Imagineering's bet on SATO's Compact Printing Solution Pays Off

End user: Imagineering Systems
System: Ticket Printing
Benefits: Faster customer handling and improved print images pleasing both hosts and players

Imagineering Systems is the world largest computerized keno maker. Keno is a game of luck, played in many casinos, with rules very similar to that of the national lottery. A ticket with a square grid, each square numbered 1 to 80 is printed. Players select up to 10 numbers, trying to predict which numbers the Keno machine will select at random

Issues: Smaller is Better
Imagineering faced several challenges. Firstly their customers expect the ticket to be printed out in record time, so they spend more time playing, instead of queuing. The casino host meanwhile, wants a professional-looking, high print quality ticket with their logo and name, promoting their facility. Thirdly, space is limited. Keno's allotted area in a casino is often less than other games of chance. Therefore, the less space a keno ticket printer takes up, the more room for the actual keno games.

Solution: Compact in size, but big on performance
After trials on eight different printers, SATO's CT4 with integrated cutter beat the odds. Compact in size, but big on performance, Engineering Manager, Herb Stokes, found the printer, with its 80 MHz RISC processor to be the fastest desktop thermal printer on the market.

Imagineering's POS (point-of-sale) terminals do not use DOS or Windows. The CT4’s programming module however, meant it was easy to install the printer to communicate with the terminals. The ability to have both serial and parallel ports was also an added bonus.

The CT 400's 1 MB of memory helped its bid too. Each ticket requires 400 Kb of graphics for logos, etc. These are stored in the CT 400's battery-backed memory, so it can print data without holding up the POS terminal. Once a customer has indicated his keno marks, the POS terminal tells the printer to recall the stored data and adds the new customer selections. It then commands the CT 400 to print, feed and cut the ticket. "Most printers have to spend time formatting graphics into a printer's image buffer. This one formats almost instantaneously," Stokes said.

Quality was also assured. The SATO CT4 prints the 4.25 inch wide tickets with a clear keno grid, crisp logos and quality barcodes in a matter of seconds.

The UPC-A barcodes are then scanned at the POS terminal when the customer claims a win. Scanning verifies the winning ticket with the terminal's records and the system authorises payment.

The CT4 overcame the challenges facing Imagineering. Simple to program, it communicates easily with POS terminals. Compact in size, it fits effortlessly into limited space, leaving more room to play the game. Its crisp print quality produces superior barcodes and logos, increasing scanner read rates and promoting the host's image. Its fast printing speed and reliability allows players to spend more time playing and less time queuing.