Nevada Gaming Control Board wants to speed up game approval

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(LE Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images

Members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board took the first step Tuesday to streamline the approval process for new games and variations of old ones after a three-hour workshop with industry leaders.

Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick drew up a list of ideas on a blackboard in the Control Board room, while a dozen industry leaders shared their frustrations and ideas with board members.

“We are left with some action items and some of them may require regulatory changes, so we would need a workshop,” Hendrick said after the meeting. “Some of them (solutions) may require statutory changes, which I don’t know if we will be able to address in this (legislative) session. I haven’t heard many ideas. The main thing is what we can do as soon as possible”.

Hendrick and the Control Council scheduled the workshop – the first for him and Board member George Assad since his appointment in January – after Governor Joe Lombardo said in his January State of the State address that he wanted give priority to expediting gambling authorizations.

Among those who testified Tuesday was former Governor Robert List, who explained how former Governor Grant Sawyer led the effort to remove the mafia from casinos and established a regulatory system that required new games to be thoroughly tested under laboratory conditions before to place them in a limited number of casinos on a trial basis before their distribution on the market.

Several manufacturers present at the workshop said the approval process is delayed because regulators are being asked to step in and check any modifications to the games before they can be put back into play. These checks cause delays of days or even months.

John Acres, an executive with Acres 4.0, told the board that Nevada’s regulatory methods inhibit innovation and that, adjusted for inflation, manufacturers made less money on new products in 2022 than they did in 2006. The reason: Approvals Regulatory filings in Nevada take longer compared to other states.

“That logjam is due to the lengthy process required to approve new gaming-related products,” Acres said. “The Nevada Gaming Control Board reviews each new product to certify that it is compliant with technology regulations, a process that takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. Once certified, the product is operated in a single casino as a field test.

Acres explained that before a product can be modified to correct a fault, the modification itself must be certified by the Board. Certification of each modification requires between four and twelve weeks.

“The sum of all the certification times required to complete a single field trial of a new product is six to 24 months,” he said. “That delay crushes innovation and the certification burden that comes with it overwhelms the Board’s limited staff, thus creating the bottleneck that Governor Lombardo is seeking to remove.”

One of the ideas Hendrick wants to explore is how approvals in other states seem to be going faster than in Nevada.

“If another regulated jurisdiction that has the same reporting requirements as Nevada, if they are doing it faster than us, I want to know,” he said. “I want to know how they have done it. My guess is that they took our system and said, ‘I can make it faster.’”

Hendrick said he also wants to have a discussion with Daron Dorsey, CEO of the Las Vegas-based Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, who testified at the hearing, to explore how regulations and policies can be changed to speed up the approval process. .

Hendrick said the board should be cautious about introducing changes that could affect casino operators, since any violation of the regulation could be blamed on the operators, not the manufacturers.

“We don’t want things to be approved and six months or six years later not reported correctly and operators to be told: ‘You didn’t report it correctly.’ It is a violation of the regulations by the operator and not the manufacturer.

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