The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) took an important step in its sports betting regulations earlier this month.
The MGC voted for emergency procedures that allowed authorization of two sports betting testing equipment labs. The two labs? BMM Testlabs and Gaming Laboratories International (GLI).
The move is one that gives regulators a head start when it comes to prepping the state for a sports betting launch.
Who are the two sports betting labs and what do they do?
BMM Testlabs is an independent gaming testing lab based in Las Vegas. The company has been in business for more than four decades. BMM’s testing covers the entire betting process, including:
- Front-end functionality
- Placing bets
- Redeeming wagers
- Bet verification
- Canceled bets
GLI is based in New Jersey but has offices on six continents. The company operates in 480 jurisdictions around the world and has been in business for more than 30 years. The company offers many of the same sports betting services BMM does.
Why did Massachusetts Gaming Commission regulators choose these two labs?
The simple answer is that BMM and GLI are already operating in Massachusetts. The two companies test casino equipment. During the MGC meeting in which they approved emergency procedures, MGC Chief Information Officer Katrina Jagroop-Gomes explained why BMM and GLI were good fits.
“They go through a pretty rigorous process initially to have been allowed to do testing in our jurisdiction along with other jurisdictions like us,” Jagroop-Gomes said. “So, on an annual basis, we…do an audit of the facility itself where most of the testing happens.”
She pointed out that each facility gets an annual audit, in which inspectors do a walk-through of the facility where most of the testing happens.
“We…have a compliance checklist that we go through with both labs to ensure that they are adhering to and meeting our requirements as well as industry standard requirements,” Jagroop-Gomes said.
MGC Commissioner Nakisha Skinner asked Jagroop-Gomes if the companies have an “excellent” compliance history, and the response was decisive: “Absolutely.”
MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein noted that the MGC consulted with Jagroop-Gomes and tech colleagues about their comfort level with emergency approvals for BMM and GLI.
How would the testing process work for Massachusetts sports betting?
MGC General Counsel Todd Grossman explained how the testing process would work. sec. 144.06
Basically, operators, the commission, or vendors would bring sports betting equipment to BMM and GLI for testing. The testers would take equipment into their facility and apply their testing methods to ensure the integrity and legitimacy of the machines.
“In order for equipment to become approved, whether it’s the commission or the operator themselves or the vendors of the devices would have to bring the equipment to the certified independent tester,” Grossman said. “The lab itself would have to be certified under the process we’re talking about now.”
State regulations require that the testers be certified by MGC, and BMM and GLI are the only two MGC-certified testers in the state, Grossman said.
Grossman said the emergency approval provides a couple of advantages for the state and future operators of Massachusetts sports betting.
- It allows sports betting operators to understand where the MGC stands and build relationships with the testing labs.
- The MGC can work with BMM and GLI to adopt and amend industry standards for sports betting.
“It would help us to stand up the regulation drafting process a little bit quicker,” Grossman said.