Prepaid: Big Win for the Gaming Industry – Part 2

David Johnson
Senior Vice President, Emerging Commerce Products
Posted on November 17, 2016

Prepaid: Big Win for the Gaming Industry – Part 2

Instant gratification drives business through loyalty.

Have you considered how prepaid could help your game?

As the global drive toward immediate, real-time payments gathers pace, has the gaming industry been left behind? Given the amount of money exchanging hands in casinos, online gaming sites, mobile gambling and fantasy sports operations, it would seem to be a prime target for instant payment gratification for both customer funding and cashing out winnings.

All too often, however, gaming operations still rely on old school ACH transfers due to the unique challenges they face moving money. That can mean up to a week to reconcile a single transfer. Such delays result in a loss of customer enthusiasm and, consequently, a loss in revenue and fewer repeat customers, as we discussed in Part I of this series.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how prepaid cards can provide a beneficial solution for many use cases across the gaming industry.

Show me the money, now

The problem to be solved is in plain sight. In an industry driven by real-time decision making and instant gratification, expectations are clear: win now, get paid now. Consumers need a path to massively simplify the transaction process so they can enjoy online gaming, casinos and fantasy sports while securely and safely moving their money in real time.

With the introduction of prepaid card reimbursement, gaming operations can instantly load customers’ cards with winnings. For example, if a customer wins $500 gaming online, instead of waiting a week for the ACH transfer to clear, he or she can get an instant prepaid card to gain immediate access to their money. That instant reward is so compelling that many customers are willing to pay a modest fee for faster access.

Coming in from the cold

The prepaid card simplifies payouts to customers, but it doesn’t end there. By expanding the program to include loyalty and rewards, the customer becomes more engaged, will spend more time and money on-site, and is enticed to come back.

In order to maximize the in-house spend of customer winnings, gaming operations need to be able to accept prepaid card payments throughout the casino floor and slot machines, as well as retailers and restaurants on the casino premises. This is a great way to build loyalty, especially with VIPs.  Meanwhile, offers for on-site restaurants and retailers encourage people staying and playing at the casino to further increase their spend.

The prepaid card can double up as the loyalty card that collects points and manages customer preferences, as well. It could be a combined wallet, smoothing all interactions and offering instant recognition and reimbursement without the delays inherent to traditional money transfers.

Meeting needs across the board

Gaming has a broad sector of diverse players and a strong online presence that is often coupled with a chain of physical outlets. In its purest form, gaming encourages customers to spend money in the hope of winning more. The utilization of prepaid cards can be applicable across all players in the gaming market: large and small, online and traditional. But it is the potential of the prepaid card to generate revenue that justifies the additional customer charges to provide service to the customers by operating across all outlets in a way that enhances the user experience.

Online gambling

The growth in online gaming sites is not simply a digital replacement for physical gambling locations. Increasingly, an online presence serves to draw new customers who would otherwise not regularly visit physical gambling establishments; It also acts as an online lure into the more lucrative, classic casino experience. Instant payment of winnings via a prepaid card promotes the positive feelings of winning that entice users to continue playing.

Classic casinos

A prepaid card system simplifies the payout process, especially when the same card can immediately fund further gaming on the casino floor. However, it is the extension to loyalty that transforms a simplified payment mechanism into an incentive that keeps the customers in the casino to play, eat and enjoy all the additional amenities the hotel offers.

Perhaps the greatest potential comes from the ability to seamlessly combine online gaming sites with brick-and-mortar establishments. The same prepaid card operates seamlessly in all locations, virtual or otherwise. That creates the opportunity for online users to be enticed into a trip to the physical casino – a weekend stay, for instance, that helps to form recurring, lucrative relationships. In addition, by adding loyalty programs to the card, smart offers can be sent to online customers inviting them to enjoy cut-price deals at casinos and resorts, where they may further extend their relationship.

Fantasy sports

Another area of interest is the quickly growing world of online fantasy sports. These mass market gaming sites are not currently subject to the same rigorous gaming license process as other more gambling-oriented products. That makes them simpler to setup and operate. Likewise, prepaid card technology makes the funding and payout experience simpler for fantasy sports players.

Prepaid interconnectivity

As casinos migrate from a world of cash, checks and time-consuming money transfers, prepaid card solutions offer improved funding and payout solutions. But it is the inclusion of loyalty capabilities that makes prepaid cards a compelling step forward.

In a domain so driven by money, prepaid is a solution that ties the whole end-to-end business together in a more compelling user experience that can act as a direct incentive to spend more time and money.


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David Johnson
Senior Vice President, Emerging Commerce Products

DJ is the Product Division Lead over Loyalty, Prepaid, EBT – Government and Merchant Products. DJ joined FIS in 2007 and has over 20 years of payment industry experience with roles in product development, strategy, consulting and business development. Before FIS, DJ managed Online Banking and Bill Pay for a Top 15 US bank. DJ earned his MBA from Emory University and a degree in Finance from the University of Florida.