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NRT Acquires NCC, Leading Provider of Next Generation Credit Marker and AML Information Services to Global Gaming Operators

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NRT Acquires NCC, Leading Provider of Next Generation Credit Marker and AML Information Services to Global Gaming Operators

NCC is a strong addition to the NRT family of businesses, enabling the company to fortify a leading position in casino credit platforms and further enhancing NRT’s value proposition by providing casino operators opportunities to grow revenue, reduce risk, meet compliance regulations, and better serve their VIP guests.

NRT Technology Corp. (“NRT”), a global technology leader of current and next generation payment systems, specialized financial/marketing self-serve kiosks, and digital and mobile experiences, announced that it has acquired the assets of privately held National Cred-A-Chek, Inc. (“NCC”)  the leading provider of information services for underwriting credit markers to more than 300 casino operators around the world. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The NCC acquisition follows closely on the heels of NRT’s recently announced eMarker® acquisition, a solution which uses mobile technology and digital signatures to eliminate the cumbersome process of managing paper-issued casino markers, thereby expediting the marker process for casinos and their patrons.

NCC is a versatile and essential source of data on which casinos rely to make informed decisions regarding the underwriting of credit markers for their guests. By leveraging this powerful FCRA-compliant (Fair Credit Reporting Act) cloud-based platform in conjunction with eMarker®, NRT will become the first and only end-to-end solution for credit application hosting, bank verification data, gaming credit history data, third-party credit bureau data, ID validation, AML compliance, issuance, processing, storage, redemption, and repayment of casino markers.

“NCC is a great company with a long and successful history of using data and technology to deliver unparalleled insight into casino guests and their credit worthiness,” said Christine Landis, President of NCC. “Our service goes back 40 years, and it has been a privilege to carry on Diane Hunt’s legacy. Now is the right time to pass it off to a forward-thinking management team that can leverage our global operating model and technology platform.”

“This acquisition opens an exciting opportunity and is a strong fit for NRT.  It reinforces our strategic focus to be a leading global casino information and data analytics solutions provider,” said John Dominelli, NRT’s Founder and President. “We’re delighted to count on the expertise of NCC’s management and staff, and we welcome them into the NRT family.”

NRT’s recent investment in Gaming Analytics.AI will further set the stage for the next evolution of technology enhancements for the gaming industry, allowing NRT to incorporate AI search-driven analytics with insights and contexts of marker player behavior and preferences.

“NCC and eMarker together create a groundbreaking end-to-end marker underwriting and issuance solution for casinos,” said Kirk Sanford, Sightline Payments Founder and CEO. “Through NCC, we will have a robust platform connected to hundreds of casinos from which to offer advanced data analytics services for underwriting processes and ‘next generation’ risk scoring information.”

Mrs. Landis added, “Our immediate objective is consistency and continuity for our customers and the NCC team members. I will stay on through a transition period to bring all the benefits of the combined companies together as quickly as possible while ensuring that NCC’s solutions remain as nimble and well-organized as ever, and to efficiently incorporate more capabilities to accelerate performance for our valued customers.”

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues – Reuters poll

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues - Reuters poll 1

By Sumita Layek and Bharat Gautam

(Reuters) – Oil prices will stage a steady recovery this year as vaccines reach more people and speed an economic revival, with further impetus coming from stimulus and output discipline by top crude producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The survey of 55 participants forecast Brent crude would average $59.07 per barrel in 2021, up from last month’s $54.47 forecast.

Brent has averaged around $58.80 so far this year.

“Travel and leisure activity look set to catch up to buoyant manufacturing activity due to the mix of stimulus, confidence, vaccines, and more targeted pandemic measures,” said Norbert Ruecker of Julius Baer.

“Against these demand dynamics, the supply side is unlikely to catch up on time, leaving the oil market in tightening mode for months to come.”

Of the 41 respondents who participated in both the February and January polls, 32 raised their forecasts.

Most analysts said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) may ease current output curbs when they meet on March 4, but would still agree to maintain supply discipline.

“With OPEC+ endeavouring to keep global oil production below demand, inventories should continue falling this year and allow prices to rise further,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Oil demand was seen growing by 5-7 million barrels per day in 2021, as per the poll.

However, experts said any deterioration in the COVID-19 situation and the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran could hold back oil’s recovery.

The poll forecast U.S. crude to average $55.93 per barrel in 2021 versus January’s $51.42 consensus.

Analysts expect U.S. production to rise moderately this year, although new measures from U.S. President Joe Biden to tame the oil sector could curb output in the long run.

“A structural shift away from fossil fuels” may prevent oil from returning to the highs of previous decades, said Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Cailin Birch.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese, Noah Browning and Barbara Lewis)

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll

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Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 2

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 3

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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