In a move applauded by most slot makers, the Gaming Standards Association (GSA), formerly the Gaming Manufacturers Association (GAMMA), has agreed to support IGT’s SAS protocol software as the industry-wide standard.
The IGT SAS protocol allows for communication between gaming machines and slot accounting systems, and provides a secure method of communicating all necessary data supplied by the gaming machine to the monitoring system.
Most gaming machine manufacturers build slot machines that can “talk” to the SAS protocol, but as the number and variety of gaming venues has expanded (often beyond the country’s borders), it’s possible for a slot maker to have to match its machine with different communication and accounting software.
GSA’s agreement to support IGT’s SAS protocol as the industry standard gives GSA input into the evolution of the SAS protocol.
“The SAS protocol is by far the most prevalent communication protocol in use today,” said Gregg Solomon, Chairman of GSA. “Now that GSA is adopting the SAS protocol, we will make significant progress toward our goal of developing and implementing a series of electronic communication standards for casino gaming equipment.”
GSA will work with IGT to enhance the SAS protocol by incorporating functions found in other protocols. The resulting protocol will undergo GSA’s open standardization process following American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines, and will then be adopted as a GSA standard communication protocol.
This agreement sets the stage for an immediate solution to the compatibility issues between gaming machines while development continues on other state-of-the-art GSA protocols.
Generally, the gaming industry hasn’t been keen on standardization because it is sometimes believed that standardization could lead to federal regulation rather than state regulation, according to attorney Nicholas Casiello, with Sterns & Weinroth, P.C.
But Casiello told a recent gaming panel that a myriad of state requirements would have a “detrimental impact on the industry.”
“The different states will continue to have different substantive requirements, such as minimum payout requirements, but the states are beginning to react to concerns by the industry on the more technical requirements,” Casiello said. “The manufacturers are having to make machines unique for each jurisdiction and the more jurisdictions the more variations they have to make of the same basic game.”
That’s where the GSA comes into play.
“They previously adopted standards relating to slot machine tower lights, which were adopted by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission,” Casiello said.
“This is an accomplishment that the industry should regard with great pride, as it is truly a major milestone for GSA,” said Ali Saffari, Vice President, Firmware Engineering for IGT and GSA board member. “The SAS is the culmination of 15 years of research and development.”