An IGN Q & A: Bryan Frost (Part 1)

9 August 1999
While chaos engulfs the political scene in Queensland, the forecast for interactive gambling throughout the rest of Australia continues to be bright. Lasseters Casino in Alice Springs continues to enjoy success as the country's first land-based casino to go cyber. Wrest Point Casino in Tasmania could be the second outfit to take the plunge. A major role in making it happen will be played by a company called Trans-Global Interactive (TGL), which owns 50 percent of Sydney-based Gaming & Entertainment Technology Systems, the software supplier for Wrest Point. IGN caught up with Bryan J. Frost, one of the directors at TGL, to discuss the future of his company in the online gaming industry.

IGN: Can you offer a brief description of what makes the GET Systems software unique?

BF: We've developed a substantial amount of online gaming software and backend software that's fully scaleable, which means if 10,000 hit it at once it doesn't crash. And it's going through a validation process here under the eyes and ears of the gaming commission.

IGN: I've gathered from our previous conversations that the Tasmanian Gaming Commission has more or less accepted the software already.

BF: It's just the mathematics, really. The Australian casino industry started fairly late in terms of the world, so they brought in some very good and strong laws to protect the investors, for political reasons as well as everything else. So everything here, as it is with every major First World casino is validated. The poker machines are all sealed, for example, so casinos and/or others can't get in and change the odds.

Now, of course, the type of software we're presenting has got to have the same integrity. That means you can't have somebody--a hacker, for instance--come in and start to diddle around with it and change the backend. That is and will be always constantly audited by the appointees of the government here to make sure that it is what it is. It's not a case of whether it gets validated, it's a case of when it gets validated.

The reason: If you have a look at the Web page, you'll see, for instance, on the poker machines, it's only three reels. Because of the mathematical calculations, it's easier to get three reels validated than it is to get five or six.

It's costing about half a million dollars to get it validated, but what it does mean is that any licensed casino in Australia who then has an Internet license to go on line can offer a casino where people will be comfortable. They'll be dealing with a real bricks and mortar casino rather than a virtual reality casino perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean--in most cases perhaps legitimate, but in some cases, maybe not.

IGN: What edge does the software have over that of other companies?

BF: Some of the Caribbean have software that looks excellent, but that's just the graphics. I'm not taking away from it, but graphics are pretty simple. Put 320,000 lines of encryption behind it. … That's what this has got. It's pretty serious stuff. You have to have it, otherwise you won't get through the probity and the validation.

We don't know of anything in the world at the moment that competes with what we've got. But, who knows what's around the corner? There are a lot of geniuses out there. But there's a big market too. A huge market. We're a small company. I mean, how much of it do you need. If we get 3 percent or 5 percent of the market we couldn't count it.

IGN: And the backend of the system… Can you talk about what's behind the scenes and what makes it a superior system?

BF: What (GET Group founder) Tibor Vertes has built into the system with these 34 guys is the ability to monitor every game and play back every game. So one of the strengths of the systems is, you have, as a gambler, an account with which you can revisit every game you've ever played and replay it.

If you wanted to be a bit smart and you saw the (roulette) ball going into the wrong hole at the last minute, you could pull your plug out of the wall and say "Look, I didn't really lose, my machine crashed." But with this system, when you go back into the system again, you have to continue to play the game. You have to play the game out. And it's split-second backed up.

IGN: And that's what you refer to as the "Roll-back" function?

BF: That's right. Also, from the standpoint of monitoring, if large bets are won in a casino, the guy who's dealing doesn't necessarily give you the money. It has to be checked out by a supervisor. So it has all of that built into the system. Obviously, if you win a million dollars in a poker machine they don't just send you the money. Someone has to come along and give you the check. It's the same thing (with our software).

IGN: Do you have to make changes in the software for validation in different jurisdictions or is it built to accommodate various regulatory models?

BF: We think the fundamental system will carry through because it's such an integrity check here. The may want to run it again, but I don't think there would be changes. There will be changes which everybody's doing--making the front end look different--because each casino wants a different looking page they want different reasons for going there and so forth.

IGN: According to the laws, who can play at an Internet casino licensed by the government of Tasmania?

BF: At this point in time, anybody. You can play from anywhere, but you have to identify yourself. Obviously, you have an age situation, where the don't want people under 18 players, and the casinos manage that themselves. It's up to them to verify that. It could be a passport or a birth certificate…

IGN: So age verification isn't something that's under scrutiny as far as the validation process goes?

BF: No, the system is being mathematically checked out to make sure that it can't be tampered with and to make sure that it doesn't go down. You don't want to have it halfway through with somebody gambling and they've won and then the thing crashes. Quite a lot of sites crash when they get too many people on them.

[Part 2]

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.