Technical Committee Update

GSA’s Technical Committees have been diligently working on producing standards for the gaming industry. As 2004 is the year of delivery for GSA, it is also the year of delivery for long awaited standards to the industry.

The BOB (Best of Breed) committee has been especially busy. In June of this year, the membership ratified version one of the BOB Message Protocol (v1.00). It features an open standard data model to represent game machines and an XML-based messaging protocol for exchanging data, reporting events, and sending commands. In August, they delivered the BOB Transport and Security over SOAP/HTTPS standard (v1.00) to the membership for ratification. Transport will allow secure reliable communication between game machines and host systems by using industry-standard protocols, such as SOAP/HTTP, SSL, TCP/IP and Ethernet. The committee is currently looking at new work items, including classes to address lottery, VLT and peripheral code download. In addition they are resolving key issues around device registration. New committee co-chair, Dale Buchholz, WMS Gaming, along with co-chair, Jim Morrow, Bally Gaming & Systems, are quite pleased with progress and are planning several exciting demonstrations of the new standards at G2E. As most industry insiders are aware, a key requirement for VLT systems is the need to be able to transport BOB and S2S messages over limited bandwidth networks (such as a dial up modem).

The S2S (SYSTEM TO SYSTEM™) committee has been keeping pace with the BOB committee. The committee released the S2S Message Protocol (v1.00) to the membership in May, and the membership ratified the document in June for immediate release. It features classes for patron information, player tracking, table games accounting and patron comps.

For more information on how members and non-members can gain access to these completed standards, visit the GSA website, www.gamingstandards.com.

S2S committee members are quickly moving forward on their plans for version two of the protocol, and expect to have a final standard in November of this year. In order to offer a solution for Class 2 gaming as well as for kiosks, the S2S protocol is being extended and the additional classes will include delta meters, vouchers, WAT (Wagering Account Transfers) and events. Chair of the committee, Dave Nehra, Mandalay Resort Group, is planning demonstrations of the standards, featuring the technology of several member companies.

GDS (Gaming Device Standard) will also be addressed thoroughly. The committee, chaired by Abdul Ali, Aristocrat Technologies, reports that the GDS committee has their standards out for membership comment and review and is preparing to release standards for Coin Hopper, Coin Acceptor and Note Acceptor to our general membership for adoption vote shortly. The committee expects to have these GDS standards by November. Future work for the committee includes the creation of standards for both the touch screen and printer devices.

In addition to the work done by these hardworking committees, the Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC) has just published the ‘US Regulatory Requirements Checklist for EGM’s’ and the ‘Feature and Functionality of Slot to System Protocols’. Mark Pace, of Harrah’s Entertainment and Chair of the committee believes that many in the industry will find these documents of tremendous value. They are available to the public at no charge, and can be found on the GSA website at www.gamingstandards.com.

The committees are considering a restructure that would allow them to develop a technical roadmap, that would work towards offering the industry transport standards to address major business requirements.

In 2003, GSA developed a toolkit (for information on how to purchase the toolkit, please visit our website at www.gamingstandards.com.) for use with the SAS 6.01 protocol, for which GSA provides change management support to IGT (International Gaming Technology). The change management committee is chaired by Chad Ryan, WMS Gaming. GSA is not resting on its laurels however, and will continue creating development suites as companion tools to its own standards.

In order to test the BOB standard, the committee set a highly aggressive schedule to complete the BOB Development Suite. GSA awarded the contract for creation of the BOB Development Suite to three highly accomplished contractors: Russ Ristine, Marty Wegner, and Tony Antonucci. These gentlemen are well-known in the gaming industry. GSA is pleased to announce that we will be releasing V1.0 of the BOB Host and EGM simulators by G2E. The development suite will allow companies to speed up the development and testing of their products by providing tools that embody the protocol and facilitate interpretation of the specification. The simulators, being the first components of the suite, accomplished a first implementation of the protocol, and enable a developer to have a communication partner against which he can test his implementation.

The S2S standard will also be complemented by a simulator and testers. The GDS committee is working on a development suite, and in August of this year awarded HCL of India the GDS development suite contract. The committee is targeting delivery of these tools for November 2004. They will include test cases, test plans, Host Simulator and client drivers.

GSA members are actively involved in all our technical committees. For information on how your company can become involved in the research and development of standards, please visit our website at www.gamingstandards.com.

 
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