Crane Payment Innovations is bringing to G2E a star-studded cast in MEI, CashCode and Money Controls
Attendees at next month’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas will get their first look at MEI under its new brand, Crane Payment Innovations, which will be showing a portfolio of currency management solutions unequaled in the industry for breadth and diversity.
CPI was founded with the merger last December of MEI and NYSElisted Crane Co., both world leaders in banknote- and coin-handling technologies whose newly combined reach encompasses markets ranging from gaming and retail to financial services, transportation and vending. CPI’s presence stretches across 144 countries serviced by some 2,200 employees, including more than 500 engineers, with manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and the UK and 24 sales offices in North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia.
The casino industry, of course, knows both MEI and Crane well—the former mainly through its renowned Cashflow series of bill acceptors, the latter through Crane Payment Solutions, parent company of CashCode and Money Controls, makers of the CashCode one, SM and Ardac Elite bill validators and a trusted lineup of coin validators, sorters, hoppers and recyclers.
“Now we have the ability to develop new technologies together, whereas perhaps we were previously both developing competing similar technologies,” says Tom Nugent, CPI’s new president of Gaming and Retail. “We’ll also have more capability on the sales side and the tech support side—the way we interface with our customers. We’re just broader and stronger.”
ICE Totally Gaming at the ExCel London in February was a coming out of sorts for Crane Payment Innovations, although separately MEI and CashCode have long enjoyed a sizable presence in Europe and the UK.
The same is true in Asia, but, as Graeme Lewis, MEI’s vice president, Asia Pacific, pointed out at G2E Asia in May, “We now have a much bigger portfolio.”
CPI saw G2E Asia as a prime opportunity for building brand awareness in Macau and across the region and made the most of it with an exhibit designed to highlight the dynamism of each company’s unique contribution to the expanded product line.
“That’s the important thing,” Mr Lewis said, ‘to bring the names of MEI and CashCode together under Crane Payment Innovations.”
Both have distinct followings. “MEI does very well in Macau on the traditional casino side, whereas in Australia, where there’s still a lot of coins usage, you have a lot of Crane influence there,” Mr Nugent explains. “And in the Philippines, Crane has a presence in the bingo markets, while MEI has the casino presence. So we’re able now to service customers however they grow.”
Not surprisingly, MEI’s flagship Cashflow SC headlined the exhibit. An Inside Asian Gaming “Supplier Awards 2014” winner, the SC is unsurpassed among bill acceptors for security, speed and efficiency. Compact, easy to install and maintain, it combines RFID-enabled data-gathering with the transmission capabilities of MEI’s Easitrax Soft Count in a platform that is also backwardscompatible with the enhancements incorporated in the newer SC Advance. What this means is operators never have to wonder whether they’re getting the state of the art in first-time acceptance rates for valid street-grade banknotes. They’ve come to prize the SC’s faster bill-to-bill speed, comprehensive bar-code recognition, and the expanded memory, which allows for recognition of more currencies and denominations, and with SC Advance they also get the benefit of USB 2.0 upgrade capability for speeding up communications with the host machine and providing support for the addition of even more functionalities.
The industry will begin to see CPI’s full impact as more corporate and customer-facing functions are consolidated. It’s a work in progress, as Mr Nugent readily acknowledges; so heading into G2E he says it will be “business as usual” for the separate companies as they continue to focus on ensuring that the service and value chains they’ve built in their respective markets remain strong.
MEI, in particular, has been growing share in several key Asian jurisdictions, notably in Macau.
“Asia remains a very important market for us,” says Mr Nugent. “We have local teams in each of the countries. We know that Asian gaming continues to grow. We will continue to put additional resources there and look forward to all the new exciting developments.”