus for the budget-conscious customer, you can choose which functions are most necessary to you and upgrade as needed.
Attisha also says that Atrient allows marketing departments to dream. “We work with operators, delivering what they want and how they want to do it—not what we want,” he says. “We give operators a competitive advantage by having the technical resources to quickly create and deploy promotions that are not just recycled promotions built with predefined fields and limitations.”
PowerKiosk is already used throughout the country, from large national operators to Native American operators.
Looking into his crystal ball, Attisha thinks kiosks will become mobile and travel with the patron. He explains that Atrient’s R&D team is currently developing solutions to allow promotions and account functionality to be accessed off the operator’s site.
Attisha encourages operators to remember that a kiosk can be a gateway to other revenue-generating areas of the property and is a solution for the entire operation.
Other advice he has for the modern casino operator looking for a kiosk solution contains four points. One, create an RFP, as a greater product understanding and competitive environment is created for the operator’s advantage. Two, involve other departments and understand their needs as well. Three, don’t let technology limit your promotions. “If you were told in the past that your promotion could not be done, ask again,” he says. “Promotions constantly evolve, and so does technology, so find the partner that can deliver the types of promotions that will give you a competitive advantage.” And four, don’t be afraid to ask a vendor for a performance guarantee. Operators require their staff to deliver a high level of performance, and your vendors should be held at the same level.
Bally Technologies Inc.
Bally Technologies, a tried and true company you likely are already quite familiar with through their slot machines, systems and multiple other solutions, has a kiosk line that any casino would find incredibly useful.
Dubbed the Bally Promotional Kiosk, this fully customizable solution streamlines traffic and offers new and exciting ways to reward your players. The operator can preset a variety of prizes on the kiosk, leading to an engaging application to attract more players to the casino. Bally Promotional Kiosk links into ACSC™ and CMP™ systems and allows players to swipe their player’s club card to pull their information and enter into any sweepstakes.
Mike Trask, corporate communications manager, explains that Bally’s Promotional Kiosk eliminates lines at the player’s club and dramatically enhances customer service. “Roughly 60 percent of all players’ card transactions involve printing a new card or creating a new PIN,” he says. “Both can be done right at the kiosk.”
A couple enjoying the Bally kiosk
A couple enjoying the Bally kiosk
Features of the Bally Promotional Kiosk seem endless. Just some of them include the ability to offer swipe-and-win sweepstakes, reduce long lines at the players club and improve operations, enhance marketing efforts by collecting updated contact information, request comp slips at the kiosk without going to the players club, showcase self-service features so patrons can avoid using the cage and provide play-to-win sweepstakes featuring mystery kiosk functionality. Further, Bally’s software can be used with any third party’s hardware.
Bally’s kiosk provides other exciting opportunities for enhanced customer service, such as an interactive wayfinder with which patrons can search for slot machines by denomination or manufacturer and get help finding the machine. Using this feature, guests can get directions to restaurants, preview menus and even make reservations. It also keeps track of all game moves and constantly refreshes slot floor data in real-time.
With the Bally Promotional Kiosk, guests can also sign up for a patron card, print their card and, as a new member, play promotional games to win prizes instantly. They can also check on promotions they have enrolled in, review their tickets and submit virtual tickets for an electronic quick-draw promotion. The kiosk has synchronized audio and visual effects where, for instance, a virtual drum roll accompanies an animation of the patron’s ticket flying in. The technology also supports special events such as Fantasy Football games, whereby patrons choose teams they think will win and include a predicted point spread. The kiosk will pick a winner each week, with a grand prize winner selected before the Super Bowl.
Trask reminds that with a high number of player’s club transactions involving card replacements, PIN resets or questions about point balances, kiosks can easily automate these tasks. “It’s all about making the player’s club more efficient and part of the experience for players,” he says.
Many casinos worldwide are already using the Bally Promotional Kiosk, including Pechanga Resort & Casino, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, seven Seminole casinos in Florida and more. Offering proof that it works—and works well—a case study of how Seminole Casino Coconut Creek streamlined customer service with this product stated that, “During the grand opening period, the property experienced an astounding increase in new card sign-ups from an average of 70 to 700 per day. Bally Promotional Kiosks assisted in greatly reducing the wait times for new card sign-ups, as well as getting players into action before ever hitting the casino floor with its built-in games and sweepstakes features.”
