Table Trac: The future is cashless and mobile

September 19, 2023

Table Trac Inc. President and Founder Chad Hoehne discusses the future of cashless and mobile gaming, as well as reflecting on the journey to date for Table Trac, and CasinoTrac. In some ways not much has changed; in others, everything has...

Chad Hoehne, President and Founder of Table Trac Inc., has been eying a transition to a cashless, mobile experience on the gaming floor for some time.

Hoehne, who founded his company in 1995 to manage table games, is always ready to pivot. In the early 2000s, as he saw more gaming space being devoted to slot machines, he transitioned what was then known as Table Trac into a “complete back-of-house CMS system” that covered everything from slot machines to revenue audits.

Now he’s looking to take CasinoTrac – and the casino industry as whole – in a more modern direction, with a focus on cashless transactions and player loyalty, and promotional experiences that can be had in the palm of your hand, on your phone, rather than at a gaming floor kiosk. It’s a transition Hoehne and CasinoTrac have been planning for since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

You founded what became CasinoTrac nearly three decades ago. How has your company changed over that time?

We’ve gone through quite a number of changes through the years. We started off in the table games management and table-games player-tracking space in the mid-90s. We were doing player-game tracking systems both on table games and as the player-club host against several casino management systems in the early days of casino management player clubs being hooked on to an SDS. As the years evolved, and with promotional free-play credits coming on the scene, it then became clear the casino players’ club needed to be closely aligned or knitted into the CMS system or the slot system. And so that relationship changed at that point in time.

We realized that the space with the biggest need was really over on the slot floor; we saw a shift in the gaming floor space away from tables and towards the slot side. By 2003, we had our first slot interface board created, programed, up and running and testing. By moving that forward, we went from a table games management, players’ club and promotional system to a complete back-of-the-house CMS system entailing both the slot-floor management, the rev-audit function associated with gaming floor operations – both in tables and slots – the player tracking, the marketing, the promotions administration and management.

In recent years, there is now a bigger call for things that are interactive and entertaining to the actual gaming floor. That entails player club promotional or loyalty kiosks that we’ve been doing since 2007, but those have been evolving over time. And we really made a major push on that within the last couple of years so that, not only do we have a depth of catalog of content for those players’ club loyalty kiosks, but we’re also agnostic as to the backend system that those kiosks operate with.So, we’re expanding our operations to be not just with CasinoTrac’s CMS system clients, but also with clients of other CMSs, as the demand increases.

You touched on this a little bit, but how have you seen the gaming industry during those 30 years change over time?

You know, that has two sides to it. In some ways, it hasn’t changed at all. And my other answer is it’s completely changed. I don’t know where to start. Looking at it from the systems side, systems have always been an integral part of gaming-floor operations since I got involved. In fact, when I founded TableTrac in 1995, it was because I was specifically looking at various systems within the casino environment and I found a gap at the table games back in 1995. That’s the genesis of bringing this company forward.

But over the years, the systems part has supported various advances in player loyalty, player identification, hosting and automation in that area, so that not just a select few clients could receive benefits relative to the casino’s generosity and reinvestment. In earlier times, that was reserved for an exclusive few players, with personal hosts who were keeping score in notebooks. But the systematic approach to player analysis, and then player promotional deployment and creation, is something that has been a big change over the years and continues to get more and more sophisticated.

In our system, we have the module we call “Reflective Rewards,” which is reflective to the customer’s patterns and behaviors. It rewards them based upon specific, identifiable patterns that we feel warrant certain types of rewards.

Where do you see the next frontier for CasinoTrac?

Cashless. Absolutely. The advent of the acceptance of cashless technologies to the gaming floor, funding wallets from external sources and being able to bring that all the way to gaming is something that has been accelerated, I think, due to the Covid scare, but is now becoming mainstream. It’s an area where we were (before Covid) developing a mobile app that brought the functionality of the video screen and the player terminal window out onto people’s phones.

But it became more and more important as we added the financial functionality. So now your phone can not only serve as virtual cards to use around the gaming floor, instead of the physical plastic card; but you can also drawdown funds and pass them on to the game that you’re connected with using the phone as the remote control. That’s a key area of several of our recent patents.

Very interesting. I assume that’s why you believe CasinoTrac will be well positioned to serve your clients going forward: because you’re already looking ahead. Or can you talk about why you’re going to be the company to help move the casino industry into the cashless world?

Well, first of all the architecture in our platform gives us the unique advantage in connecting to external, third-party financial services providers and we remain agnostic relative to those companies in providing access to all comers. We have interfaces with big names that you all know, and we also have interfaces already built with some of the up-and-coming ones you may not have heard of. So, by providing a platform that is flexible and can connect using latest technologies in a secure manner, we have positioned ourselves to accept the decisions of the operator and be able to implement them clearly.

If an operator is invested in one or another of the third-party financial services provider, we’re going to be there as a partner to connect with them and make their product a success; and be able to integrate that into the casino’s branded app for their customers that has the other player loyalty functions already built into it. Player loyalty functions, which heretofore would generally have been seen on the player loyalty kiosk, now move out onto the phone along with the financial services and you’ve got the complete package in the palm of your customer’s hand.

You’ve thought this through.

We’ve been pursuing this from – like I said, before Covid – we had that vision of the players’ club moving out onto the palm of their hands in the personal devices of the clients. It was only enhanced by this rush now with the cashless portion.


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