MERIDIAN, MS -- Ideal Software Systems is looking to bend the cost curve for arcades and family entertainment centers wanting the benefits of a cashless payment system. The company recently introduced its Cashless Express system for smaller arcades and gamerooms, a streamlined turnkey version of Ideal's popular One Ideal Solution. Cashless Express offers all the reliability and reporting features of the more sophisticated system, without the applications that smaller facilities seldom require, such as point-of-sale, food and beverages and party-planning applications.
Ideal president David Goldman explained that the new system has its roots in the company's classic multifunction debit card solution introduced a decade ago. "It uses the same hardware and technology as our proven system, but we've repackaged it with less overhead and a focus on providing a simple, reliable cashless debit system for facilities with a limited number of games," he reported.
As a result of this advance, small facilities can cost-effectively reap the benefits of a debit card system, once limited to larger FECs and gamerooms, Goldman explained. For smaller-scale arcades or larger anchor locations like bowling alley gamerooms, debit cards are now within reach.
"Some gamerooms might not need the full Ideal POS system with cashless for fewer than 30 or 40 games," Goldman said. "But with Cashless Express, it makes sense for as few as 10 games."
Despite its simplicity, the new system is scalable and retrofittable. Large locations that already employ standalone systems for some functions, such as party planning or food and beverage applications, are good candidates for Cashless Express, the company president noted, while smaller locations can add functions to basic Cashless Express installations as they grow.
DEBIT CARDS FOR ALL
Although a barebones system when compared to the multifunctional One Ideal, Solution, Cashless Express incorporates a full range of desirable features. Players can add value to their debit cards, accumulate points -- or both. The system also can accommodate tickets, as well as ticketless play and timed play for special events.
The hardware offers much of the advanced functionality found in the full Ideal implementation. As with the original system, Cashless Express incorporates Ideal's advanced optical Flash Reader IR, which uses infrared scanning, rather than a magnetic head to read customers' cards. This optical reader is less susceptible to wear and tear than scanners with magnetic heads, Goldman explained; since there is no physical contact between the card and the scanning head, an optical system is less prone to malfunctions. "The beautiful thing about optical is that it doesn't wear out like a magnetic strip," he said. "Reliability is the key word: it always works."
Ideal's reader is designed to accept double-sided media. The card's coding is duplicated at top and bottom, so the reader will find and read the barcode when inserted with any orientation. This is particularly helpful to young players, who also are reassured by a video displayed on the reader's screen that features cartoon characters giving card-swiping instructions. The same screen shows the value left on the card and the number of tickets won in ticketed and ticketless mode.
The reader also can display full-motion video on a 3.2" TFT LCD display, as well as playing sound effects when a customer wins. According to Goldman, this is a particularly important feature in improving the guest experience. He compares the effect to the coin-dropping sound effects that casino slot machines now use, instead of relying on the sound of actual coins being paid out.
Ideal's kiosk can be used in conjunction with Cashless Express. Operators thus can opt for the cash-only station for greatest economy, or for the full cash-and-redemption system.
Goldman contends that Ideal's Cashless Express offers the smallest gamerooms the principal advantages conferred on large facilities by a comprehensive wireless debit card system. "You get better revenue control and better information on how the games are performing, on a 'real time' basis," he said, "and it reduces labor costs for collection and maintenance. Things like token jams are a thing of the past. And you get all of that with lower overhead."
For additional information, contact Ideal Software Systems at (800) 96-IDEAL or visit idealamusementsoftware.com.