More Canadian Casinos Embrace Cashless Gaming Kiosks

For years, casino operators have considered cashless options. As more businesses embrace technology that reduces the need for cash-based transactions, casinos looked at those options, too. However, it wasn’t until the coronavirus pandemic gripped the world that casinos took this technology much more seriously.

Several Canadian casinos recently partnered with Passport Technology to implement cloud-based cash solutions and new kiosks in their establishments. At a time when physical interactions and much-handled cash are discouraged, casinos are willing to do adjust their business models to increase customer safety and bring business back.

Pure Canadian Led the Way

Passport Technology is not new, but the idea of implementing its cash services to make social distancing easier for customers is new.

On June 1 of this year, several months after Canada shut down most of its casinos and other nonessential businesses to stop the spread of Covid-19, Pure Canadian Gaming did something for its shuttered casinos. The company signed a deal with Passport Technology and set up the cash services in its Alberta properties.

One of the installations was the CashValet cash access service. It is a fully-integrated and real-time cashier portal with its own kiosk called the POSpod. The console is designed to quickly locate data and store all transactions, but more importantly, it offers an ID swipe and barcode scanning, both of which cut down on the customer’s need to touch the screen or a keypad.

There are other perks beyond a traditional ATM:

  • Self-exclusion and responsible gambling controls
  • Fraud and money laundering controls
  • Casino controls and access limitations
  • Simplified cashier training
  • Customized discounts and VIP fee waive capabilities
  • Next-day electronic bank settlements
  • Reporting and settlement alerts for customers and casinos
  • Multiple interfaces and access portals
  • Reporting by transaction and patron profiles

As for that interface, Pure Canadian Gaming chose the ACM Owl, which presents a 21” vertical screen. It allows for banking and transaction limits, dynamic rates, real-time reporting, facial recognition, and advertising screens.

The new kiosks will be available at Pure Casino Edmonton, Yellowhead, Calgary, and Lethbridge.

Gateway Added More Locations

In July, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment signed a multi-year exclusive agreement with Passport. Gateway had arranged for kiosks in 12 Ontario properties prior to this deal, but this added 16 properties in British Columbia and Alberta.

The British Columbia casinos, in particular, will offer the aforementioned CashValet service, along with the CashlessValet and ActiveDataRT.

CashlessValet is similar to the CashValet but with the added benefit of using credits instead of cash.

The ActiveData system offers a different set of responsible gambling tools than the ACM Owl with more applications and revenue-focused data. The Passport IQ dashboard give casinos the ability to adjudicate actual or predetermined data points. And for customers, it will allow them to obtain loyalty program information and alerts.

Cash Casinos in Alberta Sign On

Just last week, two more casinos signed a deal to launch ACM Owl solutions with the CashValet system. Cash Casino Calgary and Cash Casino Reed Deer, both in Alberta, wanted the new services for the social distancing opportunities it provides, keeping people at kiosks instead of cashier windows, and the social responsibility features.

This deal put Passport Technology services – both cash-based kiosks and cashless services – in more than 50% of Alberta casinos.

Ever-Increasing Canadian Presence

It was only in March of 2018 that Passport introduced its latest CashValet kiosks and platforms to Canadian casinos. The company’s entry into the Canadian market expanded services from Europe and seemed a natural fit, as many of Passport’s shareholders lived in Western Canada and Ontario.

Passport completed its first installations in Canadian casinos by October 2018. It then expanded to River Cree Resort and Casino in April 2019 and to Century Casinos in 2019, eventually incorporating all of its racetracks and casinos into the new system.

New System Benefits

Casinos see only benefits from the Passport systems. As mentioned, it not only offers a much more streamlined reporting and tracking system, it presents a solution in the time of the coronavirus pandemic to further ensure the safety of casino customers.

Another huge benefit is the social responsibility component. It allows casino operators to offer numerous services to its customers, including the ability for players to put limits on their play and withdrawal amounts. It also provides a way for them to obtain help without having to admit it to a casino representative.

Customer Concerns

The concerns mostly come from players. Gamblers have always been wary that casinos have too much access to their personal information through player reward cards and programs. Using Passport Technology systems, however, takes it to another level.

Customers are concerned about facial recognition technology, especially the ability of the machine to obtain a photo of the customer without that person’s direct knowledge or authorization.

Further, casinos are more easily able to track all of a player’s data, including all bank transactions conducted at Passport kiosks. Customers wonder if the casino may see their bank balances and keep their pin numbers. Further, if the casino system is hacked, how much personal information will be available to those hackers?

Casinos may want to address some of these questions as they implement this new technology and increase their customer tracking capabilities.



Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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