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July 2014

Items In This Month's News Digest

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San Diego to Host 2015 AMOA States Council Meeting

 The 2015 AMOA Council of Affiliated States meeting will be conducted February 5-7, 2015, at the Doubletree by Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.

This annual gathering of leaders from coin-op state associations around the country is one of the industry’s most informative events of the year, as delegates discuss key issues and trends affecting their memberships.

Since very few, if any, individuals attend all of the many state association meetings conducted around the country, this gathering offers the unique opportunity to gather info on the myriad of topics, trends and issues impacting industry companies across the U.S.

More information can be obtained by contacting the AMOA at 800/YES-AMOA (937-2662).

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Firestone Announces Move & Expansion

Firestone Financial Corp. announced both a move to a new office location and an increased credit facility.

Firestone has 49 employees and $188 million of assets under management. The company recently relocated its headquarters to 117 Kendrick Street in Needham, Mass. The company says the new office space will allow them to double its size to accommodate the growth of the company.

Firestone also signed a $225 million, multi-year revolving credit facility at the end of last year. (This is an increase from the prior facility of $125 mllion.) The bank group is led by RBS Citizens, N.A., and the lenders include Wells Fargo Bank National Assn., Bank of America, N.A., People’s United Bank, Rockland Trust Company, TD Bank, N.A., Brookline Bank, Berkshire Bank and Webster Bank.

Jerry Sargent, President of Citizens Bank, applauded Firestone’s management team. “We’re proud of our partnership with Firestone and excited for the firm as it continues to grow,” Sargent said. “Like us, Firestone has an unwavering commitment to its clients. Its unique ability to assist its customers stems from its deep knowledge of the industries it serves. We look forward to the firm’s future growth and our continued partnership.”

Firestone President and CEO David Cohen said: “Over the past few years we have grown very rapidly and our new office and credit facility will provide us with the tools we need to accommodate our continued growth. We are extremely optimistic about the future of our business and the industries we serve.”

To learn more, call 800/851-1001 or visit www.firestonefinancial.com.

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Shaffer Entertainment Cultivates Junior Players

Ohio operators Shaffer Entertainment has focused of late on building a strong junior dart league program in Central Ohio and Indiana. At the present, there are 32 young players from ages six to 18 playing soft tip darts in a Shaffer Junior Dart League called the Mavericks. They play at Front Rowe West, which opens exclusively for them on Saturday mornings. Parents join in playing darts with their children. Shaffer recognizes that young players are the future for dart and pool leagues around the country.

For more information, visit the company website at www.shafferentertainment.com.

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AAMA Will Conduct Its Meeting/Gala Aug. 4-8

The American Amuse­ment Machine Association will hold its annual meeting and Distributor Gala Aug. 4-8 at the Hilton in Lisle, Ill., the same venue that hosted the event last year.

The Gala, showcasing new equipment, will take place Thursday, Aug. 7, following a day and a half of manufacturer presentations. These presentations follow a previous day of association-related meetings.

“We are expanding the manufacturer presentations, which were very popular last year,” AAMA President Pete Gustafson told RePlay. “This summer’s meeting will spotlight the business-oriented focus of our organization. We are there to do the association’s business.”

Also, on Aug. 7, AAMA will host the now annual Government Relations Luncheon with Jon Cameron, who is the Director of Coin Studies at the U.S. Mint, as the featured speaker.

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Antitrust Case Against AMOA & AMI Continues

A federal judge in Massachusetts has denied efforts by AMOA and AMI Entertainment to have a civil antitrust lawsuit against them dismissed. District Judge Timothy Hillman ruled that the plaintiff, Lease America, could continue to the next step in the legal process, which could involve discovery of documents and depositions.

The judge threw out claims of tortious interference with contractual relations based on the Lease America’s failure to comply with the statute of limitations. However, the ruling also let stand claims that AMOA and AMI violated a Massachusetts law banning unfair business practices.

Representatives of both AMOA and AMI reiterated earlier comments denying any anticompetitive or unfair behavior. In the wake of this decision, AMI has moved to have the case transferred to a different venue. It has also petitioned the court to dismiss an amended complaint submitted by Lease America following this decision.

