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April 2015

Items In This Month's News Digest

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Starburst to Merge With Brady Distributing

Brady Distributing has entered into a merger agreement with Cineplex Starburst to form a new venture that will be called Brady Starburst, according to knowledgeable sources, who said the resulting company will benefit from renewed investment in the markets served by Brady. At press time, RePlay was still waiting on formal confirmation of the agreement from Brady and Starburst, but the industry was abuzz with the news.

A clear indication that the deal had been concluded can be found on pg. 103 of this very issue, on which Cineplex subsidiary The Playdium Store announced an April 21-23 online auction entitled “Brady Warehouse Clear-Out.”

Brady Distributing is marking 70 years in business as one of the mid-Atlantic’s key dealerships. North Carolina route operator C. B. Brady founded Brady Distributing in 1945 when picked by Wurlitzer to handle sales and service of their jukebox line. Since that time, the dealership has grown under the leadership of C.B.’s son, Jon P. and, at present, his grandson, Jon. W, who serves as CEO and his younger brother, Chris, who is president.

Starburst, established in 1975 by owner and founder Len Keywood, is Canada’s largest distributor and operator of coin operated amusement machines and bulk vendors with over 250 employees. Starburst is part of the Cineplex family of companies. Cineplex is the largest motion picture exhibitor in Canada. (See the related news item below.)

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Cineplex Eyes Game Room Biz In Canada

Movie theater operator Cineplex has debuted its plan to open a chain of entertainment destinations in its home country of Canada, hoping to cash in the increasing popularity of restaurant/bar/arcade locations.

“The venues, which the company expects to roll out in about 10-15 locations in Canada, will feature luxury bowling, billiards, shuffleboard and ping pong, coin games, musical acts and a sports bar-style atmosphere to watch games,” reported the Canadian investment publication Cantech Letter. “The first Rec Room, a 40,000-sq.-ft. location adjacent to the Cineplex theatre in Edmonton, will open later this year.”

Cineplex topper Ellis Jacob was quoted as saying: “While variations of this concept have been rolled out on a wider scale in the U.S., our research shows a significant opportunity to develop and grow this business on a national scale in Canada. Cineplex is well positioned to leverage existing entertainment, gaming, food service, digital media and operational capabilities to bring this concept to life.”

Last year, Cineplex bid to acquire Dave & Buster’s, but the U.S. chain opted to launch an IPS instead. Dave & Buster’s valuation has shot up since going public to over $1 billion.

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AVS Launches New FEC-Focused Brand; Receives
Honors from Local Paper

American Vending Sales (AVS) has launched a new brand representing their family entertainment services, Entertainment Equipment Experts (E3).

The E3 brand will be used to market AVS’ game room design and consulting services to developers and owners of entertainment-based locations like FECs, bowling centers, roller skating facilities and laser tag arenas.

“AVS has extensive experience with entertainment centers in Illinois and around the country,” commented Tony Shamma, VP of Music & Game Sales for AVS. “Building the E3 brand will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to this sector of the industry and build our customer base nationally.”

E3 will encompass all aspects of developing, remodeling and maintaining game rooms in entertainment facilities, including layout design, game selection, attraction consulting, installation, training, warranty and parts. To learn more about E3, visit www.e3 amusements.com and follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ e3amusements and Twitter at @e3amusements.

AVS was also recently chosen by the Daily Herald Business Ledger newspaper as a recipient of the 2015 Annual Awards for Business Excellence.

AVS was honored in the small business category at a ceremony March 11 at Medinah Banquets in Addison. Three other businesses were also selected in the small business category, with a total of 22 companies honored in 9 different categories.

“We are extremely honored that the Daily Herald Business Ledger has chosen to acknowledge AVS as a leader in the suburban business community,” said AVS President Vince Gumma. “Our team is constantly striving to set the bar higher in terms of customer service and satisfaction and it is gratifying to be recognized for our achievements.”

Winners of the Annual Awards for Business Excellence are chosen from a competitive field and judged by a thorough nomination process that evaluates each organization’s history, growth, innovation, accomplishments and community contributions. AVS will be featured in the April 13 issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger, along with the other award recipients.

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Sega Releases Showdown Deluxe Video

Building on their partnership with Codemasters, (the team that created GRID), Sega has introduced Showdown, what they describe as a “no-holds-barred, smash-the-other-guy-to-smithereens tour of motorized mayhem.” In Showdown, the object is less about beating the other guy to the finish line as it is just beating the other guy to pieces. The only rule? Be the last car running.

Showdown puts the player at the controls of one of 20 different high-octane wrecking machines. His job is to unleash his inner mayhem in one of four different arenas.

