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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 11. Gaming
Agency 5. Virginia Lottery Board
Chapter 90. Casino Gaming
2/21/2024

11VAC5-90-160. Mechanical casino games.

A. A facility operator may offer a mechanical casino game pursuant to this subsection.

B. Testing, certification, and approval of a mechanical casino game and equipment.

1. A manufacturer may not offer a mechanical casino game for sale, lease, distribution, or use in a facility, or a modification to a department-approved version of such a game, without it having been:

a. Tested and certified by an independent certified testing laboratory; and

b. Approved in writing by the department.

2. A facility operator may not purchase, lease, develop, or otherwise acquire the right to install, utilize, or make available for use a mechanical casino game, or a modification to a department-approved version of such a game or equipment, without it having been:

a. Tested and certified by an independent certified testing laboratory; and

b. Approved in writing by the department.

3. A facility operator may not modify, alter, or tamper with a mechanical casino game.

4. Modification, alteration, or tampering with a mechanical casino game may result in the immediate suspension of an operation license by the department.

5. A prototype of a mechanical casino game or equipment required to be tested, certified, and approved under this subsection, or a modification to a department-approved version of such a game, shall at a minimum be tested for:

a. Overall operational integrity; and

b. Conformance with the casino gaming law, this chapter, and any other law, regulation, or condition of the department related to casino gaming.

6. Procedures for submission, testing, certification, and approval of mechanical casino games and equipment shall:

a. Vary depending on the type of game; and

b. Be determined by the director.

7. Until such time as the department determines it has assembled a list of approved mechanical casino games and equipment sufficient to meet the needs of facility operators under the casino gaming law, notwithstanding the requirements of subsection C of this section, the department may permit an abbreviated testing and approval process in accordance with the requirements of subsection D of this section.

8. A manufacturer shall pay all costs of testing, certification, and approval under this section including all costs associated with:

a. Transportation;

b. Equipment and technical services required by an independent certified testing laboratory to conduct the testing and certification process; and

c. Implementation testing.

C. Submission of a mechanical casino game and equipment for testing and certification.

1. A manufacturer seeking department approval for a mechanical casino game shall submit the machine to an independent certified testing laboratory.

2. The submission required by subdivision 1 of this subsection shall include the following:

a. A request for testing and certification under subdivision B 6 of this section;

b. A prototype of the mechanical casino game identical in all respects to that for which department approval is sought;

c. Technical and operator manuals;

d. A description of the mechanical casino game, including:

(1) Diagrams, schematics, and specifications; and

(2) Documentation with regard to the manner in which the mechanical casino game and equipment was tested and emulated by the manufacturer prior to submission;

e. Where applicable, a copy, on electronically readable media, of all:

(1) Executable software, including data and graphics information;

(2) Source code for programs that have no commercial use other than as a component of a mechanical casino game; and

(3) Graphical images displayed on a mechanical casino game, including if applicable:

(a) Reel strips or card images;

(b) Rules and instructions; and

(c) Pay tables;

f. A mathematical explanation of the average and theoretical return to the player, listing all:

(1) Assumptions; and

(2) Steps in the formula including the treatment of bonus pays;

g. A description of the security methodologies incorporated into the design of a mechanical casino game;

h. A description accompanied by supporting test results of the random number generator or generators used to determine the results of a wager, including a detailed explanation of:

(1) Operational methodology; and

(2) Where applicable, the manner by which the random number generator, including the random number selection process, is impervious to:

(a) Outside influences;

(b) Interference from electro-magnetic, electrostatic, and radio frequencies; and

(c) Influence from ancillary equipment by means of data communications;

i. If a mechanical casino game requires or permits player skill in the theoretical derivations of the payout return, the source of strategy;

j. Proof that a mechanical casino game has been inspected and approved for customer safety by a reputable testing laboratory;

k. If applicable, a description of any interoperability testing conducted by the manufacturer, including test results identified by manufacturer, model and software identification, and version number, for the submitted mechanical casino game's connection to any of the following:

(1) Mechanical casino game data system;

(2) Casino management system;

(3) Gaming ticket system;

(4) Promotional play system;

(5) Player tracking system;

(6) Ticket redemption unit;

(7) Automated jackpot payout machine;

(8) External bonusing system;

(9) Cashless funds transfer system; and

(10) Progressive controller;

l. Specialized hardware, software, or testing equipment, inclusive of technical support and maintenance, requested by an independent certified testing laboratory including:

(1) An emulator for a specified microprocessor;

(2) Personal computers;

(3) Extender cables for CPU departments;

(4) Target reel strips; and

(5) Door defeats; and

m. If requested by the department or an independent certified testing laboratory, additional documentation pertaining to the mechanical casino game or equipment being tested.

3. A manufacturer seeking department approval for a modification to a department-approved version of a mechanical casino game, including a change in theme, shall submit the modification to an independent certified testing laboratory.

4. An independent certified testing laboratory selected by a manufacturer or the department to test a modification may, but need not be, the testing laboratory that performed the initial prototype testing.

