Sometimes as we go about our day-to-day jobs, we forget that what we think of as common knowledge can actually be somewhat mysterious to our peers in the industry. We sometimes mistakenly assume that we share a completely common vocabulary.
Such was the case recently while I was at the NIGA trade show in April and at the Southern Gaming Summit in May. On more than one occasion at each event, people from the operations side of the industry were asking about GLI’s Interoperability Center-what it is and what it does. These types of questions also came up during our recent GLI University “Regulator Basics” training session.
The timing of the questions was very interesting, because in the next couple of months, we will unveil an incredible new form of interoperability testing that we have been researching and developing over the past year or so. But what is GLI’s Interoperability Center, what does it do and what is the relevance to a slot manager?
GLI’s Las Vegas office is home to the world’s largest, and only, interoperability center run by a private lab. The center allows for complete end-to-end testing of gaming systems and gaming devices that connect to them as well as new downloadable and server-based technologies. In other words, the interoperability center helps suppliers and regulators ensure that equipment connects to systems and communicates correctly.
At its most basic level, our interoperability center is an area of the test lab where a manufacturer can test a game against another manufacturer’s system. The reason this is important to suppliers is that in a private interop center, they can test devices in a neutral setting with no public knowledge of the outcome. In other words, they can be sure their games run on the system you have running in your casino before their games ever make it to your floor. Obviously, the worst case scenario for you and your vendors to for games not to talk to systems correctly when they go live on your casino floor.
Certified complianceIn 2002, GLI and GSA finalized the terms of an agreement that authorizes GLI to test equipment against GSA standards for compliance certification. It provides all GSA member companies, and any other companies that implement GSA standards and specifications, a facility for interoperability testing of their equipment. GLI has expanded that relationship and now also tests for GSA’s Certification Program.
Some jurisdictions are now requiring that all games be interoperability-tested to a specific system prior to installation in casino.
We use several protocol analysis tools in our interop lab, including MicroTap (a DOS-based program), Serial Async (a serial data analyzer) and DataBoy (a serial line monitor or protocol analyzer). In the testing process, we test accounting metering, security events/exceptions and ticketing. We can also test for mystery progressives, bounusing, EFT promotional and AFT cashless accounting.
Why you should careThis is all good information, but what is the relevance to a slot manager?
At the recent G2E Asia tradeshow in Macau, the tradeshow floor was polka-dotted with devices and systems bearing the Gaming Labs Certified symbol, meaning the games and systems had been tested and certified to work as they should, including for interoperability. And that’s where the relevance comes for slot managers. When you purchase devices that are Gaming Labs Certified (and now GSA Certified), you can rest easy that they are going to work as you expect, and that when your regulatory body comes calling, you can be assured that your games and systems have been tested to their standards, and that they are resting easy with your choices.