“Showdown lets players unleash that primal desire for wanton destruction without having to call an insurance agent to find out if the damage is covered,” said Sega Amusements President Paul Williams. “You’ll need to keep your head on a swivel or you’re going to find your car pounded to bits in short order by your opponents. This is not a game where letting the other guy in will score you any points. This is every man for himself.”

Showdown is being released in two distinct cabinets: a motion-based, four-player “Special Attraction” version (above) and a 42” deluxe single player sit-down (left). In Showdown Special Attraction, players are seated in front of their own massive 65” HD LED display that takes in your entire field of vision. Showdown is available immediately.

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Speedy’s & Mitsubishi

Speedy’s One Stop Repair Service is now an authorized service center for Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Already one of the amusement industry’s leading depot repair centers, Speedy’s is ready to provide service on the 9500 printer series (including the CP-9550DW model) and CP-D70DW. These high-volume digital photo printers are most commonly used by photo booth manufacturers.

Speedy’s aims to offer quick turn around time on Mitsubishi printers, both in and out of warranty. “Our team understands that printer downtime translates to lost revenues, so they strive to get their clients’ equipment back into operation as quickly as possible,” they declare.

Visit www.sosrepairservice.com for more details.

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Stern Teams Up With Dead Flip Pin Group

Stern Pinball has teamed up with Dead Flip, an organization of Chicago-based pinball enthusiasts, to promote pinball and the pinball community on Twitch TV.

Twitch, a unit of Amazon.com, is reportedly the largest internet-based “e-sports” streaming site and the fastest-growing television network in America with more than 100 million viewers a month. Dead Flip will showcase Stern Pinball’s new WWE Wrestlemania machine and future Stern titles.

Dead Flip is a Chicago-based organization that promotes the game on the internet and helps players learn about pinball. It features live streaming every weekday at 5 p.m. CST on Twitch in a show that features new pinball machines, game strategies and community-centered interaction that appeals to pinball enthusiasts and newcomers alike. For more information, visit DeadFlip.com or http://twitch.tv/dead_flip.

“Like any game or sport, people get discouraged when they can’t succeed,” said Jack Danger of Dead Flip. “We created Dead Flip to help improve players’ pinball skills and build a community to share these experiences and our love for pinball.”

“Chicago is home to many great pinball players,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball. “We’re thrilled to team up with Dead Flip and Twitch to keep the love of pinball growing and share our new titles with the world.”

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Round 1 Chooses Embed

Embed, a supplier of debit card and POS systems for the amusement and family entertainment industry, has completed the successful installation of its technology at the fifth Round 1 Bowling & Amusement location, this one in Arlington, Texas. The Embed System is also deployed at the other Round 1 locations in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and in the California cities of Moreno Valley, City of Industry and Lakewood.

With more than 100 overseas locations, Round 1 is a state-of-the-art entertainment company offering fun for the whole family. Their facilities include bowling lanes, arcade games, karaoke rooms, billiards, darts and ping pong. Round 1 utilizes the Embed System for food and beverage sales, for cashless operation of their games, and to manage their extensive redemption display.

Embed GM Ted Parsons said: “Each new facility we do with Round 1 shows their commitment to delivering an exceptional guest experience. They continue to refine and build upon the great success they have already achieved with their existing centers and concept. They give careful consideration to all parts of their operations and we are very pleased that they continue to choose Embed for their new stores.”

For more information on Round 1 Bowling & Amusement, visit them on the web at www.round1usa.com.

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AMI Offers New Marquee Skin For NGX, Releases Excite Channel For Tap TV

AMI is now offering the newest NGX light assembly, the NGX Marquee Skin. The new option gives operators and locations the ability to customize the jukebox with a message or location name, or use the included signage to simply promote the jukebox or music video.

In addition, the skin offers an option to activate dancing lights which follow the beat of music being played. The new NGX Marquee skin will replace the NightHawk skin which as been discontinued along with the Nostalgia II.

For more about the NGX jukebox, visit www.amientertainment.com/products/ngx.

AMI also released its Tap TV Excite, the latest addition to the Tap TV channel lineup. Tap TV’s Excite Channel gives venues a brand new way to engage patrons and display promotional ads created with the AMI Ad Manager. Unlike conventional digital signage systems that can bore an audience, Excite features hours of viral videos licensed from extreme athletes, trick-shot masters and more.

The Excite Channel is available for Tap TV users with a current Trivia or Poker subscription. To activate the Excite Channel, switch the channel from Trivia or Poker to Excite using the Tap TV remote; content will begin to download while a short video plays.