It’s not surprising such high-quality products continue to come from Bally. The company boasts 10 principles, which are as follows: 1. We are customer-centric. We listen carefully, are responsive and establish a fair partnership with our customers. 2, We are creative and innovative in developing and delivering products and services. 3, We make our commitments carefully and then do what we say we will do. 4, We are clear and direct in our communication—good news should be shared, and bad news does not get better with age. 5, We provide growth opportunities for our people through open communication, relevant training, a challenging workplace, fair compensation and respect for the individual. 6, We increase shareholder value over the long term and will not sacrifice our future for short-term gain. 7, We execute with quality. We don’t do everything, but we do it right. 8, All our actions are based on honesty and integrity. 9, speed is important, life is short. And 10, have fun!
Micro Gaming Technologies Inc. (MGT)
Micro Gaming Technologies Inc. (MGT) was founded by Mark Bryant, current principal and president, in 1997 and incorporated in Nevada in 1999. MGT’s flagship product, the MGT Promotional Intelligence® Suite, or MGT Promo®, is installed in more than 23 states and 56 jurisdictions, and the company has issued hundreds of millions of prizes and rewards to casino players.
MGT Promo is continually enhanced—ever since its first installation in 2001—and is a dynamic and easy-to-use marketing kiosk. MGT Promo empowers the casino marketing department to easily create and set up virtually any type of promotion. The only limitation: imagination! The goal is for the software to be flexible enough for any marketing team to design any promotion they dream of and automate it using the kiosk. “The unique design of our software gives your management team complete control of the marketing reinvestment budget,” Bryant explains.
He informs us that MGT Promo is typically licensed as a perpetual site license, which includes the core functionality. The suite is comprised of four primary components that include MGT Promo (a configuration tool for promotions other than drawings), Kiosk Manager (customer service tool), Offer Kiosk (interactive kiosk application) and the Service Manager (processes scheduled jobs and transactions generated at the kiosks or when running a drawing). In addition, there are optional modules and promotion types available such as EDraw® for electronic drawings and Sports Challenge for promotions based on selection of winners of various events.
The software interfaces with other major suppliers, including Aristocrat, Bally, IGT and Konami, and many other player tracking systems. It operates by interfacing the casino’s player tracking system to the kiosk. When the player swipes their player’s card, MGT Promo evaluates the player and determines the right reward from a predefined prize matrix that the operator can configure. This matrix is customizable and based on the player’s gaming activity. Prizes are instantly credited to the patron’s account and can include free slot play, points, point multipliers, comps, comp multipliers, electronic drawing entries or enrollment in future promotions. A barcoded prize voucher can also be printed for any other type of prize.
Bryant says that what sets MGT apart is that the MGT Promotional Intelligence system was designed for casinos by casinos—not by programmers to sell to casinos. “All of the applications have been developed to increase the efficiency and profitability of casino operations, and are based on years of hands-on experience in the creation and execution of various casino promotions and drawings,” he says.
MGT’s Pirate Kiosk at G2E
MGT’s Pirate Kiosk at G2E
The company itself is doing quite well, with installs at two new casino locations per month on average. But Bryant holds himself and the entire MGT team accountable to themselves and the products they make with high standards to encourage good decisions. They believe this is why they have such positive relations with customers, vendors and associates and follow through on all commitments.
MGT also understands that the most important thing is the success of their customers, the casinos and players. “Our mission at MGT is to help our clients make more money,” Bryant says. “We do this by eliminating lines, increasing play time on device and controlling the player reinvestment rate. We believe that our success will continue as long as we are able to provide products and services that help our casino clients be more profitable. We care about helping our casino customers deliver a superior guest experience.”
As to how they best serve the operator concerned about budget, Bryant says that the MGT real-time player evaluation logic ensures that the right reinvestment rate is applied to each player. “This ensures that marketing dollars are tightly controlled and are appropriately allocated,” he says. “Expenses are further reduced by controlling the labor costs associated with manual promotions while revenues are increased by reducing the amount of time a customer spends in line.”
Looking ahead, “Promotional kiosks are becoming a standard in casinos as a tool to provide marketing departments and loyalty clubs with a tool for improving their productivity and the customer experience,” Bryant comments. “Marketing efforts are steadily moving to further enhance customer convenience in today’s casino environments by extending its reach to mobile, Internet and even the slot floor. MGT has developed solutions for all of these platforms that will be released in 2013.”