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April 2015

Items In This Month's News Digest

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Florida Bill Would Clarify Redemption Rules

A bill making its way through the Florida state senate would address many of the problems raised two years ago when lawmakers in the Sunshine State severely curtailed redemption game operation. That move by the state came in response to a video sweepstakes scandal, but the legislative fix created a number of unintended problems for amusement redemption.

The new proposal, SB 268, would create a new definition for both ticket redemption and merchandise machines and provide legal authorization for where those machines can be operated.

The bill defines “amusement game or machine” as one “operated only for the bona fide entertainment of the general public which a person activates by inserting or using currency or a coin, card, coupon, slug, token, or similar device, and, by the application of skill, with no material element of chance inherent in the game or machine, the person playing or operating the game or machine controls the outcome of the game.”

This definition addresses one of the problems in the previous law, which restricted authorized amusement machines to coin activation.

The proposed law goes on to spell out what it means by the phrase “material element of chance” by providing a list of scenarios that would include such an element.

The bill also divides authorized machines into two categories, Type 1 and 2. Type 1 machines include amusement games that allow for replays (limited to 15 with no ability to exchange those replays for anything of value and a prohibition on knock-off switches) and traditional redemption games. In the latter category, prizes are limited to merchandise with a prize value cap of $5.25 per play. The bill goes on to say: “a player may accumulate coupons or points to redeem for merchandise” so long as the value of the prize won does not exceed 100 times $5.25.

Type 2 machines are defined as “an amusement game or machine that allows the player to manipulate a claw or similar device within an enclosure and entitles or enables a person to receive merchandise directly from the game or machine, if the wholesale cost of the merchandise does not exceed 10 times the maximum value” of Type 1 machines (i.e. $52.50).

One unique aspect of the Florida bill is that it provides for an adjustment to the prize limits based on inflation, allowing those caps to increase over time.

A Type 1 amusement game or machine may be operated in the following locations: a timeshare facility, a public lodging establishment or public food service establishment, an arcade amusement center, a bowling center or a truck stop.

The bill, following existing Florida law, continues to define an “arcade amusement center” as a place of business having at least 50 amusement games or machines on premises which is operated as a bona fide amusement facility.

Type 2 machines may only be located in a timeshare facility, an arcade amusement center, a bowling center, the premises of a retailer, a public lodging establishment or a public food service establishment, a truck stop or a veteran service organization.

At press time, the bill had passed through a key senate committee, and been referred to the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee.

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SuzoHapp Acquires ScanCoin

SuzoHapp has completed the acquisition of Scan Coin, a leading provider of advanced cash handling technologies, software and services. Headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, Scan Coin offers customers in the retail, bank, cash center and public transportation markets, full-service solutions to optimize their cash handling through automated processing of coins and notes.

“The addition of Scan Coin truly represents a transformative milestone for SuzoHapp, adding world leading cash processing technology, extensive engineering and software development, and a global distribution and service network covering more than 100 countries,” said SuzoHapp Chairman James Brendel (pictured). “This represents SuzoHapp’s fourth acquisition of cash handling technologies over the last 15 months, significantly strengthening SuzoHapp’s cash handling capabilities, technology and market position.”

SuzoHapp explained that Scan Coin’s Intelligent Coin Processing (ICP) Products “are the industry standard for cash centers with the highest throughput per shift.” The company’s full line of Retail Cash Solutions (RCS) are fully automated with integrated software that provides till management and cash office processing, enabling retailers to achieve significant labor efficiencies and reduce shrinkage. This flexible and innovative solution portfolio has enabled Scan Coin to achieve the European market-leading position in retail back office, they added.

“Scan Coin is excited about the opportunity to become part of SuzoHapp’s growing company,” said Andreas Renulf, Scan Coin CEO. “Through our combined capabilities we will hasten product innovation bringing new features and solutions to customers at an accelerated rate.”

Financing for this acquisition was provided by Cerberus Business Finance, LLC and PNC Bank.

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D&B Places Orders for Coastal Games

Coastal Amusements reports that Dave & Buster’s has placed orders for three of the factory’s newest games: Yahtzee, Subway Surfers and Black Hole. Dave & Buster’s plans to roll out the games at all locations as part of their “Summer of Games” package, which includes a national TV spot and in-store promotion featuring the hottest new games this summer.

