When the team at Nisqually Red Wind Casino first heard about TransAct Technologies’ new Epicentral® Print System, they were instantly intrigued. The system, which includes several impressive features, was installed in early February on each of the Olympia, Wash., property’s 975 slot machines, and was the first property to launch the system for TransAct. Epicentral was an immediate success, and continues to impress both patrons and employees at Red Wind.
The team at Red Wind was first introduced to the Epicentral product at G2E 2010, and realized the potential that the product held for their casino as a marketing tool. Having a number of TransAct printers already in place, Red Wind Director of Marketing Dan White said it was a natural fit.
“We saw a great opportunity with the company and the product, and decided to move forward with it,” White said. “We consider ourselves to be in a competitive market, and we felt like the Epicentral gave us a competitive edge in the marketplace.”
Features of Epicentral
Epicentral, according to Bart Shuldman, chairman and chief executive officer of TransAct Technologies, is truly a very integrated, sophisticated, but easy-to-use system. It allows casinos to enhance their connection with patrons by delivering targeted, real-time, printed promotional coupons and other messages to slot machine patrons while playing. This is done through a combination of features—the Epicentral Coupon Layout Generator, the Epicentral Campaign Center™, Epicentral Mobile Host™, Epicentral Server Manager, and TransAct ServerPort™.
The Epicentral Coupon Layout Generator is where the process begins. “When you first think about a coupon, casinos get their slot machines with printers already programmed to print the ticket or receipt,” Shuldman said. “They’ve never been asked to lay out a coupon or design something. “Now, within 10 minutes, the casino’s marketing team can create coupons or promotions to be used on the slot floor. Graphics, fonts and other aspects of the coupons can be customized. The system also enables users to create and embed common barcode types, allowing casinos to track who is using their coupons and the effectiveness of each marketing plan. “Casinos can promote a band that’s in town, give away free buffets and more,” Shuldman added.
The Epicentral Campaign Center is a way to easily manage the timing of the Epicentral system. Casino operators will now be able to create specific rules utilizing their gaming, retail and hotel data, as well as real-time casino play to determine when to print a particular coupon, all scheduled in a user-friendly application. “The casino can make a decision on what kind of triggering points or triggering mechanisms they want to use,” Shuldman explained. “It could be a different rewards program for their platinum players, their gold players or their bronze players. It could be a reward for new players, or a newly carded member.” The Campaign Center can be used to schedule different promotions for different times in the day—giving away free buffets in the morning or free drinks in the afternoon.
The Epicentral Mobile Host is a feature that combines coupon printing and interaction with players. It allows casino hosts to walk through the casino with an iPad or smartphone and give coupons directly to players on the casino floor.
“Let’s say that I, Bart Shuldman am a high-network player, I’m a whale, and I show up and the casino wants a host to come over and say hello,” Shuldman explained. “As soon as I put my card in, our software system will, if they set that trigger point at these level players and above, send a host to the machine to say hello.” The Mobile Host feature also allows the casino host to enroll a player in an upcoming slot tournament, offer an uncarded player an incentive to sign up for a player card, or devise an abundant number of ways in order to promote to the player.
The Epicentral Server Manager is the device or software that sends out the coupon, once the message is sent to the printer. The Server Manager will be loaded with the location or IP address of every slot machine on the casino floor, allowing the ability of targeted or blanket messages to occur.
The TransAct ServerPort is a device that holds the IP address and is mounted inside the slot machine. Coupons are sent to individual or multiple slot machines using TCP/IP technology. The fact that the IP address is tied to the ServerPort and not the printer makes it easier to manage the floor, according to Shuldman. “The reason we did a separate server port instead of putting the Ethernet connection inside the printer is in case something does go wrong with the printer, the server port, or they want to move a machine or change something, the server port stays with the machine, not the printer.”
Epicentral, while completely independent of the gaming device, is compatible with all existing slot machines and games regardless of the manufacturer, ultimately increasing revenue and enhancing customer experience, something that attracted White and the Red Wind team. “Guests can put their card in for the first time and have a chance to get a reward immediately, and that creates a lot of excitement on the floor,” White said. “Overall, it is a strong marketing tool that allows us to reward our guests in new ways.”
With the wide variety of features available with the Epicentral system, Red Wind decided to take full advantage. Their new promotion, Windfall, is a way to reward card-holding players by randomly printing coupons for prizes at the slot machines. They’ve given it the phrase, “Random Acts of Luck,” and the Red Wind website states that more than 5,000 prizes will be given away each month.
Success in the Numbers
Since Epicentral’s launch at Red Wind Feb. 3, the numbers are in and only reinforce the success of the product. Red Wind has seen a roughly 30 percent increase in new player enrollment in their player loyalty club, as well as an increase in number of visits per player, top-tier player visits in particular increasing by more than 10 percent.
“We are extremely pleased at the impact Epicentral and our Windfall campaign have had on our results,” said Quinton Boshoff, general manager of Nisqually Red Wind Casino. “TransAct’s team has worked well with our staff to ensure that we were able to achieve these results and we look forward to continued success with the new promotions we have planned. We believe we have only scratched the surface of what can be done with this system.”
Shuldman agreed, stating: “We are very happy to see our partners at Nisqually Red Wind achieving these types of results with our new Epicentral Print System. We look forward to working with other casinos in the coming months to accomplish similar results for their properties.”
For Shuldman, success with the new Epicentral system is key for both TransAct and for Red Wind. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for TransAct to grow our revenues and our profits and grow our business, but just as important, we are helping casinos grow their and we are just thrilled to be a part of it.”
Both TransAct and Red Wind agree: The new Epicentral print system is not just a couponing system; it’s a player motivation system.