Boardwalk Casino & Island Breeze Casino
Situated on the classic Sea Isle City boardwalk in New Jersey, the Kiska family owns and operates the Island Breeze Casino and Boardwalk Casino arcades. While these arcades have been around for two and four decades respectively, the Kiska’s have only been in ownership of both for a few years now. They’ve used their position of having “fresh-eyes” within the facilities to bring the arcades to a place where traditional, multi-generational visitors and younger generations alike can get the most out of their experience.
Standing out from the typical arcade, the Sea Isle casino arcades boast themselves as having the unique feat of featuring old-school favorites, and the newest releases, all while providing the top-of-the-line prizes guests are excited to bring home.
In the nature of being a boardwalk arcade in Sea Isle, the casino arcades face the challenge of having a relatively short business window compared to other year-round venues. Ryan Kiska, the owner of Boardwalk Casino arcade, shared that 90% of their annual revenue comes from between Memorial Day and Labor Day alone.
On top of staffing, training, and maintenance difficulties, keeping the traditional atmosphere of the Boardwalk arcade was crucial to the family. In fact, prior to talking to colleagues within the arcade and attractions industry, the Kiska’s were very against transitioning away from the token-based revenue system they’ve always utilized in fear that the alternatives wouldn’t be as entertaining.
“We were worried switching to a card-based system would take part of the fun out of the experience for guests. We wanted to stay true to the end goal - providing entertainment - it’s not all about the money for us,” Ryan Kiska stated.
After attending the 2021 IAAPA Expo (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), they realized that not using cards wasn’t really an option. Without implementing newer technology like cashless card readers, not only are the arcades not maximizing their revenue potential, but their competitors were also going to leave them in an unsatisfying position.
The Kiska’s weighed their options after exploring all the choices of companies with their products on display at the IAAPA Expo and eventually whittled it down to a few options. After speaking to other operators coupled with the factors of customizability, unparalleled customer service, and an on-premises server, the family decided to implement Semnox’s Parafait management system.
Ryan noted that “some other systems seem very cut and dry, with limited options.” They also liked the ability to discuss business and options regularly with Bepin Jose, the Semnox Americas President. “He made us very comfortable with the decision and does whatever he can to make our life easier,” Ryan shared of him and his mother’s experience dealing with the Semnox team.
Some of the features of the Parafait system that were implemented include RFID-based debit card systems, the LuminOS reader for “tap-to-play” functionality, POS and Redemption systems, and on-demand roaming between Ryan’s Boardwalk Casino location and his mother Kathy’s Island Breeze Casino location for cross-venue play and upsell options.
“Parafait has brought us into the 21st century,” states Ryan. “We didn’t realize how many sales we were missing because we were a cash-only facility.”
Aside from gross sale increases, he realized how much of a liability being a cash-only business was, where he could never leave the facility as the manager. Now he gets to focus more on the business in lieu of worrying about where the money or prizes are going. The sales-collection kiosk is accurate with what the software says, extra points and discounts are watched more closely, and inventory is now measured, as opposed to being “eyeballed like before.”
With the majority of their 80 indoor arcade games currently on card readers, they’ve seen shifts in consumer behavior. The games left on token-based usage aren’t being utilized as much, and some guests are even inquiring why the remaining outdoor kid rides and cranes aren’t also on card readers. With detailed reports available from Parafait regarding game popularity and sales, Ryan is excited to use this new data to make decisions for future seasons.
Parafait also has the ability to alert staff immediately when a game needs maintenance, as opposed to relying on customers to notify staff in the past. The times of having hours go by without a particular game making any revenue without their knowledge are over, leading to higher efficiency in their operations.
Guests and employees alike have had an overall positive reception of the switch. Employees have enjoyed less training on fixing issues like coin jams and can spend more time interacting and assisting with the guests in other ways. Customers enjoy the cleaner environment of not handling tokens, as well as the quickness of transactions. As anticipated, there were some guests who do miss the nostalgia of collecting tickets from each game. However, the overarching majority have either loved the switch immediately or quickly grew to prefer it after experiencing it for themselves.
Implementing a card system also gives the casino arcades the ability to implement customized loyalty programs which will increase visitation frequency for each guest. Guests can now enjoy the Parafait LuminOS readers’ wider-than-usual touch screens and its multi-gameplay and repeat play functionality without having to tap the card again. Boardwalk and Island Breeze also benefit from LuminOS’s over-the-air firmware updates and the 5 GHz Support and web service-based interaction.
“We have just scratched the surface of possibilities with the LuminOS,” says Kiran Karanki, CEO of Semnox. “Having replicated the functionality of a regular reader on an OS-based reader, we are now discussing ways in which we can go beyond the current functionality with our customers. We believe that LuminOS is the future of RFID readers.”
As a side benefit that was unexpected from the transition to Parafait, Boardwalk Casino and Island Breeze Casino arcades found they had a tremendous improvement environmentally, too. In one season alone, one of their arcade locations would go through virtually five tons of paper tickets each season! This transfer to cards has also allowed daily operations to become easier for Ryan’s mother, who was beginning to struggle with carrying heavy packages of tickets regularly. Additionally, redemption points are now transferable between their two locations since they are only 5-blocks apart as well. Promoting this has increased foot traffic for both locations.
The Kiska’s are very pleased with their transition to Semnox’s Parafait solution thus far, and they continue to nurture their relationship every day. Aside from their increased revenue at both venues, the family-owned business is most happy that they were able to sustain the energy, excitement, and buzz of their boardwalk facilities that they feel sets them apart from other arcades and looks forward to supplying long-lasting memories for generations to come.
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