Lease America, a Shrews­bury, Mass.-based jobber owned by Charles Pietrewicz, filed the lawsuit against the trade association and the manufacturer last year, alleging they engaged in a boycott of the company’s efforts to sell jukeboxes directly to locations. Lease America claims in its lawsuit that AMI agreed to Lease America’s direct sales plan, but then reversed course after being threatened by AMOA with loss of member business.

AMOA and AMI filed motions to dismiss last year, arguing that Lease America had presented no direct evidence of the alleged boycott nor any harm to competition in the jukebox industry. AMI’s lawyers have said the company terminated music service to Lease America because the latter violated the operator agreement.

Judge Hillman rejected the claim that insufficient evidence had been alleged. “There is ample circumstantial evidence alleged,” he explained in his ruling. “Lease America points to the allegations that the jukebox industry is highly concentrated with only two manufacturers dominating the market, that Lease America’s business model disrupted the industry status quo, and that trade association conduct cannot be discounted. These allegations taken together with the allegations of direct evidence (claims that AMOA held a meeting that gave rise to the boycott conspiracy and subsequently threatened AMI) sufficiently plead circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy.”

Additionally, the court gave Lease America some latitude to amend its lawsuit to show that the result of AMI’s actions was, in fact, anticompetitive. “I agree...that these allegations are conclusory and recite fundamental antitrust damage principles without factual support,” the judge wrote. “I am accordingly giving Lease America leave to amend its complaint to provide sufficient factual support for their antitrust damage allegations.”

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NDA Team Dart Hosts Players in Las Vegas

The AMOA-National Dart Association (NDA) held its 29th annual international soft-tip dart tournament, Team Dart, at Bally’s Las Vegas in Las Vegas, April 25-May 3. This year, Team Dart received more than 10,000 event entrants from players across five countries all competing for over $500,000 in prize money.

The tournament is unique compared to others in that skill levels range from beginners to masters. All participants are classified into levels according to their individual or team’s skill rating. There are anywhere from one to 14 levels in any one event each year depending on the number and skill levels of entries.

Approximately 140 NDA operator members sent players to Team Dart this year. Team Dart entry qualifications include being a NDA-sanctioned player and playing at least 96 league games in a specified period for the NDA coin-op vending company who enters the player in the tournament. Players had the option of participating in up to 10 events throughout the nine days of competition.

Team Dart 2014 events included more than two dozen different competitions including various types of singles, doubles, triples and team play, as well as the International Challenge.

Teams from Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the U.S. competed for international bragging rights. The U.S. women’s team defeated Germany for first place, and the U.S. men’s team defeated France for first place. Mike Bates with Dart Masters sponsored the U.S. Team.

During the Team Dart President’s Reception, the association inducted Nancy Hodges and Reggie Horak into the NDA Hall of Fame. For their dedicated service, Lloyd Williamson, NDA President, presented them with Hall of Fame awards.

The NDA thanked its sponsors for their continued support of the tournament and the association. In attendance to accept their awards were AMOA President Bobby Hogin, Sam Zammuto with Arachnid, Vilim Vidanec with Cyberdine, Ruben Funosas with Gaelco Darts, Helmut Schneller with NSM-Löwen Entertainment and Adam Lipinski with Shelti. Manufac­turer sponsors provided 312 dartboards for the tournament floor.

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TouchTunes Purchases Soundnet as Part of European Expansion Effort

TouchTunes Interactive Networks has completed the acquisition of Soundnet, a European supplier of audio and visual content to bars, clubs and other venues. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Soundnet operates throughout the U.K. and Europe and, since 2000, has been providing audio and video content to digital jukeboxes and background music services in venues across the region. Earlier this year, the company extended its exclusive U.K. jukebox agreement with the Official Charts Co. to supply its digital jukeboxes with the Official Singles Chart. Soundnet also recently launched the Sound­jack mobile app that allows consumers to select and play songs from a smartphone. This acquisition marks TouchTunes’ entry into the European market.

Soundnet will continue to work exclusively with Sound Leisure in the U.K. supporting the business together. The company says it is looking forward to the future “with the continued success of the VHUB jukebox and the news that it is now the best-selling jukebox in the U.K.”

