BMM Rolls Out New Testing Mode

7 August 2002

One of the leading independent testing labs in the world for casino systems is confident its new approach can change the way operators and suppliers introduce new technology without sacrificing the fairness of games.

Australian-based BMM International has formulated an alternative solution to improve and accelerate the ongoing verification process of an Internet gaming system’s integrity--and its fairness to players.

On July 30, the company published a white paper detailing its new alternative approach to verifying online gaming systems. BMM is hoping to get input from operators and regulators.

Company officials announced last week that they have put the finishing touches on cutting-edge verification system that should be a welcome aid for regulators and operators alike.

Under the current system, operators in regulated areas are required to have their systems independently tested before they can launch. Once the site is up and running, retesting the systems after every change--which may occur on a daily basis--is slow, expensive and not commercially viable.

The independent party tests the system against technical standards specified by the applicable jurisdiction. The technical standards are primarily aimed at protecting the player--for example, the random number generator that determines the outcome of the game must be unbiased.

To ensure that the system that is running is the same as the system that was tested, a signature of the program is created and provided to the regulator.

The regulator can then make sure that the system that is running is the same as the system that was tested. Each time any change is made to a program, the independent party has to be called in to retest the system for compliance and make sure the new signature is sent to the regulator. This system has worked well in the land-based gaming industry for many years, but it doesn't translate well to the online world.

BMM's new system enables I-gaming software to be checked during audits, rather than each time the software is upgraded.

Operators can now make minor changes to systems as market demands may dictate without having to undertake a re-certification.

James Sargeant, a systems engineer for BMM who helped devise the new system, said the old model causes problems for Internet operators located in regulated jurisdictions who are trying to keep up with those in unregulated areas.

The number of changes that occur in Internet gaming, wagering and sports-betting operations can often overwhelm the regulator, he said. From the operator’s perspective, the time required for re-certification may be too lengthy to be able to effectively compete against the unregulated operator, who may be changing his system on a daily basis. The costs associated with re-certifying a system after small changes can exceed the benefits.

"At BMM, we believe that players' interests are best protected if Internet gaming is properly regulated," Sargeant said. "So we've put together this model that allows regulated operators to make changes to their system as quickly as their unregulated competitors--while ensuring that regulators have mechanisms to make sure that players remain protected."

BMM’s alternative model is based on major and minor changes, which are set by the regulator. Major changes need to be tested prior to deployment. Minor changes can be done with either advance notice or after-the-fact notice, depending on the needs of the regulator.

Sargeant said the white paper was provided to regulators and the industry as whole and that BMM hopes to start getting comments from all sides rather quickly. Early feedback, he said, has been good.

"The release of the white paper is therefore the first stage in the process of adoption rather than its conclusion," he said. "Each regulator will need to consider the model and see if it meets--or can be adapted to meet--their jurisdiction’s policy objectives. At some time in the future, the model--or an evolution of it--may be adopted by some jurisdictions."

Sargeant said he was approached by the International Association of Gaming Regulators to speak about this issue at its conference in London in January. Since then BMM has been working on and off to develop the model, he said.

Ultimately, it is up to the regulators of each jurisdiction whether they adopt this model or a derivative of it, Sargeant said.

"The regulators will need time--and must be given that time--to consider the implications of the model in the light of their policy objectives," he said. What we have provided in this white paper is a first step. We look forward to working with regulators and other industry participants to further develop, enhance and deploy this model."