“We are extremely pleased to include these exciting new games from Coastal in this year’s Summer of Games,” said Kevin Bachus, Sr. VP of Entertainment & Game Strategy at Dave & Buster’s. “They are each a compelling addition to our Million-Dollar Midways and we can’t wait to see our guests’ reactions when they get the chance to play these games themselves.”

“Naturally, we are quite elated with Dave & Buster’s decision to include all three of our games in their summer roll out program. It’s an unprecedented event for Coastal,” exclaimed Lenny Dean, president of Coastal Amusements.

“We are excited at the opportunity and thank Kevin and everyone at Dave & Buster’s for their confidence, not only in our games, but in our ability to deliver on our promises,” agreed Sal Mirando, EVP of Coastal.

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Golden Tee LIVE Adds 6th Course To Prize Play

Incredible Technologies recently added a new way for players to compete for prizes on Golden Tee LIVE 2015 machines. Not only is Prize Play available on all five 2015 courses, but a sixth Classic Course has been added to the selection screen.

The Classic Course, which changes every Monday, draws upon the 45 older courses contained within Golden Tee LIVE. The changing variety gives seasoned players a taste of nostalgia, introduces newer players to Golden Tee’s rich history, and gives everyone more chances to compete and win.

The first Classic Course available to 50-man Prize Contests is the fan favorite, Bonnie Moor. More than $15,000 in prizes is estimated to be awarded through these contests in its first week.

“Adding variety to Golden Tee LIVE is a top priority,” said Don Pesceone, I.T.’s VP of Amusements. “Adding a sixth course will create more winners than ever, and having the course change each week will entice players back to their favorite locations to see what’s new.”

In addition to 50-Man Prize Play contests, players can also win money in the exciting new Daily Contest, a format that encourages repeat play for big prizes that pay down to 400th place each day. Other prize formats include Closest to the Pin and Hole-N-Win. Non-prize formats consist of Glory Play, Stats Play, Casual Play and the new, local-based King of the Hill.

“We have even more exciting game play options in the works for the 2016 update out this October,” concluded Pesceone. “An all-new user interface and easier check-in will make selecting these options easy and fun. Big things are just around the corner!”

For continuing news and events about Golden Tee LIVE, visit goldentee.com.

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Benchmark Vendors Score at Bulk Show

Benchmark’s new Beat the Monsters and Beat the Goalie, both kinetic bulk vendors, drew high praises from the bulk vendors in attendance at this spring’s NBVA Las Vegas trade show, the factory reports.

Both units are designed to dispense gumballs, jaw breakers or 27 mm bouncy balls. Play begins with a single ball dropping down on to a ramp. Gravity will keep the ball moving down the ramps, but there are seven guardians at each turn looking to kick the ball off the ramp. If that happens, the play is over and they win one prize. Should the ball make it past the seventh guardian, another ball will drop and the process begins all over again. Players are sure to win one prize but can win multiple prizes.

Initial testing proved the new vendor to be good enough for national operating company NEN (National Entertainment Network) to roll out more units. “Beat the Monsters outperformed some traditional nine head bulk racks by a good amount,” said Jeff Peveler of NEN. “We are going to give Beat the Goalie a try on the next round, just so that we have a variety of models.”

With very few moving parts and a compact footprint, Benchmark calls this brightly lit machine “a real eye catcher.”

“We are quite pleased with the reception that these machines have garnered at the trade show,” said Benchmark’s Rich Long. “This is a new market for Benchmark and one we feel will bring a lot of new business opportunities for distributors.”

Both vendors are backed by Benchmark’s one-year warranty. Beat the Goalie is also available in Spanish. Both are shipping now.

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AMI Aids Landmarks Project

AMI Entertainment recently partnered with the NYC Landmark50 Alliance to honor New York City landmarks on jukeboxes throughout the city. During April, AMI jukeboxes in the area featured a short video promoting the Alliances mission and highlighting many of the city’s prominent landmarks.

