Reaching historic milestones is not unfamiliar territory for Gaming Laboratories International (GLI). For more than 20 years, GLI has been inspecting, testing and certifying gaming industry products around the world. Now, they have released the world’s first global interactive gaming standard—GLI-19.
GLI and TST, a GLI company, can now assist new and emerging markets in developing the proper technical controls and regulation to facilitate the markets, according to Salim Adatia, CEO of TST. “Regulators who are contemplating i-gaming regulation will be better able to institute these technical regulations in their new markets, as they are already accepted by the industry,” he said.
GLI-19 encompasses the best practices in regulated jurisdictions from Europe and Canada, where the majority of i-gaming currently occurs. Through a year’s worth of work and assistance from seasoned regulators, suppliers and operators around the world, GLI and TST have developed the first set of common standards for technical regulation of i-gaming markets.
“GLI-19 was based on an extensive review of several key interactive gaming jurisdictions that have experienced great success in regulating the inherently complex systems associated with i-gaming,” Adatia said. “Significant time and effort on both organizations’ part was spent working closely with regulators in existing jurisdictions to understand the unique aspects of i-gaming technical regulation.”
Adatia added that without the help of others in the industry, the standard might not have been as well-rounded and informative as it is. “It is only through these special relationships that we were able to determine best practices and provide a common standard for new jurisdictions,” he said.
GLI-19 is the latest in GLI’s Standard Series, a series that is a culmination of industry best-practices that is continually updated.
In addition to assisting regulators, the standards are valuable to suppliers who use the standards as a guide in their R&D process, saving time and expense. GLI-19 is of tremendous help to operators and software developers in both the terrestrial (traditional land-based) and i-gaming environments.
GLI-19 is also beneficial to regulators who might be contemplating i-gaming regulation. It will give them confidence that guidance on regulation, player protection and industry best-practices is available in a solution that will benefit all industry participants.
For the first time, a GLI standard is being separated into two distinct areas: supplier requirements and operator requirements. The separation will help to streamline the industry, and was suggested by the expert team of regulators, suppliers and operators who were consulted with on the project. The initial draft started as one standard, but was changed due to a number of reasons, according to Adatia: “In some cases, we faced challenges when software developers requested approvals in their own rite, despite not yet having entered into concrete contractual arrangements with an operator. They wanted to either ensure their product met the highest level of integrity, or alternatively sought to market the certification when attempting to sell or license their software to operators.”
He also added that separating the standard assists the testing laboratory in avoiding disputes over ownership of the approval, especially when suppliers would approach them to transfer their previous product testing to an operator, despite previous testing being conducted by and paid for by a different operator. “In such cases, the supplier found themselves frustrated, and it put the lab (attempting to remain independent) in a precarious position,” he said. “Despite wanting to best serve all parties, we found transfer of approval requests difficult to facilitate given our responsibility to maintain confidentiality of test results with the original contractual party.”
Although the current separation of the standard seems promising, TST noted that they have not ruled out future versions of GLI-19 being amalgamated into a single document.
When considering the future of i-gaming, Adatia offered this simple phrase: “Convergence, convergence, convergence.” He said that it may be software developers who have traditionally provided their wares to the land-based market now offering product to the i-gaming market or vice versa. “It may be software developers deciding to expand services to become operators as well. It may be Internet gaming providers porting over their product to mobile or i-TV platforms.”
He added that they notice new or redeveloping i-gaming jurisdictions emerging with well-established and preplanned technical standards. This helps GLI and TST since they heavily rely upon rigorous technical standards to carry out unbiased assessments. “There is definitely a trend toward more regulation rather than less, which ensures gaming operates in a manner that is fair, secure and auditable.”
As with anything technology related, GLI-19 will require updates and changes as time goes on. It is important to the companies that the standards are consistent with best practices and changing laws regardless of whether they cover land-based gaming or i-gaming. “It’s common knowledge that technology evolves at a rapid pace, and it’s incumbent upon GLI and TST to evolve with it,” Adatia said. “Regardless of whether it is in response to technological change, industry demand or changing market forces, we’ll ensure GLI-19 meets the unique needs of all affected parties.”