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Lifting the Lid: Game On and Game Fair
An exclusive look at how CRA’s Gaming Technology Division ensures honest gaming in casinos.

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Hoon Thien Rong of CRA inspecting an EGM. PHOTOS: Fatimah Mujibah

True or false – You can predict when a spin on an Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) will hit the jackpot. 

The answer? 

“No, you can’t,” says Hoon Thien Rong, a Senior Manager with the Casino Regulatory Authority’s (CRA) Gaming Technology Division. “The game outcomes for EGMs are determined by Random Number Generators, which are designed to randomise game results.” 

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CRA conducts evaluations of EGMs and gaming equipment before and after they are deployed at Singapore’s casinos.

An In-depth Knowledge of Gaming Technology
CRA was established in 2008 to regulate Singapore’s casino industry, and one of its key objects is to ensure that gaming is conducted honestly within casinos. This is done, in part, through the inspection and approval of EGMs by CRA’s Gaming Technology Division.

Thien Rong and his fellow officers are drawn from diverse fields such as Statistics, Engineering and Information Technology. “It’s definitely helpful to have a passion for numbers as a lot of our work involves mathematical calculations, as well as a keen interest in learning about new technologies,” shares Thien Rong, who previously served with the Ministry of Finance.
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To stay ahead of the game, it’s important for Thien Rong and his fellow officers to constantly update themselves on new developments in the fast-evolving casino industry.

To stay abreast of developments in gaming technology, CRA officers also attend courses and conferences in jurisdictions with established casino industries, such as Las Vegas and Macau. “This helps us to better understand emerging trends and technologies, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, and how they would impact our role as a regulator,” says Thien Rong. 

A Rigorous and Multi-pronged Approach to Regulating EGMs
CRA receives about 120 applications a year from Singapore’s casino operators to deploy new EGMs. But before EGMs can be introduced on the casino floor, they must first meet CRA’s stringent requirements. 

This multi-pronged regulatory approach starts even before the EGMs are manufactured. Any company that seeks to manufacture or supply EGMs to Singapore’s casinos must first be approved by CRA. The EGMs are then sent to test laboratories to ensure that they comply with CRA’s technical standards. CRA also conducts its own checks before allowing EGMs to be deployed.
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Putting an EGM through its paces to ascertain that it meets CRA’s rigorous standards.

The checks don’t end after the EGMs have been deployed. CRA also inspects the casinos regularly to ensure that the EGMs comply with regulatory requirements and haven’t been tampered with. “We keep the casino operators on their toes by conducting random checks on the EGMs,” says Thien Rong. “Any discrepancies will be subject to further investigation.” 

Besides evaluating EGMs, Thien Rong and his colleagues also evaluate gaming equipment such as dice tumblers and electronic card shoes to ensure that they meet CRA’s stringent requirements. “I enjoy the work that I do here in the Gaming Technology Division,” he shares. “It’s meaningful to be able to safeguard Singapore’s reputation as a city where casinos conduct their operations honestly.”
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 16 March 2020
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