The NYC Landmark50 Alliance is comprised of individuals and organizations committed to informing and educating the public about historic preservation within the city. The goal of this project is to develop a new audience and a new generation of future preservationists to help protect the cityscape.

Operators were given the opportunity to view and/or opt out of the prom-bono campaign through the AMI operator site.

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VNEA Celebrates 35th Anniversary in Vegas

The Valley National 8-Ball League Association is celebrating its 35th Anniversary International Championships at Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas May 21-30.

This year’s event will again include the induction of five new members into the VNEA Hall of Fame, the selection of Tournament All-Star Teams, presentation to the group’s Meritorious Service Award recipient, the issuing of Lifetime VNEA Sanctions, the President’s Award, The World Team Competition and much, much more.

The VNEA offers a total of six divisions of competition, making it a league for players of every skill level. Organizers say that players in both team and singles events will have additional opportunities to play more pool, make more lasting memories and possibly even extra money.

With record numbers in players and prize money, organizers are looking forward to a fun-filled, competitive week. To learn more, log on to www.vnea.com.

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Arachnid Welcomes Record Numbers

The last two Arachnid BullShooter Qualifying Regionals took place in March in Georgia and Nebraska. It was the last two chances to qualify for the BullShooter Finals, and players attended in record numbers.

The Georgia Regional took place at the Holiday Inn in Atlanta, March 13-15. Betson Southeast, Brady Distributing and Legacy Coin co-sponsored the event. Everyone was very pleased to see so many players attending from the region.

The following week, a Qualifying Regional took place in Omaha on March 20-22. The event was co-sponsored by home town operator, NTS Dart-Tech, Greater America Dist. and Central Distributing. There is always a good turn-out in Nebraska, but this year set a new record for attendance.

Now that the Regional Tour has ended, everyone at Arachnid is gearing up for the BullShooter Finals to be held May 21-25 at Hyatt Regency O’Hare. This is the 30th anniversary of the BullShooter Finals and more money and events are being planned, plus parties on Saturday and Sunday night with two Galaxy 3 home games given away. Plus $100 will be given away every hour on Saturday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday. Winners’ names will be drawn from registration forms. The factory says that “many other fun and exciting events will take place to honor our 30th anniversary with over $130,000 in cash prizes, plus beautiful trophies.”

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Sacoa Sets New Systems

The initial months of 2015 have been extremely busy for Sacoa, with several installations of the Playcard System going on simultaneously in the U.S.

In January, Sacoa deployed the system in two Florida locations, AMF Davie Lanes and AMF Pembroke Pines Lanes, which offer traditional bowling lanes, sports bar area, pool tables and family-friendly arcade games. These latest additions bring the total of M&A Group-operated locations using Sacoa’s system to a dozen.

During the same month, Entertainment Properties Group, which also operates iTZ Pizza locations in the Southwest, opened their first Pinstack location in West Plano, Texas, using the PlayCard System to manage attractions and redemption throughout their brand-new, 50,000-sq.-ft flagship dining and entertainment complex. Besides Sacoa’s HDT ColorShot readers for their games and attractions, and Sacoa’s self service kiosks and POS Stations for sales, Pinstack also takes advantage of Sacoa’s latest online applications for CRM and party booking.

Later in January, Sacoa´s HDT ColorShot readers were installed in Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, in Sandusky, Ohio. The location features everything from arcade games to blacklight interactive mini golf, as well as an XD 3D Theater, a Skateworld where you can strap on your skates or blades, hop on a scooter or rent some wheels and hit the hardwood, and, of course, a haunted house that is open year-round. The location also uses Sacoa’s software to manage their redemption operation, the Playcard self-service kiosks and POS Stations for sales, and Sacoa’s latest online applications for CRM and party booking.

In February, Essex Family Fun & Entertainment Center (above) in Essex, Vermont, installed Sacoa’s EZ System and HDT ColorShot readers to manage the operation of their 18 holes of mini golf, driving range and batting cages with softball and baseball pitching machines.

Coming next before the quarter ends is the installation of 120 HDT ColorShot readers in Family Entertainment Group’s Camelback location, scheduled for mid-March.

For more information, visit www.sacoacard.com.