5. The submission required by subdivision 3 of this subsection shall include the following:

a. A request for testing and certification under subdivision B 6 of this section;

b. The mechanical casino game proposed for modification;

c. A description of the proposed modification to the mechanical casino game, accompanied by applicable diagrams, schematics, and specifications;

d. If a change in theme is involved, a copy of the graphical images displayed on the mechanical casino game, including if applicable:

(1) Reel strips and card images;

(2) Rules and instructions; and

(3) Pay tables;

e. If a change in the manner in which the average payout percentage is achieved or a change in the theoretical return to the player is otherwise involved, a mathematical explanation of the return to the player listing all:

(1) Assumptions; and

(2) Steps in the formula including the treatment of bonus pays;

f. If the proposed modification requires or permits player skill in the theoretical derivations of the payout return, the source of strategy; and

g. If requested by the department or an independent certified testing laboratory:

(1) Any specialized hardware, software, or other equipment, inclusive of technical support and maintenance, required to conduct the testing and certification process; and

(2) Additional documentation pertaining to the testing of the proposed modification.

6. At the conclusion of testing of a prototype or modification to a mechanical casino game, an independent certified testing laboratory shall issue to the department a certification report in an:

a. Electronic form; and

b. Format acceptable to the department.

7. Upon receipt of a certification report from an independent certified testing laboratory, but prior to a decision to approve a prototype or modification to a mechanical casino game, the department may require a trial period, as follows:

a. A trial period shall be of a scope and duration the department deems appropriate to assess the operation of the mechanical casino game in a live gaming environment;

b. A trial period shall be subject to compliance by the manufacturer and the facility operator with specific terms and conditions required by the department, which may include:

(1) Development and implementation of product specific accounting and internal controls; and

(2) Periodic data reporting to the department;

c. The department may authorize the receipt of compensation by a manufacturer during a trial period; and

d. The department may order termination of the trial period at any time upon a determination by the department that:

(1) A manufacturer or facility operator has not complied with the terms and conditions required by the department; or

(2) The mechanical casino game is not performing as expected.

8. Upon receipt of a certification report from an independent certified testing laboratory, the department may:

a. Approve the prototype or modification, with or without specific conditions;

b. Reject the prototype or modification;

c. Require additional testing; or

d. Require a trial period under subdivision C 7.

9. Department approval of a prototype or modification of a mechanical casino game does not constitute a guarantee of its safety or reliability.

D. Abbreviated testing and certification.

1. A manufacturer may, during the period specified in subdivision B 7 of this section, seek department approval of a prototype or proposed modification under an abbreviated testing and certification process for a mechanical casino game required to be tested and certified under subdivision B 5 of this section.

2. A manufacturer shall submit the mechanical casino game to an independent certified testing laboratory.

3. The submission required by subdivision 2 of this subsection shall include the following:

a. A request for abbreviated testing and certification under this subsection naming the state within the United States on whose regulations and technical standards the manufacturer proposes the department rely;

b. A prototype of the mechanical casino game identical in all respects to that for which department approval is sought;

c. A certification signed by the chief engineer of the manufacturer, or the engineer in charge of the division of the manufacturer responsible for producing the equipment or system submitted, representing that:

(1) The prototype or proposed modification is identical in all respects to one that has been tested and certified by:

(a) A testing laboratory operated by the named state; or

(b) An independent certified testing laboratory on behalf of the named state;

(2) The manufacturer is licensed in good standing in the named state;

(3) The submitted mechanical casino game has all regulatory approvals prerequisite to sale, lease, or distribution in the named state;

(4) The testing standards of the named state are comprehensive and thorough and involve substantially similar technical requirements and safeguards as those required by the casino gaming law, this chapter, and any other law, regulation, or condition of the department related to casino gaming; and

(5) The manufacturer has fully disclosed any conditions or limitations placed by the named state on the operation or placement of the mechanical casino game:

(a) At the time of approval; or

(b) Subsequent to approval;

d. Copies of the submission package, and any amendments thereto, filed in the named state, including any:

(1) Checklists;

(2) Correspondence, review letters, or certification letters issued by:

(a) The testing laboratory operated by the named state; or

(b) An independent certified testing laboratory on behalf of the named state; and

(3) Final approval letter issued by the named state;

e. If applicable, a description of any interoperability testing conducted by the manufacturer, including test results identified by manufacturer, model and software identification, and version number, for the submitted mechanical casino game's connection to a:

(1) Separate mechanical casino game;

(2) Mechanical casino game or mechanical casino game data system;

(3) Casino management system;

(4) Gaming ticket system;

(5) Promotional play system;

(6) Player tracking system;

(7) Ticket redemption unit;

(8) Automated jackpot payout machine;

(9) External bonusing system;

(10) Cashless funds transfer system; and

(11) Progressive controller;

4. At the conclusion of testing of a prototype or modification, an independent certified testing laboratory conducting abbreviated testing and certification shall issue to the department a certification report in an:

a. Electronic form; and

b. Format acceptable to the department.