The acquisition complements TouchTunes’ current business and adds a further 13,000 jukebox sites in Europe to TouchTunes’ existing 60,000 bars, clubs and restaurants across North America. The transaction is the first of a number of expected expansion initiatives as TouchTunes continues to develop and grow its product base and geographic reach.

Charles Goldstuck, Presi­dent and CEO of TouchTunes, said: “I am delighted at the prospect of working with Simon Davis and his talented team at Soundnet. Our expansion into Europe is a priority for TouchTunes, and our coming together with Soundnet is the beginning of that strategy.”

Alan Newham, European Managing Director of Touch­Tunes, said: “Recent improvements in the state of the jukebox market in the U.K. make this an opportune time for TouchTunes to expand into these. This acquisition helps lay the foundations for TouchTunes’ growth strategy across Europe.”

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TouchTunes Launches Hear It First; Pre-Releases New O.A.R. Album

Last month TouchTunes kicked off the first installment of TouchTunes Hear It First, a national music promotion granting bar-goers a first listen to some of the most anticipated albums of the year. The first featured work was O.A.R.’s The Rockville LP. Music critics have claimed the band’s 8th studio album displays the perfect amalgamation of their roots as a college “jam band” and their decades of success in pop rock. O.A.R. claims The Rockville LP encapsulates their renowned live energy better than ever. O.A.R. released The Rockville LP commercially on June 10.

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I.T. Announces New Golden Tee LIVE App

Incredible Technologies, makers of Golden Tee LIVE, released the first ever Golden Tee app. The GT Caddy, a companion app available for download to Android devices from the Google Play store, is tailor-made for dedicated and casual fans of Golden Tee.

The factory says the free app gives instant access to important and helpful information that will “enhance every Golden Tee fan’s game play experience.” Players will keep their GT Caddy at their side while spinning the trackball and keep them engaged even while away from this popula bar game, says I.T.

The GT Caddy app offers a variety of features, including an interactive “Find A Game” locator, in-depth stats tracking and real-time Live Contest updates. Instant notifications will alert players to where they placed in contests, encouraging them to play again. The app also offers access to Golden Tee news and events, and the ability to download and instantly view Great Shot videos in one easy-access location.

“Smart phones have quickly become a part of everyday life, and Golden Tee players are no exception,” said Scott Mor­rison, I.T.’s VP of Amusement Marketing. “By adding game-enhancing features to their phones, we will engage players more often and keep them thinking about their favorite game.”

The app is available now for free download on the Google Play store. A version for Apple devices will be available in the fall. Free, instant updates are planned for future releases to introduce a variety of innovative game enhancing features. “The first version of the GT Caddy is packed with useful features, but this is only the beginning,” Morrison added. “We have big plans in store for both the app and the game.”

For more information on the GT Caddy, visit http://goldentee.com/gtcaddy.

To download the app for Android devices go to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.itsgames.gtcaddy.

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Benchmark Debuts New Unit At Bowl Expo

Benchmark Games debuted a new game at last month’s Bowl Expo in Orlando, Fla. Recognizing the need for high-impact, high-earning equipment for the smaller bowling centers, the factory created a low cost, compact version of its Explosive ticket redemption game. The new game is called Pop It & Win.

The single-player game features that familiar nervous anticipation as players inflate the balloon towards the spinning buzz saw, which will ultimately pop the balloon. When that happens, players win tickets. “Once the balloon inflates to a certain point, players are compelled to finish what they started or allow some other player to benefit from their hard work,” explained Benchmark Sales Director Tony Maniscalco. “This type of timeless game play drives player traffic and game revenue for a very long time.”

Benchmark Games Director of Engineering Steve Corso has implemented new game development and test procedures.

Pop It & Win is the first game being brought to market by Benchmark under these new procedures. “Our test games are earning extremely well and more importantly have been operating with no downtime,” said Corso.

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

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Wizard of Oz Pinball Manual Now Online

The Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine from Jersey Jack Pinball now has an epic game manual to match. The book weighs in at 380 pages and can be found online at this link: http://support.jerseyjackpinball.com/downloads/woz/Wizard_of_Oz_Manual_3_0_June_2014.pdf.