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Firestone Offers Financing on Star Wars: Battle Pod

Firestone Financial Corp. and Bandai Namco Games announced new financing offers for Star Wars: Battle Pod, the experiential game that transports players into heated battles in a galaxy far, far away. In iconic locations like the Death Star, players will be able to take control of some of the most memorable vehicles and moments in the Star Wars universe and pilot them to victory.

There are two options to choose for financing this timeless title; borrowers may finance it at 0% interest for 12 months or $220 per week for 3 years.

“Adults and children alike will enjoy fighting for the Rebel Alliance and we believe that this will earn well for our customers,” said Jim Hines, Firestone’s VP of Sales.

Interested parties can learn more online at www.firestonefinancial.com/bandai-namco_2015.htm.

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Weisberg to be Honored by AMOA-NY

Allen Weisberg, a second generation family business operator of New York music and amusements, will be the guest of honor for the Amusement And Music Owners Association of New York’s annual gala on May 4, 6-9 p.m. at Uncle Jack’s Steak­house in midtown Manhattan.

According to AMOA-NY President Ken Goldberg: “Our tribute to Allen Weisberg identifies how in recent years he has demonstrated remarkable entrepreneurial skill. Taking a tired, distressed asset in our industry (the photo booth) and re-creating it, re-branding it, rejuvenating it with new excitement, and fresh imagination, he made this product relevant and popular among operators throughout our nation and around the globe.”

Weisberg’s Apple Industries of Greenvale, N.Y. (manufacturers of Face Place photo booths), “has developed into one of the most encouraging success stories of our industry,” declared Danny Frank, AMOA-NY Executive Director.

Demonstrating his support of AMOA-NY, Weisberg is donating a Face Place photo booth to be raffled off during the gala. There will be a limitation of ten raffle tickets sold at $1,500 apiece. Each raffle ticket includes two tickets to the gala and a complimentary video journal ad.

In what is becoming a tradition, another recording artist will be chosen as AMOA-NY’s “Jukebox Artist of the Year” for 2015. Last year, AMOA-NY was privileged to honor a music icon, folk singer Judy Collins.

For ticket or journal information, contact AMOA-NY at 212/279-1041, email nyacdan@aol.com.

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Rorie Keller Retires

After 18 years with Sureshot Redemption, Rorie Keller has decided to cash in her tickets for the prize of photography and travel. Although she will still be involved with the company on a limited basis, Rorie officially retired at the end of March. She said she is looking forward to more time to spend with her husband, Bob Snyder of Bob Snyder and Associates, and pursuing her love of photography.

“Rorie has been instrumental in the growth and success of Sureshot and the Foland Group,” said Sureshot VP Mike Lynch.

She came to the company in 1997, when it was located in San Jose, and stayed when it moved to its current home in Ontario, Calif. In her role as national sales manager, the company says Rorie has been involved with most major redemption operations in the country, adding that her extensive knowledge about the ins and outs of the redemption business have made her an industry expert.

Throughout her career, Rorie has given seminars, assisted with new location setup, provided design consultation and help set up merchandise and ordering guidelines. She was also a familiar face for the company at its many trade show booths.

“Rorie Keller has been with Sureshot since the beginning and wrote the first redemption order in 1997,” the company said in announcing her retirement. “She has helped to establish Sureshot Redemption as a leading supplier in our industry.”

“Rorie is a member of our family and her contributions to the company are immeasurable,” concluded Dennis Foland, owner of The Foland Group, parent company of Sureshot Redemp­tion.

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Indiana Operators Honor Barb Marroni-Pierson

The Indiana Amusement and Music Operators Assn. (IAMOA) recognized Barb Marroni-Pierson of Marroni Inc. in South Bend, as the newest recipient of the Wayne Cunningham Award during its annual members meeting on March 26.

Named for Wayne Cunningham, who helped build up the association’s tournament program, the award is given to those who have made a significant contribution to IAMOA and the association’s pool and dart tournaments.

A member since 1988, Marroni-Pierson has years of experience in the coin-op industry, and serves on the association’s board. Since the award’s inception in 1998, there have been 16 members recognized for their achievements. Past recipients include: Shawn Smith, Jerry Wilson, Mike Smythe, Don Ernst, Rick Coop, Mike Gibbel, Vicki Shaw, Tim Louden, Leslie Murphy, Susie Pierce, Ed Dencer Bill Smythe, Myra Glover, Conrad Storz, Skip Morrison and John Parlipiano.

