Scientific Games and IGT Combine Cashless Technology Through Cross-Licensing Deal

  • The new deal allows the suppliers to sell the same cashless gaming products in the US
  • IGT’s CEO described the joint offering as the industry’s “most compelling” cashless portfolio
  • The pandemic has prompted a surge in cashless gaming, receiving NGCB approval in 2020
  • As a result of pandemic restrictions, Scientific Games’ 2020 revenue fell 21% from 2019 to $2.7bn
A woman using her phone for a contactless payment
IGT and Scientific Games have signed a new agreement which allows them to share their portfolios of cashless gaming products in the US market. [Image:]

A product-sharing agreement

Gaming suppliers Scientific Games and IGT have signed a cross-licensing agreement to combine their portfolios of cashless gaming technologies.

Scientific Games confirmed the agreement in a statement on Monday. Through the deal, IGT and Scientific Games can now sell the same patented cashless casino management systems to operators across the US. The companies combined their cashless portfolios with immediate effect. The two parties have not yet disclosed any financial terms.

Cashless gaming is here to stay.”

Renato Ascoli, chief executive of global gaming for IGT, described the combined offering as the industry’s “most compelling portfolio” of cashless products. “Cashless gaming is here to stay,” Ascoli commented. “This strong portfolio of cashless IP can help casino operators ensure the safety of players.”

Meanwhile, Matt Wilson, CEO of the gaming business unit of Scientific Games, expressed excitement over the agreement. He said the cross-licensing would ultimately benefit customers and the industry as a whole.

The surge in cashless gaming

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated adaptation from traditional land-based casino operators aiming to ensure customer safety. This has prompted a rise in cashless casino gambling, with operators hoping to minimize any risk of infection between customers and staff.

54% of casino visitors preferred a cashless payment option for casino gambling

As a result of the increased health and safety risk, the American Gaming Association (AGA) urged US gambling regulators to introduce the necessary framework for cashless gaming last year. According to a 12-month survey conducted by the industry body before June 2020, 54% of casino visitors preferred a cashless payment option for casino gambling.

In June, the Nevada Gaming Commission Board (NGCB) took the AGA’s advice. The state gambling regulator approved eight changes to cashless gaming system regulations. With immediate effect, the amendments permitted slot and table game payment through smartphones or tablets. The changes paved the way for gaming suppliers to provide Vegas’ casinos with the means to introduce cashless gaming.

IGT has already capitalized on this green light for Nevada cashless gaming. The supplier received NGCB approval for use of its cashless wallets for slot machines in January this year. The wallets allow players to deposit funds into slot machines digitally. It is the first product of its kind in Nevada, and IGT executive Ryan Reddy described it as a “momentous debut” in the Silver State.

Scientific Games eyes new revenue streams

Scientific Games experienced a difficult year in 2020. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on casino operations resulted in year-on-year revenue decline. Growth in the company’s SciPlay, lottery, and digital segments was unable to offset gaming losses.

For the final quarter of 2021, the supplier saw revenue drop 12% from 2019 levels to a total of $762m. The company posted a 36% decline in gaming revenue to $286m. As a result, net loss increased to a total of $84m, up 127%. For the entire year, Scientific Games’ revenue totaled $2.7bn, a drop of 21% from 2019’s total of $3.4bn.

Scientific Games’ 2020 losses came despite the company signing multiple new deals across the US. Most notably, the supplier sealed multi-year agreements with Betsson Group to power its US sports trading platforms and Hard Rock International for iGaming and sports betting solutions. Scientific Games also expanded its existing partnerships with Flutter Entertainment and Wynn Resorts.

Commenting on his company’s full-year results, Barry Cottle, CEO and president of Scientific Games, praised the work of his team in navigating the challenging year. He also outlined a basic strategy for future growth, which revolved around working to “capitalize on the evolving industry trends” in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

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