No. of Employees
Company's Core Competence
Game Payment Technology (GPT) provides cashless payment solutions for the amusement industry.
GPT is a joint venture between amusement and gaming machine industry trade association, bacta, and payment industry specialists, Polar Moment. This partnership brings together recognised, respected, trusted experts in the amusement and payment industries to drive the industry forward with payment solutions suited to an increasingly cashless society.
Product /service description
It’s all about fun! The Game Payment eWallet provides cashless app to play amusement, arcade, and fruit machines, ranging from beautiful vintage machines from yesteryear to the state-of-the-art video games.
For fruit machines, it has been designed to deliver a significantly safer gambling experience compared with cash, by implementing intervention features in response to the latest psychology research, alongside traditional limits and user controls to ensure play does remains fun. Industry-leading age verification is deployed, using an instantaneous machine intelligence analysis of the player’s face, ensuring only players aged 18 or over can gamble.
“We are delighted to have the ability to provide cashless payments on our gaming machines. We’re also very excited about the age verification and social responsibility capabilities that Game Payment offers. The accuracy of this technology is far higher than any human can achieve. Providing greater safety and security to our end users is of paramount importance to us.”
Quentin Stott, CEO of Reflex Gaming.
Players download the app, register, complete age verification and lodge their card. In venues, players connect to machines, which appear in order of proximity, with the app. They load funds into the machine, play in the usual way and, if lucky, collect winnings. Engineers have a separate app to manage machine configuration.
Strong anti-money laundering controls are in place. Winnings can only be returned to the eWallet and are never paid out by the machine as cash. Players can only add or withdraw funds from their eWallet onto a single debit card. Transactions are monitored for potential fraud and money laundering using a flexible rule set, based on a meticulously managed risk assessment, supported by automatic analysis of transactions patterns, built in consultation with AWS.
Our customers range from multi-national organisations with 10s of 1,000s of machines to local operators with fewer than 100. These operate with different levels of technical sophistication. Some analyse their machine play in real-time by accessing their data using our APIs. Others log onto our portal to receive hourly updates. A few prefer a weekly CSV report.
“We’re trialling some machines with Mitchells and Butlers, feedback so far is that they were surprised how easy the solution was to use, and therefore the player understood it, and the transactions were seamless.”
Chris Haley, managing director at Dransfields.
How is the solution unique, innovative or game changing?
The amusement industry demanded a comprehensive cashless solution, where the player could use the same funds in a single eWallet to play virtually any machine in the UK, without adaption, irrespective of its age or its underlying technology, including machines that are not connected to the internet.
For fruit machines, they demanded a solution that would be safer than playing with cash, that exceeds UK regulations and meets the Gambling Commission’s requirements. Age Verification had to be more accurate than a check from a staff member and complete within a few seconds.
Uniquely, GPT have developed a hardware unit, known as a secure Linux unit. An SLU is installed into a machine and emulates a coin mechanism or note hopper and can be retrospectively fitted to virtually all types of amusement machines. Installation takes less than 5 minutes. The SLU supports a range of connections including CCTalk, the standard used for notes and coins in the amusement POS sector, and pulse, which is used in many arcade machines. The hardware approach mean we have the only solution in the market that can support all machine types and vintages. We used breadboards and soldering irons to produce some of our early prototypes.
“After being requested by bacta to assist Game Payment Technology on a technical front, with the integration of their system and amusement games, we were only too happy to help. To be a part of such an important step for the whole industry is an honour. Once live in the marketplace, I am sure this will be a massive benefit to all concerned. Seeing the app in action brought it home just how convenient it is for the player and equally how easy it is for any operator to use. Going forward, I can quite easily see Sega, and other manufacturers, installing the hardware at production stage to support this technology.” Justin Burke, general manager at Sega.
The player’s device connects to the SLU via Bluetooth. Machines do not need an internet connection as we use the player’s device to connect the SLU with our services in the cloud.
Security is essential. The principle of point-to-point encryption used in card payments is replicated between a secure element in our SLUs and the HSM in our cloud servers. Each SLU has its own unique key injected in our KIF. Inventory management is automated as we pair machines to SLUs using an engineer’s app.
A software version of the SLU is also available for digital machines, reducing costs.
It is simple and frictionless to connect to a machine. We trialed and rejected approaches using QR codes and tapping NFC tags before settling on our optimal approach. We show the player a picture of each machine near them in order of proximity and they just press to connect to the machine that they want to play. We have proven this approach in many pubs but also at the ICE show at London Excel, where the solution worked successfully in an environment with 1000s of machines in close proximity.