5. The certification report issued under subdivision 4 of this subsection shall state:

a. Whether the independent certified testing laboratory concurs with the manufacturer that the testing standards of the named state are comprehensive, thorough and involve substantially similar technical requirements and safeguards as those required by the casino gaming law, this chapter, and any other law, regulation, or condition of the department related to casino gaming;

b. Whether the documentation required by subdivision 3 c of this subsection is complete;

c. With respect to any deficiency noted relating to subdivision 5 a or 5 b of this subsection, the nature of the noncompliance; and

d. The results of any supplemental testing performed.

6. Upon receipt of a certification report from an independent certified testing laboratory, the department may act with regard to:

a. Acceptance of the testing standards of the named state; and

b. The specific mechanical casino game by:

(1) Approving the prototype or modification, with or without specific conditions;

(2) Rejecting the prototype or modification;

(3) Requiring additional testing; or

(4) Requiring a trial period under this chapter.

7. Department approval of a prototype or proposed modification does not constitute a guarantee of its safety or reliability.

E. Emergency modification of mechanical casino game.

1. Notwithstanding the requirements of subsections C and D of this section, the department may, on submission of a written request by a manufacturer, authorize installation of a modification to equipment, a system, or software required to be tested, certified, and approved by the department under subdivision B 5 of this section, on an emergency basis.

2. A written request submitted by a manufacturer to the department shall document the:

a. Equipment proposed for emergency modification, including:

(1) Software identification number; and

(2) Version number;

b. Facility;

c. Reason for the emergency modification; and

d. Proposed date and time of installation.

3. A manufacturer may not install an emergency modification without the written approval of the department.

4. No more than 15 days following receipt of department authorization on an emergency modification, a manufacturer shall submit a modification identical to that receiving emergency authorization for testing, certification, and approval under this chapter.

F. Notice of known or suspected defect.

1. A manufacturer shall immediately notify the department of any known or suspected defect or malfunction in a mechanical casino game required to be tested, certified, and approved by the department under subdivision B 5 of this section.

2. A manufacturer shall:

a. Confirm in writing any notice given to the department verbally pursuant to subdivision 1 of this subsection; and

b. If required by the department, notify a facility operator of any known or suspected defect or malfunction in the mechanical casino game installed in its facility.

3. A facility operator shall immediately notify the department of any known or suspected defect or malfunction in a mechanical casino game required to be tested, certified, and approved by the department under subdivision B 5 of this section.

4. A facility operator shall confirm in writing any notice given to the department verbally pursuant to subdivision 3 of this subsection.

G. Revocation.

1. The department may, at any time, revoke an approval granted to a mechanical casino game or equipment under this subsection on a determination by the department that the mechanical casino game or equipment does not comply with:

a. The casino gaming law, this chapter, or any other law, regulation, or condition of the department related to casino gaming; or

b. Any other requirement established by the department.

2. The department may at any time impose additional conditions on the operation or placement of department-approved equipment, systems, or software.

3. A revocation by the department of an approval under subdivision 1 of this subsection does not give rise to an appeal right.

H. Minimum and maximum bet.

1. A mechanical casino game may accept a minimum bet on a single game event as low as one cent.

2. A mechanical casino game may not accept a maximum bet on a single game event in excess of $50 without the written approval of the department.

I. Rules of play.

1. In this subsection the following term has the meaning indicated.

"Strategy choice" means a particular play option on a mechanical casino game that requires the use of skill to consistently achieve the best result.

2. A mechanical casino game shall be equipped to display to a player while idle the:

a. Schedule of credits awarded with each winning combination;

b. Applicable rules of play; and

c. Any maximum bet limit imposed under this chapter.

3. The department may prohibit the display of any rules of play it determines to be:

a. Incomplete;

b. Confusing;

c. Misleading; or

d. Inconsistent with the rules of play required by the department.

4. For rules of play, the schedule of credits awarded with each winning combination may not include possible aggregate awards achievable from free plays.

5. A mechanical casino game that includes a strategy choice shall include in its rules of play mathematically sufficient information for a player to use optimal skill unless the player:

a. Is not required to make an additional wager; and

b. Cannot lose any credits earned prior to the strategy choice.

6. A manufacturer or facility operator may not attach a sticker or other removable device that concerns rules of play to the face, glass, or screen of a mechanical casino game without the prior written approval of the department.

J. Manufacturer storage of mechanical casino games and equipment outside a facility.

1. A manufacturer may not utilize a location outside of a facility to store or repair a mechanical casino game or equipment, or related parts and inventory for use in a facility without the storage facility being:

a. Inspected by the department; and

b. Approved in writing by the department.

2. A manufacturer shall locate a storage facility in Virginia in locations that reasonably permit the delivery of the support and technical services to which the manufacturer is obligated.

3. A manufacturer shall submit to the department a written request to utilize a storage facility under this subsection that includes, at a minimum:

a. The address;

b. A physical description of the storage facility;

c. Specifications for the surveillance system that has been or will be installed at the proposed storage facility including:

(1) If digital:

(a) Recording frames per second; and

(b) Common image rate; and

(2) Proposed recording retention schedule; and

d. Security procedures for the storage facility.

Statutory Authority

§§ 58.1-4101 and 58.1-4102 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 16, 2022.

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