IAMOA’s members represent approximately 34 companies throughout Indiana. For more information, visit IAMOA.org.

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Indiana Group Elects Officers, Plans Push for Video Gaming Legislation

The Indiana Amusement and Music Operators Assn. (IAMOA) recently welcomed new officers and directors to the board of directors for 2015 at its annual meeting in late March.

Officers elected include Jerry Wilson, P.J.’s Enter­tain­ment & Video, as president; Tim Dwyer, Shaffer Distrib­uting, as vice president; and Bret Almashie, Advanced Consumer Electronics, as secretary/treasurer. Jeremy Hein, Amusement Games, joins the board as a director.

Mike Gibbel of Shaffer Entertainment, the group’s outgoing president, was thanked for many years of service and significant contribution to the stability of the association. He was elected director for a three-year term.

The board said the group plans to work closely with Bill Smythe, IAMOA’s lobbyist. Smythe, a former board member and president of the IAMOA, brings 20 years of experience in the restaurant, bar and gaming industries to his lobbying efforts.

The primary focus of these efforts will be forwarding the bill for video gaming terminals (VGT). This bill, presented in partnership with the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association, would legalize VGTs in Indiana leading to an economic increase through revenues and taxes.

Smythe encouraged everyone in the coin-op industry to get behind the movement for this legislation by spreading the word and contacting local legislators to voice their opinion. More information about IAMOA’s lobbying efforts on this issue can be found at www.Facebook.com/VGTIN.

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San Diego Venue Wins Raise Your Bar Contest

TouchTunes announced that Rosie O’Grady’s in San Diego was the winner of Jon Taffer’s “Raise Your Bar” Sweep­stakes at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas. The promotion was presented by Nightclub & Bar Media Group and let bar owners, managers and staff enter their location on a TouchTunes jukebox or online for the chance to win $30,000 worth of products and services for their establishment. Patrons were also able to enter the sweepstakes on behalf of their favorite bar.

TouchTunes will also be upgrading Rosie O’Grady’s current Virtuo jukebox to their latest OpenStage 2 platform. Rosie O’Grady’s new products and upgrades will be completed this spring. Jason Perkins, Manager at Rosie O’Grady’s, also received a free VIP pass to the 2015 Nightclub & Bar Show with all his expenses paid.

“I’m so thrilled to help connect Jason to these outstanding sponsors. It makes me proud to be part of an industry that can come together and make a big difference in someone’s life,” said Jon Taffer, President of Nightclub & Bar Media Group and host and executive producer of Spike/Bar Rescue.

Jason commented, “Winning the ‘Raise Your Bar Sweepstakes’ has been an amazing experience for all of us at Rosie O’Grady’s. What a wonderful opportunity for a successful bar to take it to the next level in providing an even greater experience for their patrons. This is awesome, thank you, Jon Taffer and all the sponsors.”

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Intercard Installs at C.J. Barrymore’s

Intercard recently completed Phase I of a two-phase project for C.J. Barrymore’s Entertainment, the 25-acre FEC located in the Detroit region’s Clinton Township, Mich.

Phase I included the installation of swipe readers, automated kiosks, redemption software and a POS system for the location’s 150-game arcade area. Phase II of the project, scheduled for the fall of 2015, will include similar upgrades and integrations for all of the business’ outside attractions.

C.J. Barrymore’s database is hosted in the cloud, so there are no servers on site. Intercard will cover all 25 acres using state-of-the-art Cisco WiFi technology.

“Since the install, we have seen a sales increase of about 20%, which we are obviously thrilled about,” said David Dalpizzol, the FEC’s general manager “But we are also eyeing the upcoming cost saving from no longer having to buy tokens and redemption tickets. We feel we have a shot to get this system paid back in the first year with the increase in sales and cost savings,” he added.

