Edited press release
RCI Integrity Services, the not-for-profit subsidiary of Racing Commissioners International, announced Aug. 16 that it has formed an alliance with the largest independent testing lab for gambling systems--Gaming Laboratories International--to provide independent security testing for pari-mutuel wagering systems hosting or wagering into domestic American pools.
RCI president Ed Martin said the alliance offers independent testing of pari-mutuel wagering systems to certify they are secure and operating as required. In addition, RCIIS and GLI will fill a void that exists in assessing and testing the security of systems used by secondary pari-mutuel organizations as part of a due diligence examination.
"GLI has extensive experience in electronic wagering systems, which is what a pari-mutuel system is, and they have had pari-mutuel experience, though not in the United States," noted Martin, referring to the past work GLI's South African offices have done with the Hong Kong Jockey Club's systems.
"Racing has never been held to the integrity standard other forms of gambling have been held to, and it has paid a hefty price in terms of horrible publicity and suppressed growth as a result," Martin continued. "We believe we can help the industry minimize its vulnerability to fraud by those who would compromise the wagering system and satisfy the needs of the wagering public, horsemen, regulators, and track operators."
"We are excited about working with RCIIS, state regulators, and the racing industry to specifically identify weaknesses in the pari-mutuel system and recommend ways to address them," said GLI president and co-founder James Maida. "GLI is uniquely qualified to handle this challenge and we look forward to working with RCI member jurisdictions in this endeavor."
RCIIS and GLI will be positioned to develop technical security standards to ensure that systems operated by racetracks, simulcast partners, tote companies, or communication providers no longer become an entry point for unauthorized access to domestic wagering pools.
"As far as I know, (GLI) has mainly dealt with mechanical devices in the gambling business," said Chris Scherf, executive director of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. "Certainly, when you're going to vouch for the integrity of the wagering, you have to vouch for the technology as well, so I think (the alliance) would be a benefit to the industry. I don't know of anybody better or worse (than GLI), but it's certainly a niche that need to be filled."
"Rather than fight the problem after it happens, would it not be better to prevent it from happening in the first place?" Martin questioned, noting that GLI system testing when coupled with the ongoing, independent, and automated monitoring of wagering systems can give the public, horsemen, regulators, and other stakeholders needed assurances that every effort has been made to safeguard the racing product, domestic pools, and the integrity of the wagers of individual racing fans.
"The level of technical due diligence and testing being done now to safeguard our pools is limited and sporadic at best," Martin continued. "Annual participants at industry simulcast conferences have complained for years about unauthorized access and the pirating of signals and data streams. The RCIIS alliance with GLI means we can help specifically identify weaknesses and recommend ways to protect the racing product and domestic pools," he said.
Martin indicated the end product of the racing industry's efforts to develop a new transaction based wagering protocol will need to be independently tested before being implemented.
"While I believe there is considerable merit to the effort that has been underway, the product has been a long time in coming and will need to be independently tested prior to implementation," he said. "This is why our alliance with GLI is so important to the racing industry right now."
GLI testing will be the second wagering security product to be offered by RCIIS. Wagering system testing will be offered as a stand alone product or in combination with the independent computerized wagering monitoring system being developed for RCIIS by ESI and Aprecia, which is on track to be launched this year.