AMI’s Ad Manager feature offers over 1,300 ready-made templates to create promotional ad screens for AMI jukeboxes and Tap TV, featuring everything from draft lists and food specials to play-off parties and karaoke nights. The company says, “It’s fast, easy, and fully customizable.”

For more information on Tap TV, check out the new site at www.TapTVTonight.com.

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LAI Debuts Shooting Mania at Jersey Show

In preparation for its March 15 U.S. release, LAI Games displayed the new video redemption game Shooting Mania in the Betson Distributing booth at the 2015 NJAA 20th Annual East Coast Variety Show. (NJAA is the New Jersey Amusement Association.)

Betson also showed the game at its Myrtle Beach Spring Show on March 4 at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort.

LAI’s Chris Brady said: “The East Coast show had a fantastic turnout and lots of energy. The response to Shooting Mania was tremendous. It’s a carnival-style game the whole family can enjoy.”

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Zone Laser Tag Sets Up 92 New Locations in 2014

Zone Laser Tag staked its claim as “the most trusted brand of laser tag all over the world” after setting 92 laser tag attractions this past calendar year. They say this number is nearly twice as many that competitors have claimed to open. “More operators are choosing our Helios Laser Tag System over the competition again and again,” they declare.

“Over the past eight years, no other brand of laser tag has earned the respect and trust of both incoming and existing clients worldwide,” stated their press department. “With a host of equipment features, game formats, and options available, Zone Laser Tag goes above and beyond to meet the needs of our operators. While other suppliers count signed contracts or letters of intent in determining their opening numbers for the year, Zone doesn’t. Only fully installed laser tag systems make our list of openings,” they added.

The Helios Laser Tag System reportedly offers some impressive features, add-ons, and a price that they claim won’t break the FEC’s budget. “Skating, bowling, mini-golf, go-karting, theaters, family entertainment centers, and more are all incorporating laser tag because of the success it’s presently enjoying.”

Zone Laser Tag claims to be the world’s oldest commercial laser tag supplier, with over 250 locations in North America. For more information, visit www. lasertag.com or call 866/966-3797.

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Team Play To Offer Progressive Jackpot Kit for Fishbowl Frenzy

Team Play recently announced a new Progressive Jackpot Conversion Kit for Fishbowl Frenzy, which was slated to be released at Amusement Expo in Las Vegas.

Fishbowl Frenzy won the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Best New Coin-Op Product upon its official release in November 2014. Since then, operators have reported outstanding earnings, with Fishbowl Frenzy ranking in the Top-5 and often occupying the top position, according to Team Play.

“Fishbowl Frenzy has been a huge hit,” said Team Play’s CEO, Ed Pellegrini. “But I think that our customers are going to be even more impressed when they see what the Progressive Jackpot version can do for their locations.”

The Fishbowl Frenzy Progressive introduces a series of challenges of increasing difficulty, which players must overcome, in order to win the big prize. With each game played the prospective reward increases, until the potential ticket win reaches the operator-selectable maximum number.

Team Play’s COO, Ken Fedesna, explained the new feature: “Simply by purchasing a Progressive marquee and replacement hard drive, locations will be able to link multiple Fishbowl Frenzy games to provide players on each of the linked games the opportunity to win the Progressive Bonus Jackpot. This will allow the location terrific flexibility, because the games can be operated individually or converted into a progressive to suit the location’s needs. We anticipate that there will be huge demand for this option.”

Team Play expects to start shipping the Progressive conversion kits in April.

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Firestone Offers TouchTunes Finance Promo

Firestone Financial has teamed up with TouchTunes to offer its Firestone Partners additional bonus dollars for loans on new TouchTunes jukeboxes.

Firestone launched its Partners program in 2012 and since that time, the firm reports that it has paid out thousands of dollars in rewards to hundreds of customers in the amusement and vending industries.

Firestone Partners offers a half a percentage point, or a minimum of $250, on all business funded in 2015 for those customers that finance above their annual target. The TouchTunes enhancement offers an additional half a percentage point for customers that exceed both their Firestone Partners and TouchTunes targets. Customers may opt for cash back paid in January 2016 or receive 2016 membership with the AMOA.

“Customers that exceed both targets will earn 1% of their 2015 loan amount. This means thousands of dollars paid out next January,” said Firestone Sales VP Jim Hines.

To sign up for the Firestone Partners program, interested parties should complete the online form at www.firestonefinancial.com/firestonepartners.htm.

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Washington Arcade Big Token Fan

Let’s Play! Café, a new arcade, restaurant and amusement facility in Monroe, Wash., was founded by longtime industry veteran David Shoemaker. It offers its customers more than 50 games, from the latest pinballs (including Jersey Jack’s Wizard of Oz) to classics like Atari’s Asteroids, plus a large selection of racing/driving games linked for head-to-head competition. Each game is operated by tokens supplied by TokensDirect.