The online manual was created by JJP’s E.E. Butch Peel and took almost two years to compile and complete as the game was being designed. The online manual contains over 1,200 hyperlinks.
There will be a final 4.0 software update that will be announced by JJP on their support site. The complete 380-page manual is also accessible in the 4.0 software for viewing on the game’s 27” LCD monitor. Expanded views of the manual make it an easy reference tool, says the factory.

For further details, visit www.JerseyJackPinball.com.

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IAAPA Extends Orlando Dates Through 2025

Officials from IAAPA, Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center announced a six-year extension of their agreement to host the IAAPA Attrac­tions Expo in Orlando through 2025. (The new contract represents an extension of the previous agreement from 2010 through 2019.)

Approximately 28,800 people from more than 100 nations participated in IAAPA Attractions Expo 2013. The week-long event is the largest conference and trade show for the worldwide attractions in­dustry and generates ap­prox­imately $51.3 million for the Orlando-area economy.
Officials also announced that registration for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014, which takes place in the Orange County Convention Center Nov. 17-21, is now open.

“IAAPA Attractions Expo continues to grow year after year and that’s a testament to the power of Orlando as the ideal location for our global conference and trade show,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. “The Orange County Convention Center is a best-in-class venue that’s well-suited for our event and our members love coming to Orlando to see what’s new in the industry and in the area’s world-renowned attractions.”

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IAAPA to Host FEC Dallas

IAAPA’s now annual FEC Conference will move to Texas next year. The association announced plans to host FEC Dallas, Feb. 8-10, 2015, at the Hilton Dallas in Rockwall.

FEC Dallas is a conference designed by and for FEC owners, operators, manufacturers, and suppliers. Leading FEC professionals will gather to solve challenges, build their networks, compare information and discuss successful strategies to increase profits, says IAAPA.

FEC Dallas will be the third consecutive year the organization has offered this professional development FEC conference. The 2013 event was held in Las Vegas and the 2012 edition was held in Phoenix.

To learn more, log on to www.IAAPA.org/events-education/events/fec-dallas-2015.

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Andamiro Magic Shot Has New Look

Andamiro’s skill merchandiser Magic Shot is now sporting a new look. “We were looking for an art package that would make the game stand out without taking away from the real attraction, the prizes,” said the factory’s sales director Drew Maniscalco. “We looked at a dozen themes and decided simple and clean would be the best. The ribbon and bow fit perfectly.”

For more, call Drew at 813/313-9095 or email drew@andamirousa.com.

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LAI Names Harry Levy for U.K. Market

LAI Games has appointed Harry Levy as their exclusive U.K. distributor.

“Harry Levy brings a wealth of industry knowledge and understanding of the U.K. amusement market through their solid experience as an established manufacturer, operator and distributor,” said LAI’s Marshall Ashdown, who serves as head of global sales. “We look forward to working with Harry and his team. Levy’s incredibly well known and respected throughout the U.K. industry and we see many synergies between our two companies.”

Matthew Deith, Commercial Director for Harry Levy, added: “We’re excited to be appointed exclusive distributor for LAI Games. Over recent years they have established themselves as innovative manufacturers of appealing prize merchandisers and family redemption games, all of which will fit well into our current portfolio. I’m looking forward to offering their current lineup to our customers and seeing all their new developments at IAAPA in November.”

LAI Games, part of the Leisure and Allied Industries (LAI) group, designs, manufactures and sells amusement games, photo booths and kiddie rides around the world. For more information, visit www.LAIGames.com.

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Shaffer Dist. Hosts Pool Recovering Training

Shaffer Distributing recently hosted two successful Certified Championship Installer training programs in its Columbus, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri offices. The turnout was impressive at both, and participating operators from five states gained certification during the events.

Participants experienced a full-day workshop including an educational session on the construction of billiard fabrics and cushion rubber along with hands-on training on installation of Championship Billiard’s performance worsted and traditional woolen fabrics. In addition, each person received a complimentary installer’s tool kit with a variety of coin-op table parts.

