As our entire world, and the consumer space specifically, marches toward cashless, casino gaming is at a fundamental crossroads. The foundation of the industry’s success, up to this point, has been built on issuing credit lines for the most active and high-income player. Innovative, sector-defining companies like Marker Trax are fortifying this foundation, leading to a more convenient, secure, and responsibly managed environment for everybody.
Traditionally, gaming credit lines have worked roughly like this: Operators court high-income players, who hold rock-solid credit ratings, and offer them the opportunity to apply for a credit line at the resort, to make spending their time—and money—a more convenient process. This allows the operators to generate goodwill and customer loyalty, while limiting the player’s need to leave the property to go to a bank or decide to stop play altogether to avoid high ATM or cash advance fees. It’s been a win-win for both sides over the years; but also, frankly, one that severely limits opportunity on both sides of the equation.
Because here’s what happens: First, the process of offering, and signing up for, a gaming credit line is as complicated and time-consuming as applying for a mortgage loan, involving multiple credit checks and invasive paperwork, followed by a review and approval period that can stretch out over a period of several days, sometimes weeks, before an approval decision is reached. Also, the whole process consumes so many resources on the operator’s part that they typically only offer these lines to the highest-income players who hold nearly flawless credit ratings, while ignoring other players who may be just as able to pay back a line, and just as loyal to the property—and, in some cases undoubtedly, even more so.
I joined the team at Marker Trax last year, to help optimize their underwriting process—a key business element to any successful leader in gaming’s digital age—but before that, I grew my professional roots for almost 10 years in sub-prime, government and traditional mortgage lending. From there, I spent the next decade plus with a company I founded that specialized in issuing and managing micro loans. Our customers weren’t unworthy of traditional loans, or at higher risk of not paying us back, simply by virtue of not having six-figure annual incomes or flawless credit ratings. Rather, they were normal, everyday people who worked hard at their jobs, were responsible with their finances, and had extra money saved and had shown they were responsible borrowers—They were simply overshadowed by higher-income customers.
At my company, we perfected a meticulous process that stressed a high level of customer service and spent the time necessary to find a lending point that worked for these supposed lower-value borrowers, and in so doing, we were able to open the world of home ownership to thousands of responsible borrowers who never would have dreamed of it otherwise. And these same lessons can—and should—transfer over to the world of gaming if we truly want to fully move into the digital and cashless age.