During October, the gambling industry congregates amongst the bright lights and non-stop action of Las Vegas for the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), an annual convention where the newest gambling games and technologies are showcased. Many exhibitors have established brands in the gambling industry, while others are trying to break grounds in the market.
For exhibitors featuring gaming devices at G2E, Nevada regulation requires that they be either licensed as a manufacturer or distributor or must be limited to displaying product and are prohibited from selling or taking orders “for use or play in Nevada.” NGC Regulation 14.340. The exhibitor must also display a sign that they are not licensed as a manufacturer or distributor in Nevada.
A gaming device has a specific meaning in Nevada. Not only is it a slot machine, but it’s also defined as a collection of certain components making up a slot machine, including a wired slot machine cabinet. NRS 463.0155. It’s not only the gaming devices that require a manufacturer’s license, but also cashless wagering systems, mobile gaming systems (that operate within the footprint of licensed resort establishment), and interactive gaming systems (also known as internet gaming). These types of systems often support the advancing shift to gambling on mobile devices.
In order to make gaming devices or certain systems for use or play in Nevada, a nonrestricted gaming license as a manufacturer is required. Further, in order to sell or lease such devices or systems, a separate distributor’s license is needed. Often, a company will obtain both licenses as part of the same process, but they are distinct. The process for obtaining both licenses is as strict as if operating a casino. It will require stringent background reviews of company owners, directors, and officers (or equivalents), can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars (which must be paid up front), and can take several months to complete. The licensing process for nonrestricted gaming licenses has been compared to the national security clearance process, but more intrusive!
Once a business successfully obtains approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for the manufacturer’s and/or distributor’s license(s), it doesn’t end there. Next, the technology itself must be approved before being placed on the casino floor. Up until 2011, all gaming technology had to undergo rigorous testing and review by the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s state-operated testing facility, the aim of which is to ensure that games are fair, secure, and auditable. Technology for the Casino…