Technical Committee Update

2004 has been a year of many achieved milestones. GSA’s Technical Committees have produced several groundbreaking standards and will continue to refine these standards in order to bring the best possible solution to the gaming industry.

The BOB (Best of Breed) Committee, co-chaired by Dale Buchholz, WMS Gaming, and Jim Morrow, Bally Gaming & Systems, has been hard at work on updates to the BOB v1.0 specification. The updates are based on errata found during the host and EGM simulator projects and will be released as BOB v1.1 for member review in late December. BOB v1.1 is the specification that manufacturers should use in order to build BOB into their products. The GSA/BOB simulators will be upgraded and the new test tools will be created using BOB v1.1.

The BOB Committee continues to work on enhancements to BOB v1.1 in the areas of remote configuration, recycling bill validators, compression (binary XML), alternative transports (point-to-point and multipoint serial), lottery and central determination. An architecture for remote configuration and extensions to the device and communications classes has been proposed and text is being drafted. Changes to the NoteAcceptor class for recycling the bill validator have been proposed and are under review as part of BOB v1.1. Compression based on Binary XML from the WAP Forum is being designed. Binary XML over PPP has been prototyped as a transport for communication between EGM processor and SMIB and was demonstrated at G2E. This is being further refined into specifications that may be used for an EGM-to-SMIB profile. BOB has been reviewed from a lottery perspective with only minor extensions proposed, including a multi-point protocol for communication between EGMs and site controllers. Performance analysis and game download will be addressed as time allows.

The S2S (SYSTEM TO SYSTEM™) committee, chaired by Dave Nehra of Mandalay Resort Group, has been working diligently on the release of S2S v1.1, which will include the following new classes:

Voucher: The Voucher class is used to manage the process of issuing and redeeming payment vouchers (sometimes referred to as tickets or coupons).
WAT: The Wagering Account Transfer (WAT) class is used to manage the process of transferring funds between a Host system and a client. The Host system acts as the bank, storing account balances and processing account deposits and withdrawals. When a player wants to transfer funds to or from a wagering account, the client will first request the list of accounts and account capabilities for the player from the Host.
AccountingMeter: The AccountingMeter class provides a means for a client system to receive accounting meter information from a Host system.
EgmRegistration Class: The EgmRegistration class is used to register an EGM maintained by the Host system with a client S2S system. It provides the means though which the client is made aware of EGMs “owned” by the Host. Once the registration has occurred, meaningful context is now available to the client for associated information, such as meters, vouchers, and events.
EventFilter Class: The EventFilter class is used to subscribe, unsubscribe and send event information between S2S systems.
Player Class: The Player class is used to track player action and based on that action; provide player incentives in the form of points. As part of their marketing plan, many casino operators offer points-for-play programs to the players. The players earn points for their play, usually based on coin-in. The points can be redeemed for cash, gifts, meals, entertainment or other casino services. As a side benefit, casinos can track the win/loss of players participating in points-for-play programs. This information can be used for direct marketing and other purposes. The S2S Player class has been designed to support and be compatible with the BOB Player class.

As for the near future, S2S is looking to take the protocol to the next level. This means that S2S will look to add functionality to the schema for classes like the Lottery, Jackpots Events and the like. S2S will also be working very close with the BOB committee to ensure that both protocols can benefit from the same transport mechanism.

During the last three months, the GDS (Gaming Device Standard) committee, chaired by Abdul Ali, Aristocrat Technologies, has been busy with finalizing the standards for Coin Acceptor, Coin Hopper, Ticket specification and Note Acceptor communication protocol standards. These standards have recently been ratified by the GSA membership and are now avialable on the GSA website.

The committee is now busy putting together connector standards for these devices. GDS is also working on the Touch Screen's communication protocol and connector standards.

In addition, HCL, an independant contractor, hired by GSA for the creation of the GDS toolkit, is finalizing the "USB Diagnostic Suite", device drivers for Coin Acceptor, Hopper and Note Acceptor and script based test application for these devices.

The SAS 6.01 Protocol committee, chaired by Chad Ryan, WMS Gaming, has recently approved and released two addendums to the SAS 6.01 Protocol, as well as an errata sheet. The new addendums address transport of accounting meters related to Bill Hoppers and the transport of Coin In meters on a per wager category basis as required by new MICS (Minimum Internal Control Standards) in Nevada for games with a spread of 4% or more between wager categories. The committee also made a last call for issues and enhancement requests for the SAS Toolkit v1.00 and is currently using this information to build the requirements for the next version of the SAS Toolkit. Over the coming months the committee will be finalizing the requirements for the next version of the SAS Toolkit and working with a consultant to develop a schedule for the development, testing, and release of the updated toolkit.

In addition to the progress made by these hardworking committees, the RAC (Regulatory Advisory Committee) continues to work on educating state regulators and test labs on GSA's progress and the benefits of standardization.

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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