Nevada Regulators Recommend Regulation For Independent Labs
The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Thursday recommended new rules that would permit independent testing laboratories to certify slot machine games, rather than state employees.
Under the proposed changes to Regulation 14, independent labs also may certify systems for interactive gaming, such as Internet poker, mobile gaming, inter- casino linked operations and cashless wagering. Nevada has one of the few governments that relies on state employee- run labs to test casino games. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, however, last year advocated the rule changes as a way to foster innovation in casino games and boost the state’s economy.
At the regulatory meeting Thursday, the board learned that the planned regulatory changes already were leading to job creation.
Testing lab BMM International expects to increase its Las Vegas staff to 100 or 120 from the current 30 workers, in part because of the new rule, Travis Foley, vice president of operations for the Americas, told the board.
The 30- year- old company started in Australia but has moved its headquarters to Las Vegas, Foley said. Foley is former technology chief at the Gaming Control Board.
The board also heard a brief outline of rule changes Thursday before voting 3-0 to recommend them to the Nevada Gaming Commission. The regulatory revisions stem from Assembly Bill 279, which the governor signed into law last June.
In testimony last year before the legislature, Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli explained that an independent lab can easily reduce or increase its staff as the number of new game proposals rises and falls. By comparison, budget decisions made by the legislature every two years restrict staffing flexibility at the board’s Technology Division.
Despite budgetary constraints, Lipparelli said the Gaming Control Board technology staff usually approves new games within 30 days.
Under the new regulatory scheme, casino manufacturers will select and pay an approved independent lab for evaluation of new games. The Technology Division will “watch the watchdog,” with some gaming control employees becoming auditors of testing labs, Lipparelli said.
Lipparelli said the gaming control technology staff is expected to shift from approving games to establishing standards for games and making sure that independent labs maintain those standards.
Cantor Gaming CEO Lee Amaitis told legislators that independent labs could obtain Nevada approval of computer programs and then submit the same programs to multiple jurisdictions which recognize the Nevada “gold standard” for gaming regulatory excellence. Under the new statute and regulation, independent laboratories, such as Gaming Laboratories International and BMM International, are expected to apply for registration with the Gaming Control Board. Managers and owners also would be required to register.
The Gaming Control Board chairman would approve, modify or reject a lab’s registration. Alternatively, the chairman could refer the application to the three- member board. The board then would make a recommendation to the commission.
The chairman would revoke the registration of an independent lab if it fails to continue meeting qualifications.