Although Gaming Laboratories International is an acknowledged leader in testing and certifying electronic gaming devices and systems, that service is the tip of the iceberg.
While such testing represents a significant portion of what GLI does, a company spokesperson says a growing portion of the company’s contributions come from behind-the-scenes regulatory advisory services such as educating operators, suppliers, and regulators on everything from best-practice technical standards to regulatory implications for new technology.
“GLI isn’t just the clear choice in test labs,” said Jamie Garcia, senior account executive. “We are the best choice in partner throughout the entire gaming lifecycle. We have a global reach and have local expertise in each jurisdiction, regardless of the development stage you are in.”
The company’s global headquarters is in Lakewood, N.J., and its 23 additional locations include laboratory services on all six inhabited continents. GLI, founded in 1989, has certified nearly 2 million items and has tested equipment for more than 480 jurisdictions worldwide. Government officials in many jurisdictions depend on standards developed by GLI to decide how to best regulate virtually all forms of electronics used in the gaming industry, from slot machines and casino kiosks to internet gaming and sportsbooks.
Garcia is part of GLI’s Client Services team for North America. It focuses on specific client needs, including analysis of new concepts, pre-certification testing, best-practice recommendations for compliance testing of iGaming and sports betting systems, evaluation of third-party systems for geolocation, age and identity verification, payment processing, and a plethora of other issues.
“It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter or a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. “We customize our advisory services to accommodate (a client’s) uniqueness within the gaming industry.”
Igaming and sports betting have generated “tremendous growth and interest,” she said. “We see clients that are small startups in their garage to large multinational conglomerates and corporations. The spectrum varies greatly. Each has a different understanding and knowledge base of gaming, and we’re here to fill in the gaps for them to make the best-educated decision.”
The current and potential effects of evolving technologies and regulations are an example of an issue facing gaming companies of all sizes. “If a supplier can identify where they have issues early on in development, it avoids expensive retrofits down the road,” she said.
Regulations mandating accurate geolocation practices are designed to ensure customers are where they say they are and within a specific jurisdictional boundary. Robust cybersecurity practices are in place and follow what’s known as a change management process. That process requires suppliers who want to update an already certified and launched product to show regulators that the new or updated versions remain in compliance, especially if any of the original’s “critical files” have been altered.
“(Regulators) make sure that what was tested remotely from the lab and what’s in the field are identical,” Garcia explained. Changes to the critical files typically require recertification.
Some clients using GLI’s Ongoing Regulatory Advisory services are new companies also working on getting initially licensed, she said. GLI can guide them through the maze of gaming regulations and technical that may or may not apply to their individual offerings.
“Understanding the fact that there are indeed idiosyncrasies (across different jurisdictional technical standards) is literally half the battle,” especially for companies involved in the U.S. market, Garcia said. “Each (jurisdiction) has its own rules to launch into the market. We help suppliers of all sizes to understand those differences and ensure they are compliant with them.”
GLI also has subject matter experts who can identify potential additional markets beyond a client’s initial targets and guide them through those certification processes.
Well-established firms also turn to GLI for help with a broad range of issues, whether it’s the opportunities or ramifications of new technology or questions about existing regulations, Garcia said. “We even do skill vs. chance assessments” for clients wanting an independent laboratory analysis of a product to identify any potential bias toward chance or skill.
Garcia said GLI has a storehouse of knowledge about gaming technology and regulations around the world. “We offer pre-compliance and full lifecycle compliance testing,” she said, “so we can meet developers wherever they are in the process and take them wherever they want to go.”