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Gaming Software Inspection Organizations

By: Adam Baker, Wednesday February 18th 2009
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Just like any other product online gaming software needs to be tested before release. And since the software has indefinite life it needs to be tested periodically to ensure that it is functioning normally. The inspection of online gaming software is conducted by an agency external to the software developer. There are two main reasons for this. One is that the skills and expertise required for testing the software is distinct from the skills required to develop the software. Hence it is best if the testing is done by an organization that possesses the required skills and experience. The second reason is that an inspection carried out by an independent agency is more credible and will be more easily accepted by the licensing gaming jurisdictions and the online players.

The probity checks cover different aspects of the gaming software. The core is the Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG is a complex algorithm that produces a sequence of numbers that are random and unpredictable. In different games the numbers get linked to different visual features. For example in blackjack each number generated scaled and mapped to a card in the deck. The inspection procedure ascertains whether there is a bias in the generation process. A bias would indicate that some numbers occur more frequently than they mathematically should. This is neither fair to the casino nor the players. Another aspect that is important is the payout percent of the games. Each game is designed with a payout percent in mind and the inspection reveals whether the actual payout percent is in conformity. Players use the reported figures of payout percent to compare different online casinos. Apart from these, the entire software is put through the scanner to ensure that functions like registration, account maintenance, report generation and payout processing do not have glitches. There is a set of stringent guidelines against which the performance of the software is evaluated.

There are several reputed independent inspection agencies that are used by software developers, licensing authorities and online casino operators. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Technical Systems Testing (TST): TST was established in Australia in 1993 and today operates from Vancouver, London and Macau as well. It has earned the reputation of being one of the most experienced and reputed testing facilities for online gaming software. All offices of TST are ISO compliant. TST takes special steps to ensure confidentiality and integrity of the testing process. TST also carries out inspections for land based gaming.

  • iTechLabs: iTechLabs is located in Australia and focuses only on online gaming. The principal consultants at iTechLabs have a combined experience of over 20 years. The organization has developed its own standards but can perform the probity checks to the standards set by all major gaming jurisdictions. Playtech is a major customer.

  • BMM Compliance (BMM): BMM was founded in Australia in 1981. Today it services 300 gaming jurisdictions from 8 offices around the world. It offers testing, assurance, certification, compliance management and advisory services to both land based and online gaming industries.

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Comment by: Blake On: August 12, 2009
There definitely is a certain amount of reassurance but until there are some serious governments that get involved in the regulation of gaming there will be room for errors, lack of testing, oversights, etc... I think it's great for now but if Vegas were to be involved it would be far better as there would be far more in way of probity checks, software checks, integrity checks, etc..
Comment by: Karl Benton On: August 05, 2009
The reassurance of knowing that online casinos or more importantly the software providers that develop the online casino software we play at have been thoroughly tested makes all the difference in promoting transparency and instilling confidence. I know that when I see a seal from iTechLabs or TST which I've done my own personal research on it definitely makes me more confident to play at an online casino that bears such a marking or logo on their site.

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