The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is poised to begin unveiling three categories of regulatory reforms next month to expedite the approval of new gaming products even though the board’s chairman describes one group of reforms as “half-baked.”
The reform categories have their own nicknames: ACES (Approval Categories for Equipment and Systems); Ante-Up; and All In.
Jim Barbee, chief of the NGCB’s technology division, said the goal of ACES is to make Nevada’s regulation of computer software more tolerant of risk.
“We’re hoping that this gives [Nevada gaming licensees] greater flexibility to provide support to your customers for the dynamic needs of the industry and align with your internal software development processes,” Barbee said during an NGCB workshop last week.
“We know that a few of you will be going to software as a service sometime in the future. This approach will allow you to roll those changes out in a more expedited [manner].”
NGCB chairman Kirk Hendrick referred to the second set of reforms as “Ante Up” because licensees would pay for work done by control board personnel to reduce the time required for field trials of gambling products.
The difficulty of finding a suitable location has made several field trials go on for many more months than they should, according to John Lastusky, deputy chief of the NGCB’s technology division.
“So, one thing we were exploring doing is taking that burden off of the trial location,” Lastusky said.
“Rather than having [the licensees’] overworked accounting departments do those trial procedures on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, we’ll do those in-house,” Lastusky said. “We’re masters of the trial procedures because we’re the ones who create them.”
Hendrick said this set of reforms is called Ante Up “because [this] is basically a toll road.”
“You can stay down [on] the normal road or if you need to speed things up and you want to pay for a toll road, we will figure out the cost you would be paying our lab.”
Hendrick described the third reform category — All In — as a “half-baked idea” because he is not certain if it is legal or will be approved by the Nevada attorney general.
Under All In, the control board would allow “test cases” so that new gambling devices and technologies can be deployed in Nevada after they are certified by registered independent testing laboratories and without requiring further approval from the NGCB.
But if there is a violation of Nevada gaming laws during a test case of a certified product, the licensee will still be fined.
Patrick Bland, chief technology officer of Acres Gaming Incorporated, a software development company, told the NGCB that the gaming industry should emulate the financial services industry in being more receptive to risk.
“We’ve got this inherent trust in the financial services industry; the banking industry … and they’re highly regulated,” Bland said. “The interesting thing about that is that none of the regulatory regimes concerning financial services control software.”
Hendrik said the new regulatory reforms are designed to follow the agenda of the man who appointed him in January as the control board chairman — Nevada Republican Governor Joe Lombardo who was elected last November.
“It might be a slow ramp-up, but … we’re trying to streamline things,” Hendrick said.