Artificial intelligence is used for age verification. A player takes a selfie upon registration, which is processed in real time. 99.5% of players are validated as being over 18. A passport or driving licence scan is needed for the few we cannot validate in this way. This process only takes a few minutes. We also use machine intelligence to enhance our fraud and AML monitoring and to identify patterns of dangerous play. AWS are helping us further develop these capabilities.
What is value proposition?
The death of cash drove the amusement industry to demand a cashless solution. Pubs are typically seeing 60% to 80% of sales via card. Covid has put further downward pressure on cash usage. This has driven a significant decline in play as people simply are not carrying cash. Seaside piers report that most families enter their arcades with less than £20 in cash to play. They have to provide cash machines and contactless cash dispensers to supply coins. These are very expensive options. Small pubs and seaside arcades, in particular, have been badly affected as the revenue from machines is vital to sustain them as going concerns. Bacta’s vision is to create a cashless payment system to arrest the decline in these revenues. “Some venues were starting to lose their casual players or even some core players because they just weren’t carrying cash in their pockets. The Game Payment app allows these players to continue to use gaming machines, whilst being very simple and user friendly.” Chris Haley, managing director at Dransfields. GPT launched the solution in 2020. As the solution was built by the industry for the industry, all of the top 6 independent machine operators, and several local operators became early adopters of the solution. They installed the GPT technology into 80 existing fruit machines before pubs were forced to close again. ROI is calculated by comparing the levels of total and cashless play against the cost of using the solution. During this relatively short time, the level of cashless play needed to provide the ROI, set by the bacta members, was exceeded by 400%. In a few weeks, we had achieved what we had been targeted by the industry to achieve within six months. GPT also eliminates the costs of cash handling. Less money is needed to fund floats in machines, there is less effort needed to collect, count and centrally reconcile cash. There is no need for onsite cash machines. Many venues todayno longer have cash machines as they are often no longer economically viable. Each operator knows exactly how much money flows through each machine, and it is they who are reporting the successes. They are pushing us forward and releasing further investment via bacta to carry out further development. “GPT was set up by bacta to develop a cashless payment app as a simple cost-effective solution for the whole amusement machine industry. Now, with the technical support from Sega, we are able to provide just that: a simple-to-fit, secure, low-cost, cashless payment option for all kinds of amusement equipment including videos, redemption, pinball etc. This will be a massive benefit for all operators.” James Miller, bacta president. The value of our unique safer gaming approaches is immeasurable. Problem gambling is a serious issue that impacts individuals and whole families.
What is the vision for the product / service?
GPT’s initial aim is to provide a comprehensive solution for all types of amusement machines and operators in the UK. We are already live in several major pub chains and local independent pubs. Our units are installed, ready for live operation in major seaside piers and arcades awaiting the easing of lockdown. From here we will move to bowling alleys, holiday parks, shopping centre arcades, bingo halls, betting shops and high street adult gaming centres. We are exploring on-course betting options with one of the UK’s most famous racecourses and have even had discussions with a leading supermarket on how the technology could be used in their stores in the future.
Outside of the UK, we have identified partners or have been approached by potential partners to bring the solution to their local markets. The aim is to deliver globally. The solution is not limited to the amusement industry. The innovation is relevant in numerous scenarios from car washes to launderettes to vending machines.
Why should the company be chosen to speak at MPE?
The solution is fun, innovative, and a real game changer for arcades and pubs. We can deliver an exciting demonstrate of the solution using real machines.
It is rare for a whole industry to approach the payments sector for a solution to meet its specific needs. The industry presented an array of challenges given the age and variety of machines and venues. All of these have been addressed. Players can now use cashless to play on machines and more than 300 did so, before the latest lockdown.
The hospitality industry was already struggling from the effects of lower amounts of physical cash circulating even before the pandemic. Revenue from amusement machines is vital for many small pubs and arcades. The GPT solution provides a comprehensive, cost-effective, safe, secure and socially responsible solution to this problem.
Despite the relatively short period between successive lockdowns, Game Payment has proved itself both technically and commercially.
“… It’s innovative, slick, so simple to connect to a machine, add your money and play. It’s easy to use, easy to understand and it’s gone out there and it’s been used – that’s the proof of the pudding”.
Jason Jarrett, managing director at Automatic Machine Services.