BMM Testlabs has carved a successful niche in the gaming industry primarily through the performance of a vital task—testing technology and math-based casino games and ancillary equipment to make sure it meets jurisdictional regulations and requirements. The independent testing lab was formed 35 years ago in Australia and has since branched out to become a global presence, comprising of 300 employees in 13 offices and 11 laboratories spread throughout the world’s legal gaming jurisdictions. Travis Foley, executive vice president of operations-Americas for BMM, joined the company in 2011 after a 13 year career at the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which saw him rise to the position chief of the technology division. Foley recently took some time to converse with Casino Journal Editor Paul Doocey about BMM, the services it provides and what sets it apart from its competitors. What follows are some excerpts from that conversation:
What differentiates BMM Testlabs from other testing providers? What makes the BMM experience unique?
Foley: BMM is a gaming testing laboratory. We are the longest established testing lab for the global gaming industry. We are approaching our 35 year anniversary in November; and all of those years have been focused on providing testing for the gaming industry. Our focus is testing and it has always been testing and it always will be testing. We also provide training and ancillary support services, but have never sought out business opportunities such as selling our software or tools.
What is unique about BMM is that we offer testing services in a way that makes them efficient and cost effective for our customers while maintaining a high level of quality. We seek to support regulators and the gaming industry as a whole by sharing our knowledge whenever possible. We also try to improve testing situations by asking ourselves, “how can we do better?” instead of saying, “this is the way things have always been done.”
What is BMM Testlab’s strongest regional market? Why?
Foley: We’re strong in every market we are in. Globally, BMM is a leader in the services that we provide. I wouldn’t say one regional market is stronger than the others; we’ve been in some longer than others but in every jurisdiction we are considered a thought leader, a company that supports the industry and is a good partner.
The unique thing about the world we work in is the North American market. North America is a little bit different because of the 400 global gaming jurisdictions, 300 are based in North America alone. We have been in North America for quite a while now, since the early 2000s, and we have built up our business but with limitations; those limitations being that for each of those 300 jurisdictions, the company needs to be recognized in order to provide our services. It has been a long journey and we are near the end of it…. we have a handful of jurisdictions left for recognition. The last two years have been fantastic—the industry has matured in North America and more and more jurisdictions have recognized the benefit of not just BMM, but of having multiple labs and not just relying on one provider. Lots of jurisdictions have recently gone to multiple labs.
Which of your services has provided the most business for BMM? Why? What are you doing to grow the demand for your other services?
Foley: Well, jurisdictions require that products be tested, so there is obviously an organic demand for that service and it remains our most popular. Testing is a generic term however… I feel the service we provide is making sure that as we test, we are transparent in what we do and that we are also informative. By that I mean we see each manufacturer’s products and often know as much about the product as the company itself. So we are in a position where we can observe issues they may have with their products and offer them feedback to help them understand something they may not see themselves that needs to be resolved.
The testing is our primary service and it is independent, but it is also a cooperative and transparent effort.
Please describe your quality assurance offerings and how they set you apart from the competition.
Foley: We saw an opportunity to provide quality assurance testing and it has grown significantly out of our Moncton, Canada office. The service came out of our consultative approach to testing. We have been utilized by the major gaming manufacturers to come in and look at their own quality assurance process. The worst thing for a manufacturer is that they submit a new product to us for testing and there are issues with the product that force them to go back and make changes and re-submit it. That costs money and time.
So we have been used by manufacturers to come in and look at their quality assurance process—what they are doing and how are they testing internally—and provide them feedback on how they can improve. That has been extremely valuable to the manufacturers.
What are BMM Testlabs plans for future growth? What regions of the world are you targeting for expanded growth? What business/service segments? How are you going about capturing this extra business?
Foley: For us, the main focus is providing testing and the ancillary services that go with it. When you look at other markets, we are already around the globe. When it comes to expansion, we typically place our laboratories where the manufacturers are located, just for ease of communication, delivery of equipment and so on. There are some offices we have because of jurisdictional requirements; you need local folks that speak the language and know the culture.
So we will always look to expand where there is a new hub of manufacturers or a new market. A perfect example is Brazil; if it moves forward with regulated gaming, we very well might place a laboratory in Brazil. We are also keeping an eye out for other South American jurisdictions. There are opportunities like this in Asia as well… there is a lot of talk about Japan.
To be clear, expansion for us is more than just chasing opportunity; it’s a chance to offer knowledge. We have been around a long time and have seen jurisdictions start up. We have a lot of experience in what has and has not worked. We want to be involved in the early stages of these processes to provide our guidance and input to help develop a framework that will best meet their needs.