Blog: ‘All in’… ‘Double Down’… ‘Jackpot’…
Why prepaid is a winning play for casinos and their customers
By Alpesh Shah, FIS
If you’re a casino owner or a player at a casino, you might not agree on who should win the big jackpot, but you’ll agree on one thing: the need for an easy, secure and affordable way to get money to and from the casino floor. Gone are the days of quarter slots, placing your bets with crisp bills, going to the casino cage to write a check or withdrawing cash at the ATM. “Cashless” is the new black of casino play.
The benefit to casinos is easy to see. Pushing cashless options reduces the cost of personnel to handle and secure the cash. At the same time, it enables casinos to target a new customer segment to drive additional revenues. The most frequent casino visitors are 21 to 35 years old, according to the 2013 “AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment.” This is the same segment for which traditional banking services no longer suffice. These consumers demand an “I want it now” product experience. Not coincidentally, this population is also the same segment that had higher participation rates in other forms of gambling, such as wagering online. The “I want it now” product experience is driven by technology, whether it’s doing things on the go via a mobile device (like cashing checks) or shopping online. Casinos want to make it just as easy for their customers to get access to their winnings (and, hopefully, spend more money in the casino).
Prepaid cards are an example of a cashless option that has gained popularity in the traditional brick-and-mortar and online casino space. Winnings loaded to prepaid cards can give players flexibility to spend their funds anywhere with greater security than cash. Security, mobility and convenience drive the 21-to-35-year-old market segment, along with an omnichannel experience. Customers want to use these cards in other parts of the casino, including the restaurants, the spa or other recreational activities, and even online.
On average, two-thirds of a casino’s revenue comes from the casino floor. By providing a card that enables players to spend their funds anywhere on the premises and across channels, casinos can build their brands and increase loyalty, while growing additional revenue through other business units.
Prepaid is more than a plastic card; it can expand into the digital space. Imagine winning the jackpot, and the casino adding funds to your casino mobile wallet. Then you can walk over to the restaurant, point the mobile app at the POS and get an additional 15 percent discount for dining at the casino, all while earning valuable loyalty rewards.
I don’t think we’ll ever see agreement on who should win the big jackpot, but I am confident that we’ll continue to see new ways to play, pay and win in the casino industry.
Alpesh Shah is director of strategy for the Prepaid Sunrise division, part of the Commercial & Retail Payments division of Fidelity Information Services (FIS). He is charged with driving technology, marketing and business strategy for prepaid. Shah can be reached at Alpesh.P.Shah@fisglobal.com.
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