Hypercom Corp. has won an exclusive contract to supply point of sale terminals for a major payments network serving gambling casinos.
Global Cash Access-which provides credit and debit card processing, automated teller machines, check cashing, and wire transfer services to casinos-has bought Hypercom terminals for use in more than 1,000 gaming establishments.
Previously, Global Cash had relied on terminals from Verifone Inc., the Hewlett-Packard Co. subsidiary that is Hypercom's chief rival.
Hypercom will supply ICE (Interactive Consumer Environment) 5000 terminals, which are to be fully deployed by mid-February. Some have already made their debut in Atlantic City at the Claridge Hotel and at Hilton Corp.'s Bally's Park Place and Grand casinos.
Global Cash was formed last July when BA Merchant Services Inc., USA Processing, and First Data Corp. combined their gaming divisions. First Data controls 58% of the venture, and the BankAmerica unit and USA Processing each own 21%.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Global Cash serves other big-name clients, including Mirage Resorts Inc. and Circus Circus Enterprises Inc.
Global Cash executives said the ICE terminal's interactive touch screen, smart card capability, and fast connection speed made it an attractive choice.
The device has "a simple user interface that makes it more convenient for customers to access cash," said Kirk Sanford, executive vice president of Global Cash.
Casinos, interested in maximizing the time gamblers spend on the floor, want to make cash access as easy as a roll of the dice.
"Customer service is very important in the gaming industry," Mr. Sanford said. Clients consider it important to put "easy-to-use devices out on the floor."
Gamblers can get cash in casinos several ways, including automated teller machine withdrawals, cash-back with debit cards at points of sale, and credit card cash advances.
An ICE terminal can handle all three types of transactions.
Mr. Sanford said the Hypercom terminal will make it easier for gamblers to work around ATMs' daily withdrawal limits, which are usually about $300. Instead of seeking out another type of machine, customers at the ICE terminal can withdraw money from a different account or use a different card.
"We are able to put more dollars out on the casino floor," Mr. Sanford said. "Most of our competitors do not offer a comparable POS debit system."
Cardholders pay about $3 to $3.50 for debit card withdrawals at casinos. A unit at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hilton-soon to be upgraded to Hypercom's ICE-surcharges $7.99 for a credit card cash advance up to $50. Transactions bigger than $5,000 lock in at 2.32% of the amount.
The often princely surcharges are generally dictated by the site owner, Mr. Sanford said.
To use the Hypercom terminal, gamblers follow commands on the screen and swipe their debit or credit card. The user then walks to a cashier cage on the floor, by which time authorization and a receipt will have been printed, said George Devitt, vice president of marketing at Hypercom.
At the modem speed of 9600 baud, authorizations take less than five seconds, Mr. Devitt said.
The ICE terminals are ready for smart cards, which casinos are interested in using for loyalty programs.
The Hypercom ICE series has won high marks in other retail settings for integrating the various components of touch screen, signature capture, and a keypad for entering personal identification numbers.
"It basically modularizes all the features merchants have been asking for," said Paul Martaus, president of Martaus & Associates of Clearwater, Fla. "It's a state-of-the-art device."
Global Cash Access said it is working with casinos and Gamblers Anonymous to develop a program for the terminal to display a toll-free telephone number for people who might have a gambling problem, Mr. Sanford said.