Intercard’s North American Sales Mana­ger, Jason Mitchell, who was involved in the project from the beginning, said that Dalpizzol’s team did extensive research before selecting Intercard for the projects. “C.J. Barrymore’s is a model facility, recognized by many as a leader in the category. We’re very pleased to have been selected by them,” he advised. (The FEC is owned by Rick Iceberg, one of the famous Three Amigos.)

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Raw Thrills Announces New Game Warden Program

The Raw Thrills exhibit at Amusement Expo was not only filled with players, but also the inaugural class of Official Big Buck Hunter Game Wardens.

“Our passionately loyal Game Wardens represented the Big Buck franchise with pride,” the factory noted. “Operators had the chance to link up with our biggest and best Big Buck HD players to learn more about the game, the 2015 updates, and the new Game Warden Program.”

Over the course of this year, leading up to the 2015 Big Buck World Championship, the Game Wardens will work with the player community to directly connect, interact, and immerse hunters in the world of Big Buck. The Game Warden program is the first step to expand the Big Buck community, provide Big Buck Hunters more opportunities with the game they love, and increase participation in all things Big Buck HD.

“With so many new updates on the horizon, Raw Thrills is continually dedicated to creating excitement for all of our loyal gamers and are looking forward to a big 2015,” the factory concluded.

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C2C Offers Monkey Bizz-Ness Promo

Coast to Coast announced a new promotional offer on their Monkey Bizz-Ness: Purchase five and get a sixth one at 50% off the price or purchase a family of 10 Monkey Bizz-Ness machines and get an 11th unit for free.

“Operators have been very pleased with our Monkey Bizz-Ness,” stated John Maurer. “Many have coupled this game with our Side Box to see revenues in the $500-per-week range.”

With a small footprint of 24” square and 62” tall, Coast to Coast says operators can place this game in a wide range of locations. They can also choose any price per vend based on the cost of prizes.

“We are offering a $650 savings on a package of five games or a $1,295 savings on the purchase of 10 units,” said Gary Balaban. “As operators ourselves, we wanted to offer a deal that makes sense and saves our customers money. Monkey Bizz-Ness has mass appeal and at this low cost, the game is a no-brainer for any location.”

To learn more, log on to www.cranemachines.com.

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Apple Industries Reports Strong Expo Outing

Apple/Face Place Photo is giving Amusement Expo the thumbs up. Company CEO Allen Weisberg said he was especially pleased by the feedback he heard from both customers and distributors about how Face Place photo booths are now getting significant traction with street operators. He added that they are finally realizing that photo booths are becoming a “must-have” piece of equipment for their routes.

“After all this work,” Weisberg said, “ it’s truly gratifying that operators don’t have to be sold on a Face Place photo booth, they are asking for the product.”

Apple’s Sales Director Mel LaForce pointed out that the Scene Machine with its green screen capability is becoming one of their leading photo booths in fun center venues. “With great distributor support,” LaForce explained, “the Scene Machine is finding its way into the design plans of all the new FECs being developed. It’s become a staple in the industry.”

To learn more, log on to www.faceplacephoto.com.

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BSR Shipping Gear It Up

Bob’s Space Racers has un­veiled its latest redemption game, Gear It Up, which is available in a single unit or operators can stack two games back to back. Game play is easy to understand, says the factory, and there are multiple difficulty levels and a bonus wheel with progressive ticket payout.

“Bob’s has created a uniquely designed product that works in all types of environments,” said its sales exec Ron Malinow­ski. “Company president Jack Cook and our R&D team have delivered a product that works in FECs, movie theaters, bowling centers and mom-and-pop amusement locations.

“We’ve developed numerous game settings and player options making the game suitable for the high roller and national venues down to value-centric family sites,”
Malinowski continued. “The unit has been approved in most jurisdictions and deemed as a total or pure game of skill.”

The game is currently shipping. To learn more, log on to www.bobspaceracers.com.

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Texas Air Hockey Tourney Report

The Texas State Air Hockey Championships were held March 12-15 at Skybox Grill Bar & Games in Houston. The event was sponsored by Gold Standard Games, Xtreme Airhockey and Skybox. Fifty-two players competed in the main event with more entries in specialty events such as doubles, Press your Luck and a handicapped tournament.

