Philippines slot machine suppliers will no longer be able to submit non-compliant games to PAGCOR for approval after 31 December 2023 and will not be permitted to sell them at all after 30 June 2024, the gaming regulator revealed this week.
However, non-compliant machines that are already on the country’s gaming floors by mid-next year will not have to be removed or updated to comply with PAGCOR’s new Technical Standards for EGMs Version 1.1.
Details of the Technical Standards and their implications were discussed publicly for the first time during this week’s IAG Academy Summit in Manila, including the precise timeline for implementation and what is expected of suppliers during that time.
This included clarification that approval applications for non-compliant machines will no longer be accepted after 30 December, although those machines can still be sold for the first six months of 2024. From 1 July 2024, only 1.1 compliant machines can be sold in the Philippines.
Despite the tight timeline, suppliers broadly suggested the requirements would be reasonably simple to implement.
“They are fairly straight forward in terms of what we’re seeing now in markets around the world,” explained Ken Jolly, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia for Light & Wonder. “2.0 [in Macau] was a bit of shift with changes to the clocks on the screen and making those clocks flash – that was a challenge – but the Philippine standards are fairly similar to that, minus the clock.”
IGT Sales Director, Asia, Michael Cheers, added, “From the suppliers’ perspective we see that we’ve got to go and regress our tests and rewrite some of the software for our popular games. If I want to ship more of that game it’s going to have to be 1.1, or 2.0 in Macau or whatever, so we whinge about that,” he said. “But the reality is that regulators making these changes does drive redundancy. There is forced redundancy in the market, so we get the benefit of some replacement and additional units or some upgrade charges.
“I think it is just a fact of life for a slots supplier and as long as they don’t take the fun out of the games and the objective of the changes is to meet broader social requirements such as player fairness or messaging, then I think it’s just the way we roll and we have to deal with it.”
According to information provided by PAGCOR, key updates incorporated into its Technical Standards for EGMs 1.1 include a requirement that any win awarded in any individual game element or sequence of game elements must not be truncated; a requirement for a slot in the program or logic area door for the plastic security seal, which is required to be installed before EGMs are put into operation; and a requirement that all EGMs are made spill resistant so that liquid spills applied to the outside of an EGM don’t affect the normal operation of the EGM or affect the integrity of the material or information stored inside the cabinet.
Raymond Luna, Senior Manager of the Slot Machine Department at PAGCOR, said the development of new standards was the result of technological advances which “demand revised technical standards to ensure that EGMs remain fair, secure and technologically compliant.
“PAGCOR is committed to aligning its regulations with global best practices … and seeks to remain competitive in the gaming business by updating technical standards in line with global industry trends, which aims to attracts worldwide investment and promotes innovation,” he said.