Play by the rules

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Macau regulator issues draft standard for slots, electronic games Macau’s gaming regulator held a landmark meeting with electronic gaming and systems manufacturers late last month and issued draft technical standards for this segment of the industry that are expected to be in force from early next year. Industry sources and copies of Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau documents presented at the meeting obtained by GamblingCompliance confirmed media reports that the closed-door meeting between the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau and company delegates took place. Sources said that based on the material presented, the standards will be straightforward and should not overly concern the industry. The draft standards have been submitted to manufacturers and gaming laboratories for review and comment by October 31, a source told GamblingCompliance. Welcome development Sources said the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has worked on drafting the technical standards for around a year and that an official announcement on the results is expected in January after a further consultation period ends. An instruction on the standards will be issued to gaming operators in December, sources said. The meeting was deliberately brief – between 10 and 15 minutes – but outlined some of the changes that are being considered, sources said. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau did not field questions at the meeting. Quoting an unnamed source, Inside Asian Gaming reported that the standards resemble the GLI-11 regimen for gaming devices in casinos developed by Gaming Laboratories International, LLC (GLI). The GLI-11 guidelines for slot machine and other electronic gaming software and hardware have acted as a default standard in Macau for some years. Legislated regulation of slot machines is a long promised but slowly evolving goal, with promises to issue rules in 2008 coming to nothing. While the introduction of a new technical regime carries a degree of uncertainty for operators and manufacturers and points to wider regulatory reform, one company official said the release of draft standards is a welcome development. The official, who was represented at the meeting and later briefed on its contents, told GamblingCompliance that, “I’m not expecting anything too restrictive”. The draft was consistent with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau’s “fairly open-type policy” in that it is “not excluding anyone” from the market, the official said. “It’s always good to have regulations. Then you know the rules you play to,” the manager said. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau did not respond to requests for comment by publication time. By  Martin John Williams* Exclusive GamblingCompliance/Macau Business