Winning the tournament was Colin “The Prodigy” Cummings of Houston. At just short of 16 years of age, Colin becomes the youngest player –– by three years –– to ever win a USAA-sanctioned major tournament. Second place went to former Texas champ Anthony Marino, followed by Brian Accrocco and Pete Lippincott. Fifth place went to another teenager, Avery Yebernetsky, a former USAA Junior champion. Media coverage of the event included a TV segment on Houston Channel 39’s NewsFix.

For more info on air hockey promotions, go to goldstandardairhockey.com or gold-standard-games.com.

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Laser Tag Convention Hosts Top Industry Professionals

The 2015 Laser Tag Convention, co-located with Amusement Expo in Las Vegas, hosted 14 guest speakers as part of its day of seminars preceding the trade show. These included well-known tradesters such as Jerry Merola (pictured at right), Peter Starkel, Sheryl Bindelglass, Randy White, George McAuliffe and Phil Showler.

The educational sessions also saw a number of operators and suppliers come together to share their secrets of success and continued growth. Kevin and Bronwyn Caster (Laser­force operators); Rhonda and Paul Mikologic (Zone Laser Tag operators); Sean Evans (Q-Zar operator); Paul Clark (Lasertron operator); Jeff Swanlund (Laserforce operator); and Sandy and Wayne Pettito (Laser Blast operators) all shared wisdom and experience to help the approximately 100 attendees avoid operational and developmental mistakes and to get greater bang for the marketing dollar.

The two breakout presentations were from Lathan Gariess of ARC Laser Tag Arenas, who had a lot of people buzzing with his ideas about “Beyond Theming,” and Jason Bock, who gave a seminar
about birthday parties.
Other events included the Laser Tag Industry Round­table, which carried over into the industry reception. Atten­dees who were able to ask questions to various industry ex­perts, such as Mike Ewald of Laser Blast; Ric Maylott of Northeast Insurance; Lathan Gariess of ARC Laser Tag Arenas; and Armando Lanuti of Party Center Software.

The trade show hosted an impressive display of exhibitors that had appeal to bowling centers, skating rinks, family entertainment centers, stand-alone laser tag facilities, and operators looking to upgrade or enhance their facilities with new attractions and equipment.

Showcasing their collaborative effort, the Laser Tag Museum had artifacts on display (see photo above) representing each of the manufacturers who were supporting the convention. Numerous visitors to the Museum booth stopped by to see the old artifacts and recall past experiences.

The Laser Tag Museum has already opened dialogue with a number of industry suppliers and manufacturers to gather input for next year’s show. The event hosted more than 100 attendees who traveled from the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Serbia, Georgia and Trinidad.

For more information, visit www.lasertagconvention.com.

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Embed Announces Installations

Debit card supplier Embed recently announced two new international installations of its technology in the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

The first of these two recent installations took place at the new Fun Works FEC in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, UAE. This is the 32nd store where owners Landmark Group have chosen Embed as their revenue management solution provider.

The Embed Middle East team worked closely with Landmark to find the best way to operate this unique store. In addition to providing cashless admission to large-scale rides and attractions, Embed invented a solution to manage the workshops in the My Works section, where the Fun Works team can use Embed Mobile POS (emPOS) to control access to each workshop.

In addition, emPOS will be used to reward the guests based on their performance in each workshop. Fun Works will be the first store to use Embed Real Time Attendance and Guest Check solutions. Real Time Attendance allows the Fun Works team to tell how many guests are inside the workshop and soft play areas at any time. Guest Check is a new solution by Embed to manage the soft play areas, ensuring that children are with their parents when leaving those sections.

Fun Works is an impressive and unique concept in the Gulf region. Covering 6,300 square meters, the FEC offers adventure rides, a giant soft play area, learning workshops, toddler playgrounds, and a quiet parents’ lounge.

Speaking on this milestone event for Landmark Leisure, COO Silvio Liedtke stated, “The opening of Fun Works is a momentous occasion for all of us at Landmark Leisure. It took the relentless and untiring efforts of the entire team for the last two years to create this fabulous venue for our little guests. The same can be said about Embed’s involvement. They have collaborated with us in the development of three brand new and innovative solutions which reward the guests based on their performance and helped create a product which offers more flexibility and options to our customers and employees alike.”

