Cashless slots for retail casinos are a hot topic in the industry. More than 26,000 retail casino slot machines can already accept payments directly from mobile devices thanks to its Foundation tech, according to Acres Manufacturing. That tech is in such demand that Acres is considering whether 2023 could be an opportune moment for an initial public offering.
Reporting on that Acres IPO plan, Global Gaming Business News says:
Growth should continue as the immediate addressable market for Foundation is 1.2 million gaming machines in North America, and another 600,000 combined over Asia and Australia, Acres said.
Contrary to its name’s implication, Las Vegas-based Acres Manufacturing doesn’t manufacture the physical devices for retail slots. It creates technology that allows slots to interface with other systems, like casino management systems and loyalty programs.
Foundation, Acres’ flagship tech, “provides casinos [with] real-time player data and an ability to change any slot machine’s credit meter on command. Connect any app. Write any bonus. Interface to any cashless wallet.”
Its newest app, Cashless Casino, makes Foundation work within 100 days on “any slot machine or table game.”
How much the market values Acres Manufacturing is unclear. However, the company site notes that Founder John Acres – “the inventor of casino systems technology” – last sold a business in 2003 for $143 million to International Game Technology (IGT). That was Acres Gaming, which invented how “slot machines awarded instant bonuses based on current or accumulated play.”
His son, Noah Acres, now heads the business. He didn’t immediately respond to Bonus.com‘s request for comment.
Cashless Retail Slots May Scare Online Casino Operators
While Foundation does add cashless retail slots data to loyalty program accounts that players can access online or in land-based facilities, most of its appeal is for retail casino operators.
One of the main advantages online casinos had over retail was their cashless nature. Now, brick-and-mortar casinos can offer the same convenience.
That turns the usual worry from retail casino operators – that online casino legalization may cannibalize their customer base – on its head.
That’s not something Acres is emphasizing.
Instead, in the Cashless Casino product press release, Acres talked about how the app “works on any slot machine or table game, including those connected to casino management systems from Aristocrat, IGT, Konami, and Light & Wonder.”
However, Noah Acres does mention Foundation installation results in players spending 22% more time on gambling devices, which bettors visit 18% more often. GGB News says those installations are in Wyomissing, Pa.-headquartered Penn Entertainment‘s gambling establishments.
Early deployments of Foundation cashless gaming have proven that cashless players increase their play and visitation. As a result, casino operators are increasingly expressing wide-scale interest in deploying cashless gaming technology.
Slots Are a Core Product, Online and Off
Walk into any retail casino and chances are, slot machines will fill row after row of the main gaming floor.
As I put it in the July 9, 2021, article I wrote about Acres Manufacturing for Online Poker Report:
Slot machines are the cotton underwear of the gambling world. They’re not particularly sexy or shrouded in mystique, but they contribute to healthy bottom lines wherever they’re found. To that end, a technology called Foundation is attempting to make those bottom lines even more robust. …
For players who alternate between land-based and online slots, the most important aspect of this technology is that it will help integrate land-based and online loyalty programs.
Indeed, looking at a Pennsylvania online casino that’s one of Penn Entertainment’s brands, Barstool Sportsbook and Casino, slots are well represented in the game offerings. (Barstool is in many more states, but Bonus.com chose to look at one jurisdiction for this example.)
The Keystone State taxes online slots at a far higher rate than it does poker or table games, at 54% vs. 17%. Even so, all-time gross revenue from Pennsylvania online slots is 73% of online casino revenue for the state.
Integrating online and retail casino data understandably appeals to Penn, which has 26 million members of its MyChoice loyalty program.
But even though business may be booming for Acres Manufacturing, the economy isn’t. The gambling industry’s appetite for mergers and acquisitions is fading.
Waiting for next year to try an IPO seems consistent with Acres’ historical prudence, even while it sells cutting-edge tech.