The Technical Services Bureau (TSB) ensures the integrity of electronic gaming equipment used in New Jersey. The Bureau consists of an Engineering Unit, Field Inspections Unit, Investigations Unit, and Technical Support Unit. These units work together to ensure gaming products are fair and that they are operated in compliance with regulations.
A major priority for the TSB is the review, approval, and inspection of slot machines. Last year Atlantic City casinos generated over $3.5 billion in revenue, of which approximately 70% came from slot machines. In order to ensure the integrity of these games and the revenue that they generate, every slot machine must be approved by our slot lab and then must undergo an inspection on the casino floor prior to its use.
The TSB’s Engineering Unit administers the Slot Laboratory. The Slot Laboratory is responsible for testing and approving all slot machines and electronic gaming products. Over the past five years, their workload has not only increased in volume but also in the level of technical complexity. To meet demand, the Engineering Unit employs highly skilled engineers, statisticians, and computer scientists that have a thorough understanding of electronics, math, and programming, and can quickly adapt to changing technology. Electronic table games, multiplayer systems, and electronic promotion systems are examples of products which have been recently approved.
The TSB’s Field Inspection Unit is responsible for regulating the casino industry’s approximately 28,000 slot machines. The Inspections Unit employs specialists that inspect slot machines prior to their use. The inspection process ensures every game is configured properly and that it contains software that has been tested and approved by our lab. Specialists are also responsible for sealing critical slot machine programs, verifying all jackpots in excess of $75,000, and tracking the locations of all slot machines within the State of New Jersey.
The TSB frequently meets with industry representatives to understand current and emerging issues and to anticipate the need for new regulations. Emerging products which will require regulation changes include server based gaming and account based wagering systems. Server based gaming systems allow casinos to download slot machine software to the casino floor. Account based wagering systems allow players to download and upload gaming credits that are placed in an account. These products have not yet been submitted to New Jersey due to technology limitations and the need for new regulations which are currently being developed.
The TSB also conducts regulatory investigations and assists other bureaus within and outside of the Division. During the past year the TSB has provided technical advice, testimony, and investigative support to the State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, Division of Elections, and the FBI.
The TSB is extremely important to the overall mission of the DGE. With slot machines accounting for 70% of gross revenue, and the industry’s ever increasing reliance on electronic gaming equipment, it is imperative that the Division maintain skilled employees that understand these products and that can identify potential threats to their integrity.