Embed also recently installed its system at the new Helio Center FEC (pictured above) in Da Nang, Vietnam. Considered to be the largest FEC in Vietnam, the 157,000-sq.-ft. facility utilizes the Embed system for the cashless operation of the center’s 150 games, four indoor rides, and numerous outdoor activities. Embed’s new Guest Check and group management solution is being used to manage the children’s edutainment center. The system ensures the safe management of children by associating them with a guardian or parent via a unique ID wristband.

Other functions of the Embed system that are employed throughout the FEC are ticket redemption, POS, value-add packages, access control, and membership & loyalty. The Embed team began working with Helio Center two years ago to determine the best way to operate this remarkable FEC.

Helio Center Marketing Leader Phap Nguyen Cong said, “Helio made a great choice in choosing Embed to be our core management system, not only due to the credibility and stability of the software, but for the high commitment of the support team.”

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UNIS Moving Ahead with Pirate’s Hook

Game maker UNIS says its Pirate’s Hook, a captivating fishing video redemption game, continues to gain traction with operators around the world.

Rick Iceberg at CJ Barrymore’s FEC in Michigan initially projected that the Pirate’s Hook four-player game would earn about $25,000 for the entire year. “We were blown away because it earned $48,000 in the first 12 months and we are projecting $50,000 for this year,” he said. “That’s $90,000 earned for a $10,000 investment.”

Steven Tan, International Sales Manager, said: “Operators are reporting success and good earnings with Pirate’s Hook from the U.S. to Latin America, Asia and Europe. The value, quality and excellent gameplay is really appealing to players and operators alike.”

To learn more, log on to the company’s website at www.universal-space.com.

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One More Thing

Sometimes, when collections are down while breakdowns are up, there isn’t very much about the amusement machine business that’s actually amusing. I can happily tell you, however, that there once were a couple of guys in this coin-op world who could make you smile regardless of how much cash was in the can.

Both were salesmen for manufacturers, and one, Bill Cravens, was a bit better known than the other, Lenny Schneller, who was known as the “Henny Youngman of Coin-Op” way, way back.

Cravens could get away with almost anything (I say “almost” because there was at least one incident better told in private, although it was pretty funny). Bill once claimed to have had a bar out west of Los Angeles where toilet bowls were used in place of stools. I never saw it and, truthfully, I think he made that one up. But I watched one time in Charlotte as he copped Jon P. Brady’s American Express card, bought an expensive vase with it in a hotel gift shop and then gave his “anniversary present” to Jon later that night (he returned the card afterward).

One day many years ago, my then-wife Tippy and I were scheduled to fly out to Tokyo the following week to attend the JAMMA show. The phone rang and a guy with a Far Eastern accent asked to speak to me.

“Mr. Adlum, this is Singa­pore Airlines,” he said. “Sorry for you but we must cancel your tickets to Tokyo next week.” I was disappointed because Tippy put in a lot of effort getting the trip all set up, so obviously, I asked what happened to our flight. “Flight is fine. We just cancel your whole group because you are slime bags.” Cravens had me going until the last two words.

Marc Haim (Gold Coast exporters) will tell you of the time he was resting in a Long Island hospital bed the night before he was to under­go knee surgery (Marc was a very active golfer and tennis player). The phone at his bedside rang and a “Dr. Nussbaum” with an Austrian accent said:

“Mr. Haim, I will be ready to drill through your knee tomorrow morning with my set of clean drills and my pliers will relocate all the bad things in your knee and you will be dancing again in a year.” Meantime, Marc is screaming in the phone: “Who are you? Where’s my doctor? I don’t dance! What are you talking about?”

To say Marc was relieved when Cravens identified himself would be an understatement.

Bill Cravens had many friends in the business when he passed away at, ironically enough, the Circus Circus hotel in Las Vegas where he’d been attending one of our shows. Every one of those friends (like Kenny Anderson) could add a lot of their own stories to these few. Bill sold a lot of machines in his time, but his real legacy is his outrageous sense of humor. Oh, you’d like to know about Lenny Schneller? Tune in next issue and we’ll remind you about his “Pride and Joy.”

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