Shaffer thanked Fred  Cohen, President, and Mike Serra, VP, both of Champion­ship Billiards as well as John Beecher of Beecher Billiards for conducting the clinics.

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Promo Materials Now Ship With AMI Products

AMI Entertainment Net­work is now including promotional materials in several of their popular products. As part of the continuing effort to provide operators with the tools needed to increase awareness and profits, several of AMI’s products will now ship with free promotional items.

Three of AMI’s new products — the Continental video jukebox, NGX video upgrade kit and Tap TV — will now come packaged with a supply of promotional table tents and posters tailored to that particular product. These items are a great tool to increase location and patron engagement and keep customers informed about all the great entertainment available at their favorite bar or restaurant.

In addition to pre-packaged promotional materials, AMI is introducing the Tap TV Location Promotional Kit, which is designed to get locations and players fired up about Tap TV Trivia and Tap TV Poker. Each deluxe kit includes eye-catching table tents and posters, plus great additional items like coasters, window decals, and bottle openers for the venue’s bartenders.

Tap TV Location Promo Kits are available for a small fee, and can be ordered through AMI regional sales managers or AMI Inside Sales by calling 800/393-0201. Additional product-specific table tents and posters can also be ordered through AMI Inside Sales. Electronic copies of marketing and promotional materials for all AMI products can be found on the company’s newly revamped website at www.ami entertainment.com/support/ marketing-material.

For more information on AMI’s products, visit www. amientertainment.com or follow AMI on Facebook or Twitter.

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CenterEdge Sees Bounce in Trampoline Biz

CenterEdge Software, a provider of POS, reservation, ticketing and access control systems for entertainment and recreation facilities, has reported a significant increase in the number of their systems deployed at trampoline parks in the U.S. and abroad.

CenterEdge says their systems are now used by well over 100 trampoline facilities, including multi-unit operators such as Sky Zone, Launch, Rebounderz, Stratosphere, Flight and the numerous brands operated by the Case Lawrence Group. Both chain and independent operators benefit from the industry-specific features that CenterEdge offers such as online jump time sales and session scheduling, electronic liability waiver management, in-store and online event reservations, ticketing convenience fees and jump rewards.

The Jump Park located in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently switched to CenterEdge after using a generic system that didn’t meet the needs of their business, reported the company. LaDonna Woodward, GM for The Jump Park, said: “We are so pleased to have chosen CenterEdge for our software needs. Their software has made our daily traffic flow flawless and our parties run smoothly.”

The company offers both purchase and subscription options making CenterEdge a highly affordable option for parks of all sizes.

“CenterEdge is proud to be the premier provider to the rapidly expanding trampoline park sector,” said Marcus Mayer, Director of Operations for the North Carolina-based software provider. “We appreciate the confidence our users have in our product and look forward to introducing even more tools to assist business owners in driving sales and managing their operations.”

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Barron Offers Allied Tank Attack

Allied Tank Attack is a tank motion simulator game from Injoy Motion, represented by Barron Games in the U.S. market. The innovative game, set during World War II, allows players to experience a realistic tank driving & shooting experience while battling evil bosses through war zones.

ATA offers new features and updates, HD display and graphics, an auto aim feature that allows players to lock in their target for better accuracy, customizable tank and turrets, three game modes (campaign, battle and lone survivor) and patented airbag motion technology that produces instant movement and player feedback. There is also a two-player double version. Players can play solo or compete against friends by linking up to four units.

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

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Pinballz Kingdom Chooses Ideal

Ideal Software has been tapped by Pinballz Kingdom, a 25,000-sq.-ft. FEC in Austin, Texas, that brings together modern and classic games and attractions.

Pinballz Kingdom will use Ideal N-Site POS (Point of Sale) for food and beverage service, selling cashless cards and more, as well as Ideal cashless card readers, the Ideal Redemption Center Manager and Hosted Reservations, Ideal’s online party booking system that allows customers to book parties and reserve rooms 24/7. The facility will also include an indoor/outdoor stage for hosting live music and corporate events, with Ideal’s E-Ticketing system to sell tickets on-site and online from its website.