Shoemaker had 0.984” tokens minted in both brass and Nickle-plated brass. “When we have a machine jam up, we fix the problem then give the customer a Nickle-plated brass token to refund their initial lost token. That way we’re able to track which machines are jamming and having problems when we do collections, because we note the silver tokens,” Shoemaker advised.

The game center operator opted to use tokens versus cash because he’s seen the problems that can arise from having cash lying around – even when it’s hidden in a coin box. “I chose tokens to avoid the theft and vandalism that occurs when people try to break into coin boxes” he said. So far his strategy is working, because four months into his new venture he has not had a single incidence of vandalism or theft.

As a bonus, he’s seeing a higher than expected level of “walkaways” –– tokens sold but not redeemed –– which means that each token is promoting Let’s Play! Café each time they are seen in pocket change. The brass tokens sell for a quarter, but have a landed cost less than that, so each walkaway is generating a small profit as well as the free advertising. (Let’s Play! sells the tokens at face value, with a 20-token bonus for purchases of $20.) Shoemaker estimates that it’s close to a 50/50 split between token purchases of $5 and $20.

TokensDirect is a division of Osborne Coinage Co., America’s oldest private mint. Orders for stock tokens can be placed at a secure online store, www.tokensdirectstore.com, to ship within 48-hours. Contact a sales specialist by calling 866/274-0868 or via email at ask@tokensdirect.com.

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AMOA-NDA Board Takes Office

The AMOA-National Dart Association (NDA) recently welcomed two new board directors for 2015. Ricky “Rabbit” Stoddard and Trevor Foster began their duties earlier this year. Joining them are newly elected officers, President Alvin Gerlach, Vice President Mary Lavine and Treasurer Shawn Smith.

The full NDA board of directors met for the first time in January to discuss the future of the organization and the electronic darting industry as a whole. Key initiatives discussed were the importance of reaching a new generation of darters, growing additional tournament opportunities and increasing education opportunities and resources for members.

“The Board of Directors is actively working to enhance NDA programs and propel the industry forward one dart at a time,” said President Gerlach. “I am honored to serve as president as we head into a milestone year for Team Dart and get closer to other exciting tournaments and events.”

The annual NDA Junior Tournament, first introduced in 2014, is one way the organization is working to grow participation among younger players. Open to NDA-sanctioned players 20 and under that meet the qualifying requirements, the 2015 Junior Tournament will be held June 19-21 in Bloomington, Minn. Full details are available at www.NDAdarts.com/junior.

In order to reach a younger audience of darters, enhancing online engagement has also been a focus of the NDA and will continue to be as technology advances. Promoting the fun and safe environment that playing darts provides to junior players is a key piece of this initiative. Players can download a cutout of Junior, the tournament mascot, pose with him and post to social media for recognition.

Through NDA Regional Tournaments, players and operators have benefited by having additional and local opportunities to compete. With classification based on skill and more than 300 winners last year at NDA Regionals, players have a great chance of winning no matter what level they play.

The NDA announced that the following locations have been selected for this year’s Regional Tournaments: Phoenix, Nov. 20-22; Indianapolis, Dec. 4-6, and Rockford, Illinois, Jan. 8-10, 2016. More details will be released as these dates grow closer.

Building on the 30th anniversary of Team Dart May 1-9, at Bally’s Las Vegas, instructional and information videos about Team Dart and NDA tournaments are available on the NDA YouTube channel, and at www.NDAdarts.com.

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IAAPA’S Asian Expo 2015 to Hong Kong This June

Registration is now open for IAAPA’s Asian Attractions show running June 16-19 in Hong Kong. Expo 2015 organizers expect over 7,000 participants from 65 countries at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre venue. Dedicated to products and services for the Asia-Pacific attractions industry, the tradeshow floor will feature goods from over than 300 exhibitors.

State-of-the-art rides, motion simulators, water attractions, video and redemption games, theming, technology, food and beverage, and more will be on display. During the three days, visitors will be able to connect with more than 5,000 buyers from theme parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and resorts.

“The Asian Attractions Expo 2015 is a one-stop-shop for new and expanding theme parks and attractions in the Asia-Pacific region,” said IAAPA president and CEO Paul Noland. “AAE is the best marketplace in the region to connect suppliers developing the next groundbreaking products and services with visionaries creating these new projects, driving the growth of our industry.”

According to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2014-2018 report, the attractions industry in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at a rapid rate over the next several years. A wide variety of new projects and park expansions in China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia are contributing to the growth.

