Members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has taken the first step toward speeding up the process of approving new games and variations on old ones on Tuesday, following a three-hour workshop with industry leaders. The workshop was scheduled after Gov. Joe Lombardo said in his State of the State address in January that he wanted to prioritize the streamlining of game approvals.
“We left with some action items and some of them may take regulatory changes, so we’d need a reg workshop. Some of them (solutions) may take statutory changes, which I don’t know if we’d be able to deal with them in this (legislative) session. I didn’t hear a lot of (ideas for) statutory changes. The main thing is what can we do sooner rather than later,” Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick said after the meeting.
Several manufacturers in the workshop said the approval process gets delayed because regulators are asked to step in and check any game modifications before they can be put back in play, which results in days – and sometimes even months – of delays.
John Acres, founder of Acres Manufacturing, told the board that Nevada’s regulatory methods inhibit innovation and that, adjusted for inflation, manufacturers made less money with new products in 2022 than in 2006 due to approvals taking longer when compared to other states.
“That logjam is caused by the lengthy process required for approving new gambling-related products. The Nevada Gaming Control Board reviews each new product to certify that it complies with technological regulations, a process that takes three to 18 months to complete. Once certified, the product is operated at a single casino as a field trial,” Acres said.
Acres pointed out that before a product can be modified to fix a flaw, the modification itself must be certified by the Control Board. Each modification certification requires four to 12 weeks to accomplish, he highlighted. The sum of all certification times required to complete a single new product field trial can go from six to 24 months.
One of the ideas Hendrick wants to explore is how approvals in other states seem to go faster than in Nevada. The Control Board Chairman said he also wants to have a conversation with Daron Dorsey, executive director of the Las Vegas-based Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, who testified in the hearing.
“It’s been a long time since anybody thought about this in Nevada. Imagine the speed of technology and what gaming has done just in the last eight years. We want to provide some information and details and give an overview of what it looks like at a macro level,” Dorsey said at the meeting.
However, Hendrick said the board must be wary of making changes that could affect casinos: any regulatory violations could be assessed against operators, not manufacturers.