“We blend both classic and newer games, and that makes us unique,” said owner Darren Spohn. “Kids typically play the new ones, while adults gravitate to the pinball machines and classic games. We successfully target families with kids during the day, but later it’s an adult crowd and more of a drinking, eating and socializing atmosphere.”

Pinballz Kingdom is Spohn’s second venture into the FEC business and the Austin area. As the original arcade has grown, so has his vision for the brand. Spohn’s new project is ambitious in scope, encompassing a restaurant, bar, live entertainment and an expansive 150-game arcade that combines modern games with classic titles and pinball machines that multiple generations can enjoy.

The castle-themed FEC will run on the comprehensive Ideal Softwaare platform, the amusement industry’s only truly native business management system that unifies POS, cashless, customer loyalty, attractions, party scheduling, full restaurant capabilities and more with full financial and performance reporting in one central hub.

“We did an exhaustive analysis of entertainment center POS systems that could incorporate the entertainment complex as well as food and beverage,” said Spohn. “Some were good at specific things, but we wanted one integrated system that pulled together everything and included a strong membership loyalty system. Ideal offered the best system for everything we needed at both of our locations, with room to grow and add indoor and outdoor attractions.”

Ideal Software’s N-Site fully integrates all profit centers in an FEC, from party management to cashless and redemption to a complete food and beverage system. Ideal also provides cloud-based solutions such as 24/7 online party booking and ticketing, WorkerBee route and game management, and mobile services that allow customers to add and redeem value at an FEC from a smart phone.

For more information about Ideal Software Systems, please contact us at 800-96-IDEAL or fecsales@idealss.com.

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Ripley Prexy Jim Pattison to Deliver IAAPA Keynote Address

Jim Pattison, Jr., president of Ripley Entertainment, will address attractions industry leaders as the GM and Owners’ Breakfast keynote speaker on Wednesday, Nov. 19, during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014.

The Expo, which is the conference and trade show for the $24 billion global attractions industry, takes place Nov. 17-21 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Pattison will tell the compelling story of Ripley Entertainment, stretching back to 1918 when founder Robert Ripley began to establish himself as a household name with the popular cartoon “Believe It or Not!” Today, Ripley Entertainment operates more than 90 attractions in 10 countries, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditoriums, Ripley’s Aquariums, Guinness World Records Attractions, Ripley’s Moving Theaters, Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Mazes, Ripley’s Haunted Adventures, and many more. The company also publishes more than 1 million books annually and has the longest continuously published newspaper comic in history.

Pattison will share what has enabled Ripley Entertainment to remain successful for nearly a century and is anticipated to surprise the audience in true Ripley fashion.

Since joining Ripley Entertainment in 1990, Pattison has played key roles in the company’s operation and growth. He was named president in December of 2007.

“Jim is a well-respected industry veteran with a long track record of success,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. “Attendees of the GM and Owners’ Breakfast will take away valuable lessons that Pattison used to help build Ripley into what it is today.”

The IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 GM and Owners’ Breakfast will take place Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 8:30 a.m. in the IAAPA Theater presented by The Wanda Group. Tickets to attend the event are now available. Log on to www.iaapa.orgg.

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Obituaries: Tom Keil, Roger Folz, Katie Wilkinson and Ken Heiser

Hank Tronick Gone At 98

On May 24, 2014, a retired icon of the Southern California coin-op trade, Hank Tronick, quietly passed away at a retirement home in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles. He could foresee his 100th birthday less than two years away. He’d spent around 60 of those years in the SoCal business, part of it with Minthorne Music in the parts department, but most of it at C.A. Robinson & Co. in sales.

And that’s where Hank Tronick, a former biology and science teacher in his native Brooklyn, N.Y., made his reputation as an honest, effective but mostly friendly fellow whose nasal East Coast accent was as familiar to operators as the BE BRIEF sign that used to sit on his desk down on Pico Boule­vard, the “coin machine row” of L.A.

Within days of his death, the social media lit up like a traffic signal on Wilshire and Fairfax with an outpouring of sadness, but mostly of fond remembrance of a guy loved on all three levels of the trade. His honesty, best expressed when he’d turn a buyer off a game he didn’t think would cut the cash box mustard, was more than appreciated. But when he’d recommend a game, you’d better have put your order in.

