What is “common ground”? What does it really mean? While looking at their current games and systems and reading the articles about the next generation of devices and systems, what do slot managers on the casino floors think of as common ground?

Common ground is the place that the Gaming Standards Association (GSA) has been working to create. GSA is a place where today’s generation of slot managers and operators can comfortably talk about the gaming devices and systems of tomorrow.

Up until now, many slot managers and operators have felt like outsiders. For the past decade, while we have always welcomed operators into GSA membership, our members’ work has clearly been more focused on solving the tremendous challenges on the supplier side of our industry. On this front, the industry has come together remarkably, and overcome obstacles to create new and open standards that allow suppliers to create products that were only available in our wildest dreams a few years ago.

GSA has had operator involvement all the while, of course; in fact for the past five years, an operator, Lyle Bell from the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, has led GSA’s board of directors. Prior to that, Gregg Solomon, chief executive officer of MotorCity Casino in Detroit, led the organization. And now that the industry has reached a large common ground threshold, GSA is actively and openly reaching out to operators to get more involved. Tell us what you want and need in order for us to help you taking your business to the next level!

Now that the groundwork has been put in place, we are ready, willing, and most importantly, able, to support you in having your business requirements met.

So how do you, a slot manager or an operator, become more involved in GSA and in determining your future? GSA has a standing committee for operators to actively participate in GSA, the Operators Advisory Committee (OAC). We invite every level of your operations team to be involved, from the CTO, the IT staff, and the slot managers to the marketing directors, because each will see the business differently, understand what your casino customers want, need, and expect from unique perspectives. Our supplier members want to and need to hear from you, their customer, to help move your business forward.

Beyond input, the only way we as an industry will expand our common ground, is for operators to implement GSA standards on their floors. Suppliers can create the devices and systems, which they do. Regulators can approve GSA standards and specify them in their RFP, which they do. Players can indicate a desire for devices and systems to do more for them from an entertainment and service perspective, and they do. But unless – and until – operators implement GSA standards on their floors, the industry and business will remain in the past.

That said, it is important to understand the benefits that GSA standards bring to operators. The simple business fact is that when you merge great standards into better business models, you become a part of a growing open standards community that will keep you competitive, secure, and contemporary for years to come.

When operators request GSA certified products, they gain access to EGMs that offer plug and play on the casino floor, enabling interoperability across vendors. Furthermore, only GSA standards offer sustainability and transparency and an easy exchange of information across multiple platforms. As we build the future on casino floors, GSA standards offer a quick response to any changes in the existing system. Finally, GSA standards give operators economic savings by installing and maintaining one protocol, instead of dozens.

So consider this an open call to you, the slot manager, and your peers across the casino operation. You are wanted and needed to participate in the future of the industry. You are wanted and needed to shape the future by helping to create and develop interoperability standards. Find your voice at GSA. Start now by contacting our GSA office or by visiting www.gamingstandards.com. SlotManager

Peter DeRaedt is president of the Gaming Standards Association. He may be reached at pdr@gamingstandards.com.