One of the interesting things about being part of a global company is gaining a true international perspective on events. And, take my word for it, having spoken with and visited regulators, operators and manufacturers in jurisdictions around the world over the last several months, this is a true global recession, and its reach is impacting every continent.
However, I’m also seeing an unprecedented coming together across the industry’s segments to get the global gaming business machine up and moving again. It’s an encouraging development and one of many recent signs that have given me hope and optimism that we are now in the recovery phase, and we can begin to expect great things in 2010. Here are some examples from around the world.
First, manufacturers everywhere are tightening their concentration on developing new game content, preparing a long list of devices (and systems) that will attract and serve not only the next generation of players, but also today’s players who have either scaled back the frequency of their casino visitation, scaled back their gaming budgets or both. With the recovery, these players will return to their favorite gaming facilities, and they will want to see something new. Operators can be optimistic that manufacturers will be able to deliver on that expectation for them.
Meanwhile, suppliers are very specifically targeting the jurisdictions they are choosing to enter. Whether due to cutbacks in compliance personnel or whether they are feeling the need to focus on a few key markets that can better immediately deliver, suppliers are clearly focusing on fewer jurisdictions immediately, using a pistol, not a shotgun, approach to deliver product today. This is moving product off the shelf and into the marketplace and delivering cash flow into the supplier.
Next, we are seeing a common approach to standards around the word. Regulators in diverse jurisdictions are seeing the advantages to standards and to keeping their rules and regulations largely in line with international standards. For example, New South Wales recently began accepting GLI 11, in addition to its currently established standard. This means manufacturers who are intimately familiar with GLI can create devices for NSW that meet the standard they know. Of course, this also means that suppliers who have devices and systems that have been previously certified to GLI 11 can now transfer that certification into NSW, immediately opening a new marketplace.
Such an example also recently occurred in Singapore, when it released technical standards that are in line with international standards. Regulators around the world are being very cost-conscious when they consider how their regulations may impact the fiscal viability of suppliers. This is not to say that regulators are abandoning individual public policy needs or directives; what regulators are saying let’s not create barriers to entry if there is no substantial benefit to regulation or policy. And without additional barriers, this frees suppliers to focus on exciting, new game content development without the additional financial or personnel burden of meeting a multitude of fractionally varying regulations.
Last, suppliers and regulators all around the world are having to do more with less, and GLI is doing everything we can to make interfacing with the lab as easy and cost-effective as possible. We are helping suppliers work more effectively by streamlining their administrative processes. For example, for suppliers we created a new “green” tool called “Point.Click.Transfer.” This tool allows suppliers to easily transfer certifications on previously certified products to jurisdictions around the world, quickly, easily online and without paperwork.
Our GLIAccess tool also allows suppliers and regulators to quickly and easily track submissions, certifications, revocations and receive up-to-the-minute alerts and updates, all from any computer any time of the day, in any jurisdiction, in any time zone. And, our GLIVerify tool allows regulators to carry a USB key that quickly and easily verifies certification signatures in the field.
What this all means is that in every corner of the globe, the industry is coming together, finding ways to work together that make business more efficient and cost-effective for everyone, and that streamlining and cooperative spirit will do wonders for an industry struggling to find its way out of a global recession. I am more optimistic than ever that recovery has begun. And, as we continue to work together, we will continue to speed the recovery along.