Scientific Game

Putting Asia to the Test

Gaming Laboratories International continues growing its presence across the region

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 17:44
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Gaming Laboratories international took the occasion of the recent Global Gaming Expo Asia at the Venetian Macao to showcase the new Verify+ by Kobetron™ verification tool to customers in the region.

Verify+ by Kobetron is a handy portable device that replaces GLI Verify, allowing operators to verify the signature of electronic gaming machines on the casino floor. “With Kobetron, operators don’t need to bring a computer or other device to the casino,” explains GLI Australia COO Espee de Robillard. “They simply go to the EGM, open it, take out the CF card, put in the CF card, or put the memory chip SD into the slot in the Kobetron device to verify that the signature and software of that machine is exactly what is on the certified document that was issued originally. If there is any change in signature, that means the machine has been corrupted. The most critical thing in the casino is ensuring the program running in the EGM is the same version, same program that was certified in the lab.”

In addition to Kobetron, GLI has developed a portfolio of exclusive tools that make it a lot easier for gaming suppliers to access international markets.

First there’s the patented GLI Link®, which was created with a keen eye on the Asian marketplace. It allows device testing against systems from any of GLI’s global locations, saving time and money and speeding time to market. Before GLI Link, suppliers had to physically ship devices for testing. Now they simply bring them to their local GLI lab.

Then when testing and certification are complete, suppliers can take advantage of the exclusive Point.Click.Transfer.SM service to move previously certified products into jurisdictions around the world with the click of a mouse.

GLiCloud® is another time-saver that provides a whole new level of access by which regulators can track an entire gaming floor’s software and hardware and the compliance status of all components. It’s cloud-based, as the name says, designed to allow users to tap into GLI’s global database in real time so that their information is always up to date and accurate. It provides oversight and reporting of activities and tasks, and it’s entirely automated to eliminate human error. Significantly, it also links to GLI Mobile, the downloadable app that allows regulators and suppliers alike to access GLI’s database on the go, facilitating 24/7 access to the lab in a secure, passwordprotected environment.

When Gaming Laboratories International was founded in 1989, the testing of gaming equipment primarily revolved around the mechanical reel slot machine.

Today, the task has become exponentially more difficult with the advent of increasingly sophisticated video slots, lottery products, server-based and other technologically-advanced gaming systems, online and mobile game platforms and ancillary gaming products ranging from ticket printers to bill acceptors for a growing number of local, state and federal regulatory authorities.

GLI has proven more than able to meet the industry’s rapidly evolving demands, in the process becoming the world’s leading gaming testing lab and technical consultancy, now serving more than 475 global jurisdictions, more than 130 of which exclusively accept GLI certification letters. It also continues to be a pioneer and innovator in the field. Moving beyond testing and certification, GLI has started to offer what it describes as “a wide range of information security services to gaming and non-gaming companies, from audits and training to the application of new processes and ultimately certifications.”

“We’re expanding in Asia very much,” comments Mr de Robillard. GLI is now the largest service provider of its kind in the region with three labs in Australia and one in Macau with a total complement of 75 staff. Mr de Robilliard adds: “Our multiple locations in the Asia Pacific region give us many advantages over our competitors that enable us to better serve our customers. For example, three Macaubased engineers are relocating to Australia for cross-training and specialized training as we look to expand our reach and further meet customer needs.”

In pursuit of its ceaseless mission to meet evolving customer needs, GLI has been growing its laboratory capacity in the region.

GLI Australia physically expanded one of its Australia locations this year, growing from 1,000 square meters to 1,600 square meters in Adelaide, and plans are in development for growth in the Sydney location. Across the business, GLI Australia has increased staffing levels to accommodate continually increasing demand, adding 21 new staff members so far this year.

“At GLI, we are very customer-focused. One of many things that separates GLI from competitors is we actively listen to customer needs and respond in many creative ways to increase levels of customer service. It’s that very focused team effort, dedication to our clients’ needs and a good deal of hard work that has helped us to become the leading lab in Asia Pacific,” says Mr de Robillard 

Inside Asian Gaming spoke further with Mr de Robilliard during G2E Asia about GLI’s commitment to the region.

IAG: What is your main focus in Asia?

Mr de Robilliard: My focus is to listen to the customer. Currently, there’s a considerable amount of transitioning happening in Asia with regards to regulations and that can create an unsettling situation for regulators, suppliers and operators. We listen to their journey, understand where they’re going, and work with them to streamline their process.

Time is of the essence to all manufacturers. It’s costly if things aren’t turned around quickly enough. Our focus is to make sure we complete our testing thoroughly, accurately and quickly so that our supplier customers can get their products to the market at the right time, and no one loses out.

In Macau especially, it seems regulations are changing constantly. What do you do to try to keep up with that?

For nearly nine years, GLI has had a permanent lab in Macau, staffed primarily with local residents. Our staff frequently visit with the DICJ [Macau’s gaming regulator]. They’re canvassing the operations floors of the casinos. They’re trying to keep abreast of all the changes that are happening.

And each property has its own uniqueness, and it’s to try and interpret that back and talk to the DICJ at the same time. You’ve got to have people on the ground, you’ve got to have local commitment. We are committed to the jurisdictions we deal in, and nine times out of ten we have staff on the ground.

One of the big current issues in Macau is the need to implement video capture on EGMs.

That is another dynamic one has to contend with and we have manufacturers that have already proposed a solution to the video capture and it is a product that is running on certain casino floors already, and I have seen the product and we have other manufacturers who have seen that product. It’s a device that is installed separate to the gaming machine and does not have to be physically put into the game.

What about markets like Cambodia or Vietnam that are perhaps considered fairly lax in terms of regulation?

They have come to understand the benefits that come with proper regulation, and they are seeking to become regulated in some way. Many of these jurisdictions want to tap into the Chinese market, where players may be looking for an alternative to Macau.

Asia is a very varied region in terms of regulation in each jurisdiction. So you just need to keep on top of everything, don’t you?

Well, we do. And we just had another gentlemen join us by the name of Philip Harrison. He’s a senior regulatory QA and compliance manager and his task is to travel Asia extensively and just keep in touch with whatever’s going on. And James Maida, president and CEO of GLI, has given full authority for GLI to spend that money on behalf of the industry. It’s money that we don’t recoup back from anyone. It is an expense, but we have to commit to it. Flying in and out, day in and day out.

Do you also try to advise regulators in some capacity?

While we consult and advise, ultimately we sit totally impartially in the regulation. We have to abide by what the regulators want, and ultimately they are who we represent.

 

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