Their report estimates theme park attendance to increase 8.9 percent in 2015 as the region’s parks are expected to host 436 million people. By 2018, theme park attendance in the Asia-Pacific region will account for 48 percent of all global attendance, making it the largest theme park market in the world. In addition to the product showcase, a comprehensive industry education program, networking events, and visits to some of the region’s premier attractions is also on tap.

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Benchmark Ships Family-Styled Hoops Attraction

 A really cool, new basketball unit called Buzzer Bee-Ter landed at Benchmark Games’ Amusement Expo exhibit and is already shipping to their distributors. Benchmark says the piece has been designed for players of all ages. “Small kids, teenagers, women and parents can all have fun competing on this very bright and colorful machine,” says factory owner Al Kress.

Its compact and street-sized cabinet, measuring 8’D x 3’W x 7’H, offers both game rooms and street locations a “high quality and entertaining basketball solution for a very low cost,” Kress stated. “Set-up is relatively quick and very easy to install. And best of all – it’s available right now,” he declared.

The Buzzer Bee-Ter is location-ready with dual coin mechs along with a kit for linking up to a total of eight of these cute arcade basketball machines. Check it out at the Expo or contact Benchmark for further information at www.benchmarkgames.com.

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BullShooter Regionals Held in Knoxville and Pittsburgh

The BullShooter Tour recently stopped in Tennessee at the Holiday Inn Knoxville West at Cedar Bluff for their first Qualifying Regional. The event was co-sponsored by Arachnid dstributors Betson Southeast, Brady Distributing and Legacy Coin. The Regional was well attended with players from Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio attending.

Aurlin Kelley and Gregory Fields shot very well, capturing Men’s Doubles 501, Men’s Cricket Doubles, and Mixed Triples with Tabitah Foster. Aurlin won his fourth championship in Men’s Cricket Singles. Among other winners in Knoxville, Stacey Pace and Jennifer Baker won both Women’s Doubles 301 and Women’s Doubles Combo. Then Stacey won Women’s Singles Combo and teamed up with her husband, Danny Pace, to claim Mixed Doubles Cricket. Danny also won the prestigious Pro Cricket Singles event.

The BullShooter Tour followed Knoxville with another event in Pittsburgh for the Pennsylvania Qualifier. The event was co-sponsored by Betson Pittsburgh Dist. and is always one of the largest regionals.

Among those taking top honors was Don Stewart, who did well over the weekend winning Pro Cricket Singles, Pro/Am Cricket with Stephen Sorochman and Mixed Cricket with Michelle Hughes.

All winners received Qualifying Cards to the BullShooter Finals that will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 21-25. This year is the 30th Anniversary and will have the largest payout yet.

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Embed Installs System at Tilt Location in PA

Embed recently deployed their system at the Tilt Studio in Altoona, Penn. owned by Nickels and Dimes. This is the fifth location owned by the Texas-based game room specialist utilizing Embed’s wireless debit card system for the cashless, ticketless operation of games.

Embed’s Redemption Pro is also used to manage the merchandise display, as well as for the facility’s food & beverage sales and party and group functions. Additionally, their Online Party Planner allows customers to book parties and make deposits from the comfort of their own homes.

Kevin Jordan, Senior VP of Operations for Nickels and Dimes, said, “We continue to choose Embed for all our new stores because the installations go smoothly, we see a substantial increase in revenues, and their customer service is top-notch.”

Embed was previously deployed in Rink Side Sports in Gurnee, Ill., and the Tilt Studio locations in Katy, Texas, Joplin, Mo., and Marlborough, Mass. Tilt Studio features dozens of arcade games, redemption games, mini bowling, black light mini golf and laser tag. For more information, visit www.tiltstudio.com.

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Zombies to Take Over Big Buck HD!

On April 1, the highly anticipated 2015 Big Buck HD updates will be available. This original, all-new game content will feature the majestic Irish Elk, three new bonus games, and the chance to defeat zombies in In Case of Zombies: Doe of the Dead.

“The first ever animal update for Big Buck HD not only brings you the prehistoric Irish Elk, but a whole new comical zombie shooting adventure, ‘In Case of Zombies: Doe of the Dead.’ Now that’s wild!” said George Petro, President of Play Mechanix (a wholly owned subsidiary of Raw Thrills, Inc.)

Combining the best of Big Buck Hunter Pro and Big Buck Safari, HD also offers new challenges, awards and tournaments. All Big Buck HD games feature online connectivity, which allows players to track scores and compete in tournaments against players from across the country for cash prizes, making Big Buck HD a truly interactive experience.

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Player Loyalty Reports Available From I.T.

