When was the last time you fed a coin into a slot machine? Probably not recently – and that’s for a reason.
For many players on today’s modern casino floors, using physical coins to play slots may be an entirely foreign experience. That’s because a significant majority of today’s gaming operators have transitioned away from coin- or token-based play in favor of ticket-in-ticket-out, or TITO, systems.
As a result, the relationship between players and their funds has changed right alongside, with more players than ever before now familiar with the ticketing/cash out system as the law of the land across most casinos today. But for all the benefits that a TITO system can bring for operational efficiency and ease of use, it can also bring new headaches – including new opportunities for theft and fraud.
Fortunately, a new and powerful tool has emerged to help gaming operators combat and prevent TITO scams faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever before: artificial intelligence. We’ve been working closely to integrate AI into TITO-prevention technologies, and the benefits of boosted TITO security are providing real gains for operators across the country and internationally.
What Is TITO?
Simply put, TITO utilizes printed paper tickets to replace physical coins during slot machine or other casino game play.
Rather than carrying a bucket of coins (whether legal tender or casino-issued tokens), players instead utilize a computer-tracked ticket and credit system, whereby a players winnings are printed on a redemption slip at the end of a round of play. Players then approach the cashier kiosk to cash out those printed credits for dollars.
TITO Systems Can Bring Serious Benefits…
Apart from eliminating hefty buckets of coins to free up players as they move about the gaming floor, TITO systems also provide numerous benefits to the operator from an operational standpoint.
By eliminating physical coins from the gaming floor, TITO systems eliminate the need for operators and floor attendants to ensure cashier kiosk hoppers are regularly supplied with coins for cashing out. TITO systems also reduce the burden of counting and verifying large numbers of coins during jackpot events, which can take significant time when cashing out physical coins.
One of the major advantages of going to TITO from coin (especially currency) is that operators no longer have to park large amounts of cash on the gaming floor. A one-thousand slot operation, for example, could easily have $100,000 sitting on the floor, plus at least another $100,000 sitting in the cage and hard count rooms. This money – not banked, and not earning interest – has historically been seen as simply a “cost of business”. TITO systems remove that burden in exchange for a digitally-controlled ticket system.
Because TITO machines rely on digitally-recorded credits rather than hard currency, multi-denominational gaming machines are also possible for casinos with a large variety of nationalities and currencies represented.
And since TITO machines virtually eliminate the burden of physical cash handling, they also allow operators to more efficiently reward high-value players with printed bonuses, coupons, and special drawings, all within one streamlined and recorded digital environment.
…But They Also Bring New Threats Of Fraud
While eliminating physical cash in favor of printed tickets may significantly expedite the cash-out process, heavy reliance on digital systems may still bring new opportunities for fraud and theft on the gaming floor – and without the right preparation, this can do serious damage to a gaming operation’s bottom line.
One of the most common forms of TITO fraud is simple theft itself – when a suspicious player slides onto a machine when another player is not looking, or when they get up from the machine. By simply swiping the printed ticket, this scammer can quickly cash out another player’s winnings before the robbed party is even made aware of the loss.
A significant risk could also come from a gaming operation’s staff members themselves (typically Slot technicians), who may be tempted to use a TITO printer otherwise dedicated to printing TITOs for testing purposes (to ensure newly installed or re-calibrated equipment works for example) to print tickets that they then cash-in for actual currency.
In some instances, staff scammers may also utilize simple photocopies of TITO tickets, passing these copied “tickets” onto the kiosk for cashing out. This scam often relies on poor policies and procedures within the operation itself, whereby some cage cashiers wait until they have a stack of TITO tickets before scanning them in bulk. This leaves the TITO system open to accepting (and paying) multiple copies of the same ticket, overriding the benefits of the unique TITO barcode that would otherwise “kill” and reject all future instances of the same barcode are rejected.
In addition, some scammers also utilize the TITO system to skirt around Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance regulations. To do so, the scammer may cash out a higher-than-compliant number of TITO tickets within a specified timeframe, or exceed the threshold for all TITO values acceptable within a given timeframe. If each transaction is not directly tied to a specific TITO event, it can be difficult for operators to take action to prevent this fraud and remain within AML compliance.
Artificial Intelligence May Be Critical To Preventing TITO Scams
Over the past two decades, TITO systems have become the prevailing standard for gaming operations all across the world – and as this move to ticket-based credit systems has advanced, so too have the steps taken to prevent fraud within this new structure. However, one technology may be making the biggest mark on the fraud-prevention efforts of casino operators working with TITO systems: artificial intelligence.
An advanced AI system, working alongside a casino’s existing video surveillance and analytics systems, can significantly increase the efficiency, efficacy, and speed of response to TITO scams and potential fraud.
Seamlessly Connected To Your Existing Surveillance Infrastructure
One of the major impediments to accurate TITO fraud prevention lies in the sheer ocean of data most gaming operators face on a week-to-week basis. But with the power of Artificial Intelligence working in tandem with advanced surveillance technology, gaming operators can overcome this data overload to efficiently identify the most important and suspicious event patterns.
Our TITO Tracker technology, for example, specifically combines all TITO transaction data with specific slot location, surveillance video of each game instance, and facial recognition technology with advanced artificial intelligence to provide real-time, actionable intelligence to operators directly on the casino floor.
In addition to its ability to instantly match all TITO transactions with recorded video surveillance of the player and the cash-out event, TITO Tracker also alerts gaming operators to suspicious trends and potential instances of non-compliance identified through advanced AI analytical reasoning.
Whenever a player attempts to make a certain amount of TITO transactions within a given timespan – or when TITO transaction values exceed AML compliance guidelines within a specific timeframe – TITO Tracker can match this event to video surveillance and facial recognition data to identify suspicious players and provide their gaming history for the duration of their time on the gaming floor.
Drastically Reducing Investigation Time
Even after a particular instance of TITO fraud is suspected and a suspicious player is apprehended, the investigation process itself can still take hours to fully confirm or deny that player’s guilt. Thanks to artificial intelligence, however, that investigation time has been drastically reduced – turning what would have been hours of manual labor into just a few seconds of intelligent, automated matching.
By instantly providing operators and compliance officers with visual confirmation of suspected scam instances, artificial intelligence makes it significantly easier to stop TITO scams quickly and take direct action against those responsible. Video surveillance footage has long been respected as a reliable proof of theft or fraud, and the combination with intelligent AI makes compiling, comparing, and analyzing this data faster and easier than ever before.
TITO Systems Are The Way Of The Future – And So Is AI
There’s a reason many major casino and gaming operations have made the switch to TITO systems. They are faster, easier, more efficient, and often more reliable – but like any new technology, they also bring their own unique threats. Artificial intelligence is helping close that gap, and to make TITO systems not only more secure, but more profitable.
If you’re interested in implementing advanced AI protection for your TITO system – or if you’re interested in learning more about the power of AI to protect the gaming floor, get in touch with our eConnect team and see just how much our TITO Tracker can do to improve your security, regardless of who may be coming by to play the slots.