Nevada Regulators To Vote On New Game Testing Rules

Posted By Brian Pempus on October 20, 2016

[toc]Nevada gaming regulators are set to give the casino industry a boost thanks to a new process designed to help games-makers test their products.

According to a report from Vegas Inc, the state Gaming Commission will meet in Carson City on Thursday to consider a regulatory change allowing for a new process called “New Innovation Beta.”

The change would come in the form of amendments to an existing Nevada gaming regulation.

Reason for the regulatory changes

Casino gaming is now in 40 states, and Nevada is seeking to maintain its position as not only the nation’s most lucrative gambling market, but also as the gold standard in regulation.

The NIB process is “intended to expedite the introduction of innovative gaming devices and inter-casino linked systems,” according to the proposed amendments dated Sept. 8, 2016.

Skill-based gambling machines would be the ideal candidates for NIB.

Regulators want to let companies get a real world evaluation of a new game “at an earlier stage of the regulatory approval process.”

Basically, it allows games to sidestep a more cumbersome field trial. Manufacturers can get more useful data about their games sooner.

Who decides if a game gets NIB status

The Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman has “sole and absolute discretion” whether to utilize the NIB process.

The chairman also has “full and absolute authority to condition or limit” a NIB waiver “for any cause deemed reasonable.”

The current NGCB chairman is A.G. Burnett.

What NIB games will look like on a casino floor

Under the regulatory proposal, the chairman could require a casino licensee to notify gamblers that the new gaming device hasn’t yet received final state approval.

“With NIB there will be notification for the patron, and there will be a cordoned off or separate area depending on what the device or product is,” Burnett told Vegas Inc.

According to Burnett, if a machine in the NIB process experiences a problem that affects the outcome of a wager, “the patron would be made whole.”

The size of Nevada’s gambling machine market

At the end of August, slot machine revenue for the past 12 months was $7.1 billion (a year-over-year increase of two percent), according to a state revenue report.

Total gaming win for the period was $11.2 billion.

Slot machines represent more than 60 percent of Nevada gaming win.

There are nearly 150,000 slot machines statewide. The Las Vegas Strip area has about 41,000 machines and $3 billion of statewide slot revenue.

In order to appeal to millennials, Nevada’s casino industry has taken a look at reinvigorating gaming devices. Machines with a skill-based element are a key strategy.

The NIB regulation came about a year after Nevada regulators approved the new gambling devices, which could include arcade-like features.

New Jersey beat Nevada to the punch when Atlantic City casinos were given the green light for skill-based slots in February 2015.

Image credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

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Brian Pempus

Brian Pempus has worked in the gaming industry since 2009. He is a Penn State grad and lives in Cincinnati, OH.

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