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Restrictions to be lifted on Nevada gaming-machine certification

1 Jul 2011

By Chris Sieroty
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Restrictions that limit the certification of gambling machines to state-run laboratories will essentially be lifted beginning next year.

Existing laws will be replaced by regulations allowing independent laboratories to verify the functionality and fairness of all new games, according to a bill recently signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Assembly Bill 279, sponsored by Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, does allow the state Gaming Control Board's testing lab to oversee and verify the work done by the private laboratories.

State gaming regulators have until May 1 , to adopt new guidelines and procedures for private labs to follow when certifying devices on their own.

Game manufacturers in Nevada already have private testing labs they use to certify the games they make and ship to other jurisdictions. Gaming Laboratories International in Las Vegas declined to comment.

Allowing companies to test and certify games for use within Nevada would enable them to develop more uniform standards.

"To the extent the standards are more common throughout the industry it's more likely everyone will benefit," Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said.

It would also speed the development of new games that can become backlogged at the state-run labs.

"The Nevada Gaming Control Board has been wonderful to us over the years, especially the new board," said John English, senior vice president of business development and public affairs for American Wagering Inc., a subsidiary of William Hill PLC.

"However, with all the new technology coming forward and all the products we planned on putting through the lab over the next few years, we are pleased that they chose to use independent testing labs to help further the technology movement here in Nevada," he said.

On April 14, William Hill purchased American Wagering, the parent company of 72 Leroy's Horse and Sports Place sports books and kiosks in Nevada, for $18 million. Las Vegas-based American Wagering has also introduced sports wagering applications for smartphones.

Thomas Jingoli, president of the Association of Gaming Manufacturers, expected the new law to keep manufacturers in or expanding in Nevada. But he said it was a little early to debate how the new rules will affect the industry.

Jingoli stressed the changes were "not a reflection of the job" state testing lab management or staff were doing.

"I don't see the state's testing lab ever going away," he said. "Private testing will allow us to keep up with the demands of a growing industry."

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