As more and more retail operations increasingly implement cashless systems ahead of reopening to the public, OKTO’s Director of Gaming Simon Dorsen spoke to Coinslot about how the fintech firm’s digital payment solution, OKTO.WALLET has been specifically designed with the leisure and hospitality industry’s main concerns in mind; user friendly, affordability, security and social responsibility as well as the universality that consumers are craving for.
Do you always pay with plastic, or are you more comfortable with cash? Have you ever paid friends by your phone while you’re all out for drinks at the pub? Do you have a lonely banknote sitting in your wallet for almost a year now, to wager while you are enjoying your drink at the pub? These questions, as well as the days of pubs players and visitors with cash-stuffed pockets will not be the norm anymore, as consumer preferences are rapidly changing and the age of mobile payments is taking over the world.
Going cashless is not only the newest tech trend but also a strategic goal, especially when this comes as a complete cashless ecosystem and through an open and interconnected mobile payment app. With the coronavirus, a generation of change has occurred in just a few months. This is forcing all sectors to reconsider their business models, how they interact with their customers and their routes to market.
The number of cashless payments in the UK has been greater than cash and growing in proportion since 2017, and this trend has accelerated now more than ever, as businesses increasingly opt for offering choice and the convenience of paying in a way that suits the consumer. This is already evident in pubs where it has been reported that 30 percent of customers have already used a mobile to pay in a pub and based from my discussions with pub operators between the lockdowns cash accounted for only 20 percent of F&B sales. It is now a natural progression to extend the choice of compliant digital payment to the gaming machine player. This delivers convenience for the player and better operations for the pub.
Retail operations are now competing in an increasingly digital world, where consumers are no longer constrained to traditional payment methods but have access to more choice than ever before. As pubs and other operations reopen, it is paramount for them to have a digital payment strategy that ensures people keep revisiting the venue, improving efficiency and customer experience. For me, this will be enabled with a solution that offers cashless convenience across all touchpoints for the consumer.
The key, however, is to find the cashless system that suits the specific needs of your business, and this is particularly true for more complex retail environments such as pubs, adult gaming centres and casinos. The selection of a reliable, licensed payment partner to help activate this digital payment strategy is critical. Few providers are focusing on the nuanced needs of gaming operators, especially for land-based, while at the same time supports a universal, open-loop, cashless solution that consumers are looking for. Consumers want to simply use, move and collect their money anywhere, not just for gaming and for this to be in a simple, fast and secure way.
At OKTO, our gaming division has built a solution to meet the exact specification of the UK’s pub and leisure industry. Our secure, openloop, cashless end-to-end payment solution delivered through OKTO.WALLET payment app is designed to meet all the niche demands of retail gaming customers, allowing players to move funds instantly across the entire payment ecosystem via the OKTO app; from the gaming machine, ordering app or at the bar/restaurant, even to any retail or online business that accepted debit card through the OKTO Prepaid Mastercard® linked to OKTO app.
We have a 360 approach, which the operators need, to get ahead through field-proven technologies and the extensive know-how of key integrations across all physical touchpoints in and out of the gaming venue as well as a strong understanding and proven ability to integrate the wallet with digital touchpoints.
Working with major gaming and betting operators across Europe and gaining extensive experience and feedback, we are set to provide a tailored solution also for the UK. Having a deep understanding of different markets requirements, we are aligned with the operator’s focus on efficiencies and due to the software nature of our solution, we provide fast deployment that requires no additional investment at the gaming machines. This is especially important after such a long period of disruption, during which retail businesses have been prevented from trading. Understandably, many operators currently can’t or don’t want to bear a big financial hurdle for setting up a cashless payment facility, and with OKTO they don’t have to.
Social responsibility is also a key priority. All the main tools of social responsibility are fully covered through the OKTO app. From a strict age verification process and time-out periods to betting limits, and profit and loss calculator as well as a specific section with national problem gaming helplines are within the app and are all designed to enhance further consumer protection.
The most sophisticated technology often seems the simplest. Our easy-to-use solution allows players to go simply to a gaming machine, press a button to use OKTO, and deposit funds to start playing. And it’s the same in the cashout; they get the winnings back to OKTO wallet in real-time. As we can also onboard pubs as merchants, if OKTO users can spend some money on food and drink in the pub, they simply can; and they can also split the bill with their friends or send and receive money from their friends using the OKTO app.
Retail gaming and betting operators in the UK but also Spain, Romania, Greece and Cyprus are already ready to adopting the OKTO cashless solution. Many pubs and operators are capitalising now, during this time before lockdown ends, to install the OKTO cashless system and progress their business on all fronts. Will you follow suit for your retail gaming business? Will you cash in on the trend for cashless? Open with OKTO!