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Issue Date: Vol. 48, No. 10, October 2008, Posted On: 9/25/2008


Global Coin-Op Develops Cashless Solution For Quick-Coin Games; ‘Universal Hopper Kit’ Is An Industry First, Provides Seamless Integration


Nick Montano
Nick@vendingtimes.net

KINGSTON, MA — New from Global Coin-Op Equipment is an upgrade that enhances the functionality of quick-coin devices operating in gamerooms using cashless payment systems. Called the “GCE Universal Hopper Kit,” the new option allows cards and other stored-value media to be swiped at the machine, which then dispenses coins or tokens used for play.

 

Because quick-coin games like Bay Tek’s Smokin’ Token and some of their coin-pusher relatives are played with the actual payment piece – a coin or token – they were previously impossible to integrate completely into a cashless environment. A bill changer dispensing coins or tokens is normally placed next to these games for the patron’s convenience. And the games dispense tickets to the player at the end of the session.

 

According to Global Coin-Op’s Steve McCaul, the Universal Hopper Kit is a seamless solution for any gameroom location offering games played with tokens. “Players simply swipe their cards, collect the tokens dispensed by the machine itself, play the game and collect their tickets. Even better, the hopper kit allows quick-coin games to work in ticketless settings where redemption credits are automatically added to a cardholder’s account.”

 

In ticketless environments, McCaul explained, quick-coin games frequently create confusion among patrons because the game itself does not require a card swipe for activation. “They are designed to be played after inserting the coin or token,” he noted. But a cashless, ticketless game often involves two swipes: one at the change machine where tokens are obtained, and another at the end of the session to identify the player to the central computer and record the point total. “Customers often forget to swipe after playing and lose their redemption points,” he observed.

 

But this will not be the case with Global Coin-Op’s hopper solution, which requires the patron to swipe only once.

 

The number of tokens dispensed is programmable, and a service lamp lights up when the hopper is empty or out of order; the location just needs to keep the hopper loaded by emptying a game’s cashbox content into it. And because the kit works like a money-changing machine, it allows operators for the first time to install bill validators on their quick-coin games.

 

The GCE Universal Hopper Kit includes the hopper, control board, coin cup and bezel, wiring harness, switches and service lamp, along with cutout templates, mounting hardware, manuals and a game instruction graphic. McCaul said the kit can be installed in any game, as long as there’s enough space inside to accommodate the hopper assembly. It sells for $499. Contributing to its engineering design was John Bateman, a product development expert in the coin-op industry.

 

Global Coin-Op, an equipment distributor and leading redemption consultancy, has installed the kit on games in almost a dozen locations. According to McCaul, most redemption machines experience a 20% to 30% lift in sales in ticketless operation, with the exception of quick-coin games, which suffered losses due to confusing end-to-end transaction process. The single-swipe hopper solution has reversed that trend, he reported, “and quick-coin games can enjoy the same increases as their redemption counterparts.”

 

In recent years, the company has assisted hundreds of locations in setting up and improving their redemption and cashless operations. McCaul is now taking cashless technology to the next level by helping redemption operators change over to ticketless machines. According to the industry expert, ticketless operations eliminate labor, material and service costs. Most importantly, ticketless redemption is a “green” alternative that does away with single-use paper tickets.

 

“Busy redemption operations need to refill tickets on some machines as many as three times a day,” McCaul explained. “And their dispensers sometimes jam. These locations require techs on the floor to keep the equipment running. Additionally, customers at high-volume redemption spots frequently need to wait to redeem their tickets – at the prize counters or in front of ‘ticket eater’ machines. Ticketless functionality can reduce the operator’s overhead and improve customer service.

 

“Additionally, a ticketless operation speaks to today’s environmentally aware consumers,” he continued. “Family entertainment centers are central destinations in many communities, so it’s important that they demonstrate what many consumers regard as responsible business practices.”

 

Global Coin-Op Equipment is based at 164-I Summer St., Ste. 160, Kingston, MA 02364; tel. (888) 513-8172; globalcoinop.com. McCaul can be emailed at steve@globalcoinop.com.


Topic: Music and Games Features

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