Lance Arnett presents the Glory prototype sports betting kiosk at the Global Gaming Expo. Photos by Networld Media Group.

Gaming continues to become a popular form of entertainment as more states permit sports betting. And while it's not one of the larger kiosk verticals, gaming continues to grow rapidly and serves as a springboard for self service technology innovation as casinos seek new ways to enhance the guest experience.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, allowing states besides Nevada to permit sports betting. That's been a game changer for sports, for gaming and for the technologies the industry adopts.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman told the expo's sports betting symposium at the Sands Expo Center that he wouldn't be surprised if future NHL broadcasts include sports gambling information.

Bettman, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said the league recognizes sports betting will boost viewership, and that NHL broadcasts could integrate with sports betting.

I pondered the implications of Bettman's comments on sports betting and professional sports business as I headed to the expo exhibit floor. Bettman connected the dots between the deregulation of sports betting and professional sports, recognizing the opportunity to engage with fans through sports betting.

Earlier this month, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Washington Mystics, announced a partnership with William Hill US, the U.S. leading sports book operator, to introduce the first sportsbook at a U.S. professional sports venue, the William Hill Sports Book at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The operator will also become the exclusive sports betting partner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Sportsbook kiosks were abundant throughout the show floor. The multinational International Game Technology PLC, for example, presented its PlaySports Bank and PlaySports Pod, featuring three self-service betting kiosks topped with multi-media displays that showcase a range of content including live sporting events, betting odds, lines, game day feeds and more. 

I also noticed a slew of redemption kiosks and bill breakers that are not just for casinos, but for sports betting venues as well. Equipment manufacturers are recognizing the online sports betting business is expanding rapidly and redemption and change-making kiosks are in big demand. They also recognize that cash payment continues to be a factor in the sports betting market, and they aren't betting (no pun intended) that this is going to change any time soon.

The growth of online gaming is also forcing casinos to become omnichannel marketers, which has significant implications for kiosks. Kiosks, after all, serve as critical touchpoints to bridge the online with the brick-and-mortar.

Then there's the sister sports betting industry, esports — a form of entertainment in which people bet on the outcome of video games — which continues to blossom.

Global esports revenue hit $1.1 billion this year, marking a 26.7% one-year gain, according to Newzoo. Look for this meteoric growth to continue. The National Association of Collegiate Esports formed in 2016 with seven colleges that offered varsity esport programming and now has more than 170 member schools and over 5,000 student athletes. Member schools compete in a variety of game titles. 

The gaming sector pioneers much of the technology that will have application in non-gaming kiosk verticals. For example, casinos are at the forefront of adopting facial recognition as a way to identify their guests faster, as noted during one expo session. The show floor also showcased curved touchscreens, loyalty solutions, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. 

As commercial gaming becomes more pervasive (want to wager on this?) — both online and brick-and-mortar — gaming-related kiosks will play a bigger role in consumers' lives.

Gaming revenue for the U.S. casino industry reached an all-time high of $75.4 billion last year according to American Gaming Association's annual State of the States report and National Indian Gaming Commission data. This growth is bound to rub off on the kiosk industry.

The Landmark Series from Kiosk Information Systems provides a terminal to accommodate a full range of transactional components for automated sports betting (bill acceptor, printer, card reader, scanner, alarms and more). The zero-bezel user interface is complemented with programmable ambient LED lighting to elevate the platform look and feel. The Landmark Series also automates guest services and is ADA compliant. The 21.5-inch PCAP touchscreens provide a brilliant user interface and on-screen interactions. The overhead display is intended to be utilized for complementary advertising and media, supplementing the primary application interface.

Attendee Michael Ungerer, who writes algorithms for kiosks, explores the Landmark Series at the Kiosk Information Systems exhibit.

NEC Display Solutions presented its facial recognition technology equipped with a camera which can be used by casinos and other applications.

The iSports stand kiosk can be placed near bars, gaming pits, slot machines, casino cages or any high traffic area. ISI Sports selected the GEN5 thermal printer and iVISION bill validator for its sports betting kiosk. The kiosk uses JCM's iVizion BV at the point of redemption which can read 2D barcodes. The Race and Sportsbook kiosk allows players to place a bet and prints a ticket. The kiosk was among several products on display at the JCM Global booth, along with the iVISION bill validation solution, the GEN5 thermal printer, the ICB intelligent cash box, the FUZION real-time peripheral management system and the partnership with eConnect to improve security and audit capabilities.

The NRT Neo cash handling and payment kiosk is a redemption provider, bill breaker and a payment acceptor. The machine uses NFC and RFID readers, mobile wallet and 2D bar scanning for payments. The machine also has a printer and can act as an ATM. Diebold Nixdorf provided the currency dispensers.

The Advantech motherboards, computer-on-module express modules and reduced instruction set computing platforms are designed for applications where the input/output and dedicated gaming features of the DPX range are not required. The COM modules provide flexibility to upgrade CPU power and provide second source solutions for existing projects. The RISC based motherboards, COM modules and boxed systems are designed for applications such as player tracking.

The self-service purchase and payment totem from VNE features a recycler, a coin acceptor, a multi-denominational hopper, a tax printer and a monitor. Security features include a 2.5mm thickness, electronically controlled dual locking system and 10 steel safety fasteners on the main door.

The Meridian Sportsbook combines artificial and human intelligence to provide betting opportunities for 35,000 live matches and 40,000 pre-match events every month. Features include player tracking, cashless betting, in-store deposits for online accounts, intelligent security detection and fraud prevention, a dispatcher and warehouse management system, 20 languages, a live match tracker and an on-screen display system.

Kambi kiosk operators are able to control and customize wagering kiosks with options for brick-and-mortar establishments. The company's bring-your-own device technology allows customers to build their own bet slips for fast placement at the sportsbook. The product includes regulatory compliance services to allow operators to protect their brand. Novomatic manufactures the kiosk's hardware.

Glory presented a prototype sports betting kiosk that includes a cash recycler that allows bets to be placed and rewards collected at the kiosk, eliminating the need for redemption labor. The unit will accept up to 35 notes at one time, but will also accept credit cards. The machine can be placed in sports bars and sports stadiums.

Pyramid Technologies presented a combined credit card/bill acceptor in partnership with Nayax, which manufacturers card payment solutions, and the Pyramid Technologies Apex Fusion bill acceptor. The unit also features a Pyramid Technologies printer.

Topics: Bill Payment Kiosks, Digital Signage, Display Technology, DVD Kiosks, Hardware, Hotels, Interactive / Touchscreen, Manufacturers, Photo Kiosks, Retail, Vending Kiosks

Companies: KIOSK Information Systems, Diebold Nixdorf, NEC Display Solutions, Meridian, Advantech Corp, Glory, JCM Global, Pyramid Technologies Inc.

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