For many years, Golden Tee Golf operators have awarded incentives to their frequent players, which help keep them playing often and remain loyal to their routes. This way, they can leave the game set to default payment settings and only award the players who reach their specific thresholds.

To help facilitate this popular practice, Incredible Technologies has added a new reporting feature to online Operator Services accounts. The new feature allows owners of online Golden Tee LIVE machines to easily track game count totals for their players. Operators can select specific date ranges and target locations, or generate a report for all players on all their machines. Reports can be exported to Excel, and an optional monthly email service is also available.

To access Player Loyalty Reports, operators can log in to their Operator Services account at http://www2.itsgames.com/operators/services/index.jsp. Once logged in, select Player Loyalty Reports from the menu. First-time users are encouraged to click the email/settings link to authorize the reporting process. Once authorized, ITNet will begin to collect data and make it available on demand.

To run a report, operators select a time frame (up to 60 days) and select specific or all locations. Once submitted, the results by player are posted on screen, and can be downloaded to an Excel file. I.T. says the data is pre-sorted by player, so adding subtotals is an easy process.

An optional email service is available for monthly report summaries. Operators who enter a valid email address and check the authorization box will receive monthly summary reports automatically around the first of every month.

“Player Loyalty programs are a clever way for operators to cultivate and reward their player base and strengthen their game earnings”, said Don Pesceone, VP of Amusements at I.T. “There are many ways to run these programs, but easy access to game counts should make the process run more efficiently.”

Golden Tee gift cards designed to only work on a specific operator’s machines can also be ordered through Operator Services.

For more information on Golden Tee LIVE and other Incredible Technologies products visit the Amusements section of itsgames.com.

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Barrymore’s Using Intercard System at Its Detroit-Area Mega-FEC

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’s outside attractions.

Specific Intercard products used for the C.J. Barrymore’s installation include:

• 215 iReader II Eclipse high-definition swipe readers, to be used with Barrymore’s branded “Fun Cards;”

• Six iTeller II automated kiosks with full-motion video and QR scanners;

• iRedemption software to manage all prize transactions and inventory; and

• The iCashier POS system.

C.J. Barrymore’s database is hosted in the cloud, so there are no costly 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 percent, 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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SuzoHapp Is Now Exclusive Wells-Gardner Distributor

Wells-Gardner Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of HT Precision Technologies, Inc. of Taiwan, has named SuzoHapp as their exclusive distributor of LCDs for the amusement market in the U.S. SuzoHapp is a global leader in the distribution of machine components, serving both equipment operators and original manufacturers, and has two facilities in the U.S. Effective March 9, customers can order Wells-Gardner LCDs directly through SuzoHapp.

“We are pleased to join forces with SuzoHapp and are confident they will bring much value to our products and services,” said Wally Sa’d, General Manager of Wells-Gardner Technologies Inc. He added that this is a big move for the firm, which has been servicing our customers directly for many years. “We feel this change is necessary in order to better support our customer base and grow our business.”

Ron Partridge, SuzoHapp President, Americas, added, “We are extremely excited at the opportunity this new partnership presents. We are able to expand our LCD offering with a quality, industry-recognized manufacturer and provide our customers yet another reason to make SuzoHapp their one- stop-shop for amusement parts and solutions.”

Orders can be placed online at www.suzohapp.com or by calling the SuzoHapp Customer Care Department at 888/289-4277.

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Atari Pioneer Steve Bristow Is Gone

Before there was even an Atari, there was Steve Bristow working with trade icon Nolan Bushnell as an intern on Nutting Industries’ seminal Computer Space, considered the very first coin-operated video game.

After Bushnell started Atari with Pong, Bristow joined up working on such early pieces as Indy 800 and Tank, as well as the Pong followup Breakout alongside Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac (the three Steves).

He also helped give birth to the first home video console, Atari’s Model 2600. Bristow eventually became VP of Engineering and left the company in 1984. Condolences.


U.K. Trade Icon Bob Deith Is Gone

U.K. amusement industry leader Bob Deith passed away Friday, March 6.

Following his service in the Merchant Navy, Deith began his game sales career in the 1960s at London Coin, before setting up in business with the late Bill Ruffler in 1974. The firm that began life as Ruffler and Deith went on to become a major force in the U.K. distribution business as Deith Leisure, riding the ups and downs of the industry. Those ups and downs saw Bob Deith twice take his company public, before selling it to Sega in 1991, then buying it back (with the backing of Spanish gaming giant Cirsa), and finally selling the company to Jack and Ashley Temple, who later passed it on to Crown.

