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Nevada Takes 'Big Step' Toward Private Testing of Gaming Devices, Regulator Says

State Holds Workshop to Publicly Vet the Regulation

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Grant Sawyer BuildingThe Nevada Gaming Control Board held a public workshop on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas to discuss rules to oversee the private testing of gaming technology — including future online poker sites.

The hearing room at the Grant Sawyer Building was crowded, but the meeting lasted less than an hour. Only one public question was asked, and it was from Bally Technologies, which has applied to be a manufacturer and service provider of online poker in the Silver State.

The language that the company wants clarified involves establishing the independence of the testing lab from the manufacturer. Regulators will try to add clarity to the word “consulting,” in order to allow the business relationship to function but also to prevent what Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli called a “breakdown of who is designing the product.”

Independent testing labs will be in charge of inspection and certification.

However, Technology Division Lab Manager Jim Barbee said that the Board will remain the “approval authority” in the state. Allowing private companies to test games doesn’t mean regulators will stop conducting field trials.

Barbee said that the first independent testing lab will be registered around June. In July, some companies could be utilizing the third-party labs for their gaming products.

Mark LipparelliThe next step is to send the regulatory changes to the Gaming Commission for adoption, which could happen in March, according to Lipparelli. He said that Wednesday’s workshop is the “first big step we are talking toward this process.”

Card Player obtained information that two companies have already applied to be licensed as private testing labs. Gaming Laboratories International and BMM Compliance, which both offer their services globally, have submitted paperwork.

While a timeline has been put forth for testing labs, regulators have been quiet on when the first online poker sites could be operational in the Silver State. The rules for an intrastate web poker industry are already in place, and it’s just a matter of Nevada licensing companies to offer games.

So far, 14 entities have applied to enter the market, with the most recent being the casino company that owns Stratosphere.

Dr. David Schwartz, Director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told Card Player that there has been a “bottleneck” in the state’s understaffed testing labs. Regulators have said that the bulk of the scrutiny in licensing online poker sites would take place in the lab.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus