Friday, December 11, 2009

Mobile payment lessons to be learned from Casino's

Many of the more innovative mobile payment solutions that have been launched recently have much in common with Casino's. We have seen a plethora of new and exciting mobile payment solutions in South Africa during the past two months. (This does not make South Africa unique as people keep on innovating in this area). Two of the more recent products launched in South Africa are Mowaly (Read here) and Ammomobile (Read here). Both of these (as is the case with many similar solutions) acquire their own merchants. In other words, you can only pay with Mowaly or Ammo at outlets that have specifically been contracted. This is probably the biggest challenge to profitability of these type of deployments.

The characteristics that I find most interesting is that often these solutions turn into float-solutions. This means that if you have funded your wallet, you cannot cash the money back. You have to spend it (or pass it on to some-one else). Turning value into money have all kinds of ramifications and these solutions often limit the subscriber's ability to get the cash back for what has been deposited. This reminds me of Casino's where the ammunition is not cash, but chips. When entering a Casino, one would deposit cash in exchange for chips. This is very similar to the said mobile payment schemes. Only difference, with Casino's one can cash the chips in for cash.


Hillsidelounge said...

In Las Vegas the Casinos also honor other Casinos chips so that they are effectively currency all over town. You can not only use them to gamble at any casino but then pay for restaurants and bars. Similar to an airport when most places accept multiple currencies but then give change in the local currency.
If these services were interoperable then their "currency" or "chips" would be more useful.

Qwertyman said...

The main issue with mobile casinos is how they are accessed and where, the currency of chips can be used worldwide in some cases where online casinos are concerned just like Hillsidelounge said and they can be converted back into local curerncy, but the whole, play with USD, exchange for GBP will not happen for a while yet.