Deith also brought three sons into the business. The eldest son, Simon, moved to the U.S. in 1983 and has enjoyed success operating the import-export firm Deith Distributing and the domestic concern Deith Amusement and Vending. Back in the U.K., the other two sons, Leon and Matthew, also pursued various industry roles, working for prominent game factories and, at one point, setting up a distributorship with their father, the Deith Group.

Simon Deith, in remembering his late father, posted online: “He was the best dad, friend and mentor. I will miss him with all my heart.”

Funeral services were held March 30 at the Sacred Heart Church in London with a memorial reception following at the Pembroke Lodge in Richmond, Surrey.

Deith is survived by his three sons, his wife Ely, with whom he was married for 53 years, and five grandchildren.

Our deepest sympathies to the Deith family. May he rest in God’s peace.

Bob Deith...Special Memories

by Marc Haim,
Gold Coast International

I was aware of Bob Deith’s declining health for several months, but was still saddened to learn of his passing. He was one of the great achievers in the worldwide industry over four decades, especially in Great Britain where he changed the landscape of the business there.

From humble beginnings in the British Navy, Bob chose his career path in coin-op. As a young man starting his career, I met Bob when he was an aggressive young salesman working for Dave Rogers’ London Coin distributorship. Bob was smart, ambitious and successful. Ultimately, he found the aging London Coin too staid, so he started a new business with the highly respected and wealthy industry patriarch Bill Ruffler and went on to build the leading distributor in the U.K.

Bob and I remained close business friends, and when his son Simon came of age, he asked if my R.H. Belam Company could use a smart but green kid. I jumped at the chance, and a month later, Simon was in New York, cementing a long term relationship that tied the Deith and Haim families together. Simon was a superstar, following in his father’s footsteps, and business flourished on both sides of the Atlantic.

Deith Leisure became part of the Hawley Leisure empire and the now-public Deith Leisure nearly merged with Belam. Six years later, the corporate union did occur, as Deith Leisure and R.H. Belam joined under the public parent Corton Beach (Suzo fell under the same umbrella). As the years went on, both Bob Deith and I bought our companies back, and proceeded our own ways, but always with the greatest warmth and respect for each other.

My respect and admiration for Bob Deith continues to this day. He was a great man, my mentor in many ways, and I will always have a warm spot in my heart for his family. My sincerest condolences go out to his beloved Ely, and to Simon, Leon and Matthew.

The Industry Has Lost A True English Gentleman

by Ralph Coppola,
ICE President

Bob Deith and Ralph CoppolaWhile having dinner with my wife last Friday night, I received a phone call, one of those calls which causes life to momentarily stop. Simon Deith called to tell me that, sadly, his father and my long time friend, Bob, had passed away.

I’ve known Bob since I first met him at AMOA in the fall of 1982. The meeting could be categorized as “Hall of Famer vs Rookie,” but I was sure made to feel like I was “the only guy in the room,” one of the many traits which contributed to Bob’s being a true English gentleman.

That initial meeting led to a wonderful and very meaningful relationship, one for which I am forever grateful and one which had a profound impact on ICE getting off the ground, by the way, at a very fragile time in the company’s brief history.

In January of 1983, I attended the ATEI show in London, my first of over 30 January trips to London. Of course, after having met Bob at the previous AMOA, safe to say, our game, our very first coin-op game, CHEXX Hockey, was in Bob’s booth. CHEXX was considered really different, kind of revolutionary in the industry, and for sure, Bob didn’t leave our first meeting without locking up the sales rights at least for the London show.

I attended my first and BEST BACTA Ball, compliments of Bob and Ely, his gracious wife. I was made to feel like royalty, even though in reality, I was a newcomer and the product was unproven. I’ll always remember Ely driving us back to the hotel, and despite the late hour, Bob asked me to meet him at his office at 10 a.m. to close a deal.

A deal it was! Bob presented me with a purchase order for 500 units of CHEXX, my first real P.O. And ICE was now officially on its way.

Over the next several years, I was fortunate to have Bob represent several of our games. He was the consummate salesman and the best “closer” I have ever met. He taught me a lot without even knowing it, but above all, Bob was a true gentleman!

I am saddened by his passing. I want his wife and family, especially Simon, to know how much he meant to me, my family and to ICE. Hopefully, ICE will continue forward for many years, in no small way, thanks to Bob’s commitment to me and to our company.

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People on the Move

Patrick Mills, most recently with the Verizon Wireless organization, has joined Coastal Amusements’ domestic sales department where he will interface with domestic distributors to increase the company’s market share and brand awareness.

Seen above (right) at the recent CEMA show in Southern California with their current video redemption attraction Subway Surfers, Patrick will be at the Amusement Expo in Las Vegas demonstrating this coin-op version of the popular smart phone app and the factory’s other new games for spring market buyers. (Patrick is pictured with Denise Camacho, Pablo Estrada and Asmir Cirkis.)

