JCM Global gives an update on its prototype bill validator aiming to revolutionise the speed of table buy-ins for high-volume markets
JCM Global first revealed details of its new high-speed bill validator at G2E Asia in June. At the industry’s sister event—G2E in Las Vegas in October—Kunal Mishra, General Manager of the New Business Development Department, gave Inside Asian Gaming an update on the product.
IAG: What’s been happening with Project 8 since we saw you in June?
Kunal Mishra: As this is a product for the casino table, one of the things we’ve done is to reduce the size of the unit. It’s always our goal to provide the most compact and elegant solution that we can for a product, especially a product that is customer-facing, a product that contributes to the aesthetic of the casino. What we showed in Macau was a prototype of the technology. The technology gained critical acceptance in Macau, and the Gen 2 version was starting to focus more on the look and feel for the end-user.
What will be the dimensions of the new version?
We haven’t finalised those as yet, but we expect it to be under seven inches. Our benchmark for the height of the unit has always been the height of a shuffler, and I want to keep it within that footprint. Obviously we have some physical limitations. A bill is a lot bigger than a playing card. But from the player aesthetic, I want to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger than the biggest products on the floor today.
What’s the time frame for entry to market?
We’re probably going to have it done by the first quarter of next year. That’s when the final hardware will be ready. After that, we’re going to solicit opportunities to get to casino floors with the product.
Can you remind our readers about the value proposition behind the product?
One of the salient features this product does is to speed up the decisions per hour for the casino by increasing the speed of the buy-in process. In markets that tend to have high utilisation of tables, efficiency is key to driving increased profits for a casino. And this product speeds up the manual process of cash counting. We believe it’s going to be a winner in high-utilisation markets.
It seems market conditions may also be moving in your favour. For example, the extension of Macau’s cap on live tables to the year 2020 is likely to increase the pressure to improve table utilisation.
It certainly looks that way. And we certainly think it should be helpful for the product.
Since we exhibited at G2E Asia, we’ve also done a bit of research in Singapore and Malaysia, and one of the things we have found is those markets tend to have high utilisation of tables as well. So, the markets of Southeast Asia are certainly ripe for this product. Here in Las Vegas, North American operators have also expressed interest in the product, particularly for higher-limit tables or tables that have high utilisation.
Can you remind us of the arithmetic in terms of how Project 8 can speed up table play?
Slot machine validators process about one bill for every 2.5 or 3 seconds. The Project 8 prototype does eight bills a second. It’s a generational leap from a single feed validator. The metric behind it really is not for the player who’s transacting a buy-in with the dealer but for the other eight players on say a baccarat table who are not betting at that time. So, from a very theoretical standpoint, if every round of baccarat takes a minute to play and our device saves a minute of buy-in and there are three buy-ins an hour, we are probably going to generate three additional decisions per hour to the casino. And that contributes significantly to increasing the revenue on the floor, but it also gives the player a better experience being that he is playing the game for himself and not waiting for another player to finish their buy-in.
Therefore you can potentially accommodate more people? What I mean is everyone has a lifespan at the table. People get impatient waiting for other players, people decide to cash out at some point, and you need the play to flow as much as possible.
Correct. The way I look at it, ‘X’ amount of dollars walks into the casino every day. Our job is to capture as much as ‘X’ as possible while providing the player with an entertaining gaming experience. Everyone has a finite time before they have to take care of their non-casino activities, and our job is, within that time, to give them the maximum bang for their entertainment buck.