2ND CRA GAMING TECHNOLOGY FORUM
20 Jan 2011
Opening Address by Mr T. Raja Kumar, Chief Executive, CRA
OPENING ADDRESS BY MR T. RAJA KUMAR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CASINO REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE, AT THE 2ND CRA GAMING TECHNOLOGY FORUM, HELD ON THURSDAY, 20 JANUARY 2011, AT 9AM, AT THE INSTITUTE FOR MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES AUDITORIUM
Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, NUS,
Chairman, CRA Technology Advisory Committee,
Professors, other regulatory partners, and Industry representatives,
A very good morning and welcome to CRA’s second Gaming Technology Forum. Like the first forum held in 2009, we have organised this event to serve as a platform for operators, gaming manufacturers, test labs and regulators to gather for discussions on technical issues with regard to Singapore’s casino industry.
2. As you would all well know, since we last gathered during the first Technology Forum, much has happened in a very short span of time. In particular, of course, is the opening of the two casinos in Singapore. Many of us here in this hall not only had front row seats, but were actually right there in the arena, working hard to turn plans into reality. There has been plenty of action along the way, some very interesting and at times, harrowing moments.
3. But I believe for most of us, despite any past experiences with other casino openings, the challenges were significant. We saw at close hand the level of abuse that the gaming equipment was subjected to. It was quite startling. People were actually queuing up to play gaming machines. The machines were played practically non-stop for the first 48 or even up to 72 hours. I am told by my Technology team that some EGM parts had to be replaced due to wear and tear even before the week was out!
4. I am pleased to note that the CRA team was proactive in doing its due diligence. We made it a point to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions when they opened their casinos, and in fact sent our officers overseas to see these openings and how they were managed from a regulatory dimension. One of the key lessons we took away was arranging with the gaming machine manufacturers and the casino operators to have adequate resources on-site to address and trouble-shoot problems. Thus, technical problems were expeditiously resolved. Thanks to our technical standards, the testing that was done against these standards by the recognised test laboratories, and our team’s industry and diligence in ensuring that necessary checks were done on machines pre-operationalisation. Problems were kept to a minimum. This also attests to the quality of products that were supplied to the Singapore market. Against this context, it is appropriate that our theme for this year’s Forum is, “Product Quality”.
5. As leaders in your various fields, I am sure that it is a top corporate priority to place emphasis on product quality and continuous improvement. CRA, as the regulator, strongly supports this emphasis and would like to ensure that our regulatory regime and technical standards not only do not hinder innovation and quality improvements, but to the extent possible facilitates and allows for this, or even enables such innovation and quality improvements to take place.
6. On the issue of product quality, I can think of no better local expert than the Singapore Accreditation Council’s Director of Accreditation Division Ms Chang Kwei Fern to present a keynote address on quality standards and certification processes available. It would be interesting to examine how quality standards and processes can be further applied to gaming equipment and components.
7. Our other keynote presentation today will be on how to determine the quality of Random Number Generators (RNG). I have been assured that Prof Chong Chi Tat’s speech has been calibrated so that it could be understood by us “mere mortals”. Given the level of technology and mathematics in gaming machines, it is important for us all to achieve at least a conceptual understanding of what goes into a good RNG.
8. This brings me to one of the other key events for today. Over the past few years, CRA has had a few engagements with NUS’ Department of Mathematics, precisely to consult on technical matters that require the specialist expertise and knowledge of the professors in that department, before CRA could establish policies and processes on the regulation of gaming technology.
9. It is with great pleasure that we have arranged to formalise this engagement by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the NUS Department of Mathematics as well as the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability later this morning, most appropriately at this venue, that is the home of the Mathematics Department, that NUS has kindly extended for our use today. The MOU will open up opportunities for the CRA to collaborate with the NUS Department of Mathematics and Department of Statistics and Applied Probability to promote joint research and development activities in the area of Mathematical research relating to casino gaming.
10. The MOU establishes a framework for greater collaboration between CRA and NUS in joint research projects on mathematical algorithms used in the gaming industry, especially in the area of gaming integrity. It also allows the CRA to tap on the expert views of mathematics professionals at NUS in areas relating to the specialist field of gaming mathematics.
11. The MOU is significant milestone indeed and marks, in fact, the very first MOU that CRA is signing with a local strategic partner. CRA has been tapping on the expertise of this department and such knowledge is essential for our work in safeguarding the integrity of gaming in Singapore’s casinos. We are pleased to cement this partnership today with this MOU, which will take us to the next level of collaboration. It also represents CRA's continual efforts to deepen our knowledge and enhance our regulatory oversight of Singapore’s casinos.
Gaming Technology Discussions
12. Also on the agenda today is the technical standards segment that will be led by our Gaming Technology team. They will be going through proposed amendments to some of the existing technical standards, as well as giving a briefing on a new technical standard – that on Client Server Systems - that will be launched after this Forum. A number of the above changes arose, in fact, from feedback and industry consultation.
Open and Consultative CRA
13. It has been overall a big positive for me to see the level of effort and resources that all of you have collectively put into Singapore’s fledgling casino industry, from before the casino openings to the opening period itself to where we are now. I would like to commend all industry representatives here today, who have worked hard to understand and address CRA’s regulatory concerns, while we on our part aimed to put in place a regulatory regime that is pragmatic without compromising gaming integrity.
14. On this note, I would like to emphasise that the CRA believes that such open dialogue and common understanding between the regulator and the various industry players is a key ingredient in creating a well-regulated and successful casino industry, so we will continue to calibrate and enhance our regulatory regime with feedback from the industry and the operators. This Forum is but one such engagement forum and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the industry to make Singapore’s casino industry one that is progressive, and relevant, and brings us to where we want to be, which is to be the referenced regulator.
15. With that, let me thank you all once again for working closely with us in this most interesting journey. New chapters have been written, and we are now looking at the further chapters that lie ahead. I thank several of you who have actually flown in from afar, from Las Vegas to Sydney. I wish you all a fruitful and successful Forum.
16. Thank you.