While at Verizon, Patrick worked his way up from field technician, through retail sales and finally into a sales manager’s slot. “Having both sales and technical skills, his hands-on approach to his job will be valuable to Coastal and its customers,” stated the company’s co-owner Lenny Dean.

• • •
Stern Pinball recently announced the addition of two vice presidents to support its aggressive growth plans.

Ray Tanzer became VP of Manufacturing. Tanzer assumes accountability for all activities connected to SPI’s manufacturing operations. A mechanical engineer by training, Tanzer started his career as a pinball designer and formerly was responsible for Product Development at SPI. He also served as VP of Manufacturing and Engin­eering at Namco America before returning to SPI in 2014. Since re-joining SPI, Ray has successfully led two very large projects including the company’s upcoming move to new facilities.

Kevin Schechtel has joined Stern as VP of Supply Chain Management, Program Management and Quality. He comes from the supplier, Suzo-Happ Group, where he most recently served as VP of North American Operations, Global Quality and Contin­u­ous Improvement. Earlier in his career, he worked at Motor­ola and Northrop Grumman. Schechtel is a mechanical engineer who holds 19 patents. He will lead the organization-wide Total Quality Improvement program and focus on improving the overall performance of SPI’s supply chain.

“Ray and Kevin are great additions to our executive team,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball, Inc. “They fill complementary roles that are critically important to our continued growth and future success. Most importantly, they’re extraordinary individuals who fit well with our culture.”

• • •
A&A Global Industries, a supplier of vending and amusement toys, novelties, plush, candy and gum, has named Ann Krull as their new Redemption Sales Manager.

“Ann brings a unique skill set in new business development, program management and customer service,” said Gerry Clothier, Vice President of Sales. “She has extensive experience in strategizing and account management. Combine this with her deep industry knowledge, Ann provides A&A Global the edge in helping our customers grow their businesses.”

In her new position, Krull will be responsible for expanding A&A Global’s role as a major supplier to amusement parks, family entertainment centers and arcades throughout the U.S.

Krull has over 20 years of expertise as an account executive, including 14 years of serving the redemption industry.

“Looking at the competitive landscape in the redemption industry today, I am extremely impressed with A&A Global’s mission, products and direction,” said Krull. “I look forward to bringing solutions to the market that I have spent most of my life serving.”

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One More Thing . . . by Ed Adlum

Anybody remember Bobby Vinton? He had a pretty decent string of hit 45s back in the ’60s like Mr. Lonely, Roses Are Red and in later years, one called My Melody of Love whose refrain was sung in Polish and was played constantly on the radio while being blared through speakers outside record stores until you grew to hate it.

What people don’t know is that Vinton was as much a businessman as a performer. He knew how to market his singing act very well. When I worked for Cash Box Magazine back then, he had an office in a building diagonally across Broadway and 57th in New York from ours. One day, he called to ask if I had a mailing list of jukebox operators he could borrow to send signed photos of himself to with an inscription like “thanks for the spins” written on it.

I sent him a list and sometime afterward, he asked me to come across the street and up to his office where he gave me a set of cufflinks with my initials spelled out in rhinestones (which I thanked him for and promptly lost). Some years after, Bobby called me again with a much more unusual request. He wanted to buy a slot machine.

Now, remember that this happened way before there was an Atlantic City or Indian casinos. It was a time when a slot was one hot item to get your hands on. I told Bobby I had a source out in Jersey and he was to stand by until I made contact.
I then called my source and managed to get his interest when I invoked the name Bobby Vinton. He said every slot came with a set of papers the government required so they could track its movement around and out of the country. But, in this case, he’d manage to “cannibalize” the machine itself and for me to have Bobby call him and ask about a “fruit machine” (what some of us called them back then).

Ten minutes later, my source called me, rather upset. “Who was the guy you said wanted that machine? It wasn’t Vinton. It was somebody else who actually asked, and I quote: “How much do you want for that slot machine?’” It turned out Bobby was only a go-between for a mutual acquaintance we both knew in the record business we called “P.B.” I told Bobby that things don’t work that way and to please forget about buying a “fruit machine” from my Jersey friend.

One further note about P.B. I bet Drew Maniscalco will know this. The Beatles’ original drummer was a kid named Pete Best. Apparently, their manager Brian Epstein didn’t think he cut the mustard and talked the boys into replacing him with Ringo Starr. Well, old P.B. got his hands on some recordings Pete Best had made after he was dismissed and produced an LP album of them. The blazing words on the cover of the album P.B. released were Best of the Beatles. Ain’t life fun?

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