BMM Testlabs’s $20 million investment to expand its licensing has put it on equal footing with its competition in North America, according to Travis Foley, executive vice president of North America.
Foley, marking his 12th year with BMM, spent more than 13 years with the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Technology Division. He was involved in the creation of regulations and standards for new technologies such as service-based, system-supported, and mobile gaming.
When Foley joined BMM in 2011, the company wanted to make the testing process more efficient and innovative, while maintaining the highest levels of integrity and accountability in gaming technology.
“BMM was a challenger brand at that time in North America,” Foley said. “We were taking on the Goliath in the test-brand space in North America, so I signed up. People don’t realize the kind of challenges we faced in BMM’s journey in North America.”
When he joined BMM, Foley said the company had about 160 licenses in North America, while nearly 300 needed to be completed.
“I knew we had a little way to go, but it shouldn’t be that hard,” Foley said. “We introduced ourselves and our qualifications and were confidently focused on moving forward. However, it has taken about 20 years, $20 million, and even litigation to get to the point where we have full market access in North America.”
Foley said BMM’s entry into North America was a very different experience than its growth elsewhere.
“Outside of North America, it truly has been a competitive landscape for independent testing laboratories,” Foley said. “If you look at Australia and Europe, it’s not just one or two labs, but there could be three, four, five, six, or more. In those markets, you’re qualified based on your testing competency and due diligence. In many of these markets outside North America where we can fairly compete with other testing labs, we’re the market leader. That bodes well for BMM in North America, which has never been a fully competitive market.”
For example, Foley said that in North America, most jurisdictions weren’t even set up to approve another lab and it was important for BMM to provide an understanding about the benefits of using multiple labs.
BMM leveraged the Class II gaming market, where the barriers to entry were far less stringent, to strengthen its relationships with regulators and suppliers and earn their trust. Foley said, “We have long been able to test for Class II gaming across the country and quickly became the market leader in that segment, because of our quality, competence, integrity, and willingness to help regulators be more effective. Now that we’re through this artificial barrier of market access and breaking this quasi-monopoly, we’re taking that experience and doing the exact same thing in Class III.”
Foley said BMM is in a great position because it has been the challenger brand in North America for 20 years and the company hasn’t taken anything for granted. That has allowed BMM to build stronger relationships, be better partners, and proactively support regulators and suppliers.
“We’ve had to work hard and be better,” Foley said. “With complete market access for Class III, we’re well positioned to compete aggressively in the entire North American market.”
Foley added that regulators, suppliers, and operators in North America “now better understand that by having a choice in test labs, things get done faster, better, and more cost effectively. It has taken time, but finally, there has been a mindset shift to what it should be and is in other parts of the world.
“We’re not only positioned well for the Class III market, but other emerging markets in the digital, igaming, and sports-wagering space,” Foley said. “We’ve recruited some of the best talent in the industry to support our regulators and customers in those new and emerging markets.”
BMM is heavily focused on providing training and has launched a sister company, RG24seven, to offer a free-of-charge compliance-grade virtual-training service for casino and gaming employees.
“It is exciting to see our robust library of training modules grow and our user count increase every day, as more and more companies recognize the value in effectively educating employees about important compliance-related topics, like responsible gaming, corporate social responsibility, and anti-money laundering. Importantly, we’ve attracted the industry’s leading experts and its best partners, like the AGA, for unique content provision,” Foley said.
BMM has also expanded its cybersecurity services into BIG Cyber, which is a BMM Innovation Group company providing 24/7 military-grade cybersecurity defense for the gaming industry.
“In light of the recent cyberattacks on prominent casino operators, the significance of maintaining a strong cybersecurity defense has become increasingly salient,” Foley said. “It is definitely top of mind with many of our customers.”
Foley noted that their ancillary offerings “are complementary to our core compliance testing and certification services and allow us to be a global one-stop-shop to regulators, suppliers, and operators.”
Looking ahead, Foley sees a bright future for the company in North America and across the globe. “After 20 years, the North American gaming-lab sector will finally be fully competitive and we’re finely tuned for creating value. Look out, competition.”