Hank and his late wife Ronnie relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 1946, after he was discharged from the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant who’d served in the South Pacific during WWII. They raised two boys (Steve and Mike) and a daughter Nancy who in turn gave him four grandchildren.

These folks made up the bulk of those who attended a quiet interment at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills, Calif. on May 27. The only member of the trade present was Tony Orozco who had been a close friend for many years and a frequent visitor to Hank at the retirement home.

During the brief graveside service, military “Taps” was played by a uniformed soldier, followed by the presentation of the casket flag to the family. Granddaughter Allison stepped forward to sing Embraceable You and others shared their memories.

There are fewer operators still in the business who remember buying and schmoozing with Hank than when he was active; he’d been retired for many years. Even the business he worked so long for is gone. But those who do remember would agree that a nice guy has crossed the finish line.

Rest in peace, Henry. You were such a mensch!

NAMA, Rowe Exec Merrill Krakauer Gone

The National Automatic Merchandising Association announced the passing of former Chair Merrill Krakauer, 86, of Boca Raton, Fla., who died Wednesday, May 21, at the Hospice of Palm Beach County, Delray Beach.

“We appreciate Merrill for his service to the vending and refreshment services industry. He was chair during a time of transition for the association, and his leadership made a positive impact on the industry overall, for which we are thankful,” said Carla Balakgie, NAMA President and CEO.

An accomplished businessman and engineer, Krakauer was for many years the CEO of Rowe International in Whippany, N.J., then the largest manufacturer of vending machines in the country, and also its affiliates Brandt, Inc., now known as Talaris and AMI Entertainment.

He also was a noted inventor, holding 25 patents for vending equipment design, a number of which were foundation patents in the vending machine industry. One of the more recognizable contributions he made to the industry is the spiral design prominently still featured today in vending machines.

He earned a B.S. in Engineering from Cooper Union in New York City. Born in Brooklyn, he moved to Short Hills in 1975, and after 2009 resided principally in Boca Raton, Fla., while also continuing a part-time residence in Short Hills.

Preceded in death by his wife Janet, he is survived by his children, Bryan Krakauer (presently a partner at the law firm of Sidley & Austin in Chicago) and his wife Marie; Elayne Krakauer; Matthew Lefkowitz and his wife Amy; his brother Stewart Krakauer and his wife Judy; his grandchildren David and Emily, and his cousin and life-long close friend Arlene Julich. Donations in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.

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People on the Move

Tom Happ, EVP of Suzo-Happ, who helped found the parts house Happ Controls with his father Frank, has exited the company. Suzo-Happ was formed following the acquisition of Happ Controls by an investor group.

The company’s CEO James Brendel released the following statement:

“After 28 years of impeccable service and immeasurable contribution, Tom Happ has decided to leave the company. Tom has agreed to allow time for transition. His last day will be June 30, 2014. Tom is leaving to pursue other opportunities outside the amusement industry and start the next chapter of his very successful career. We wish Tom luck in his new endeavors and are truly grateful for the positive impact he has had on Suzo-Happ through all of the many positions and capacities he has served in throughout the years. Tom will be truly missed.”

• • •

Industry veteran Ron Malinowski will return to the amusement sector after several years facilitating the Gaming VLT market in Illinois. Ron has lead various sales and operating teams while at Sega and Capcom, as well as managing arcade operations at Aladdin’s Castle at Bally’s. He will now join the sales and management team at Bob’s Space Racers.

Working under the direction of company President Jack Cook, Ron will serve in various capacities with BSR’s current North American distributor network.

“With Ron’s addition to our team, BSR will focus on customer opportunities in the FEC market utilizing BSR’s extensive line of games from both redemption and amusement park lines,” said the company. “Ron’s appointment will add additional industry expertise to our executive management team and bolster our deep commitment to our customers. Ron will assist in all areas of business development in our North American market with focus on sales, new markets and game development.”

“Joining a firm with a great history, integrity, top-notch game designs and, importantly, a dedication to its trade is what I was looking to return to the amusement sector,” added Ron.

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