SOURCE: BMM International Pty. Ltd.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Independent testing agency BMM International has formulated an alternative solution to improve and accelerate the ongoing verification process of an Internet gaming system's integrity - and its fairness to players.
Players want to be confident that the games they are playing are unbiased. To achieve this objective, most regulated jurisdictions demand the independent testing of Internet gaming, wagering and sports-betting systems before allowing them to go live. Once the site is up and running, retesting the systems after every change - which may occur on a daily basis - is slow, expensive and not commercially viable.
The new method allows operators and suppliers to make minor changes to the system without re-testing and re-verification by a testing laboratory. Significantly, this approach enables the software to be checked only during an audit, rather than each time the software is upgraded
"We believe our model offers an effective solution for regulators, as well as offering a commercially attractive solution to online gaming operators," said Mr James Sargeant, Senior Computer Systems Engineering Consultant, BMM International Pty. Ltd.
"Perhaps most importantly, players will have another good reason to be attracted to operators in regulated jurisdictions."
"The BMM model means that players should now be offered the latest and best solutions that are offered by regulated operators of Internet gaming sites. And they should be out in the market just as quickly as the latest technology offered by sites running from unregulated places," said Mr Sargeant.
"System integrity verification is a difficult issue for regulators, suppliers and operators of Internet gaming systems, and we believe that we have developed the basis for a commercially feasible model," explained Mr Sargeant.
"The model we have developed retains processes that allow regulators to verify that the software running on the production servers has not been tampered with, and complies with the regulated jurisdiction's technical requirements."
Moreover, operators could make frequent, minor changes to their systems to respond to market conditions without having to undertake re-certification each and every time this occurs.
The current approach for highly regulated jurisdictions is for each system to be tested against the technical standards, and certified as compliant. Once a system has been certified as compliant it cannot be changed without invalidating the certification. Any changes to the system would still require re-submission to a testing laboratory such as BMM, and subsequent re-certification.
This causes various problems to the regulator, system supplier and Internet gaming site operator. The number of changes that occur in Internet gaming, wagering and sports-betting operations can often overwhelm the regulator. From the operator's perspective, the time required for re-certification may be too lengthy to be able to effectively compete against the unregulated operator, who may be changing their system on a daily basis. Moreover, the costs associated with re-certifying a system after small changes may exceed the benefits.
As a result, it also appears that the player is impacted by these lengthy delays and may choose an unregulated operator with an un-tested product, which may not be fair.
BMM's alternative model is based around major and minor changes, which are set by the regulator. Major changes need to be tested prior to deployment. Minor changes can be effected with either advance notice or after-the-fact notice, depending on the needs of the regulator. As a result, Internet gaming operators have the ability for increased flexibility and can maintain a market edge, due to shorter time delays for approval in their licensed jurisdiction.
Mr Sargeant said that the model also has mechanisms that minimize the risk of faulty software going into production as a result of a minor change.
"A Regulator can determine what constitutes major and minor changes on an operator-by-operator and supplier-by-supplier basis. This approach offers enormous flexibility to regulators, suppliers and operators of Internet gaming systems," he said
Each time an Internet gaming supplier undertakes a minor change, they would have to "seal" the source code and the executable. The regulator would be entitled to undertake a random technical audit at any time to verify that the system was being changed only in accordance with this model. One of the "sealing" mechanisms discussed in the model allows suppliers to retain complete control over access to their source code.
The more cursory audits would not require the breaking of seals or any costs to the supplier. The more in-depth audits involve the breaking of the seal to verify that the executable was derived from the source and that the executable is the same that was running on the servers at the time of the audit.
Re-certification would be performed on a periodic basis by a testing laboratory such as BMM to re-certify the system as compliant with the relevant standards.
"There's no doubt that many Internet gaming players need some faith in the system - especially those that have lost a lot of money through illegitimate sites. Our aim is to help regulated jurisdictions offer the best products on the market," said Mr Sargeant.
"An independent testing agency like BMM tests each operator's system on behalf of the regulator to ensure it is fair to the player, such as in terms of odds and payout percentages. We are always looking at new ways to improve the gaming regulator's position, which has a flow-on effect to the Internet gaming operator - and, ultimately, the player."