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June 2015

Items In This Month's News Digest

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Trade Leaders Meet With U.S. Mint & Congress

Leaders of both the American Amusement Machine Assn. and the Amusement and Music Operators Assn. traveled to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with officials at the U.S. Mint, as well members of Congress.

AAMA was represented by EVP John Schultz, board members Pete Gustafson (Sega) and Chris Felix (CPI) along with Phil Cohn of TouchTunes and Joe Camarota of Alpha Omega Amusements. AMOA was represented by EVP Jack Kelleher along with operators Donovan Fremin (Louisiana), Jim Marsh (Washington), Tony Paszkiewicz (Maryland) and Greg and Maria Trent (Florida).

The association representatives met with officials of the U.S Mint to formally present the findings of a study competed last fall looking at the impact of a proposed steel-based quarter. That study found that the savings to the government would be far eclipsed by the costs to private industry and the consumer. “We want to continue the dialogue with the Mint,” explained AAMA’s John Schultz. “We formally presented our survey that we put together last year.”

While the Mint advised Congress against moving forward with the steel quarter last year, Mint officials told various stakeholders in March that it was continuing to explore ideas that would cut the current cost of coin production.

Following the meeting with the Mint, the industry members fanned out across Capitol Hill the following day to discuss a range of small business issues with their representatives in Congress. The meetings were coordinated by the Dentons law firm, which serves as legislative counsel to both groups.

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Stern Pinball Moves Into Larger Factory

Stern Pinball last month moved to larger facilities in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, just minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The company said the new 110,000-square-foot facility, located at 2001 Lunt Avenue, enables them to consolidate operations to improve efficiencies and better support global growth initiatives. A press statement from this ... the industry’s oldest and largest pingame manufacturer ... declared:

“The expansion is in response to the continued worldwide growth of the pinball industry, the resurgence of which has been fueled by a rapidly growing international collector community, expanding competitive player leagues, and renewed commercial demand driven by a new generation of players discovering the allure of the silver ball. The new facility approximately doubles the company’s design, engineering and production capacity.

“We’re looking forward to calling Elk Grove Village our new home,” said CEO and Chairman Gary Stern. “The proximity to Chicago O’Hare Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, will make it even easier for pinball fans around the globe to visit our facility, as well as metropolitan Chicago, the ancestral home of modern pinball.”

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Raw Thrills Takes Aggressive Action Against Piracy

Amusement game manufacturer Raw Thrills recently launched an international anti-piracy program to attack global violations of the factory’s intellectual property rights.

“Raw Thrills has been alerted to the presence of inferior, defective, illegal copies of our games,” said the company’s sales honcho Mark Struhs. “We received a large increase in service calls due to premature failure of games in Asia and verified these defective units were copy games. We have conducted investigations and actions against several targets in China and Australia, and our investigations are continuing. We have acquired customer lists and will seek damages against anyone manufacturing, operating or selling these illegal games.

“Our program is designed to eliminate piracy of Raw Thrills products, protecting our customers from inferior, defective games” Struhs continued. “Make sure to purchase Raw Thrills games only from authorized distributors. Our message is clear: If you manufacture, distribute or operate copies of Raw Thrills products, we are going after you. We will use all criminal and civil remedies available to us.”

Raw Thrills has retained the services of the law firms SIPS and Baker & McKenzie, as well as industry veteran Bob Fay, former FBI agent and anti-piracy IP protection expert. A team of investigators in China has already identified, and is continuing to investigate, suspected game pirates. Local authorities in China are conducting raids and seizures, including SuperBikes 2 and Dirty Drivin’ copies.

“To date, our efforts have identified three Chinese companies: Yida Electronics Factory, Luxing Animation Technology Company and a third company that cannot be named at this time,” said Struhs. “All three have signed undertakings acknowledging their illegal dealings in Raw Thrill copies, offering apologies and compensatory actions, and will cease and desist these activities. Copy games found on location have been destroyed and financial settlements have been negotiated.

“We are conducting appropriate follow-up investigations in other Asian countries: Turkey, South Africa, India, Russia, the Middle East and other areas,” Struhs said.

The Raw Thrills legal team has also reportedly identified an importer and distributor of copies in Australia. This company has also agreed to cooperate and has identified its Chinese supplier and Australian customers.

“We will also be doing take downs of advertisements for Raw Thrills copies appearing on Alibaba and other online platforms,” noted Struhs.

Raw Thrills has been coordinating its efforts with Chinese copyright enforcement authorities, as well as other affected game makers. Additional investigations and actions will be taking place in coordination with these other companies.

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Venco to Offer OptConnect Wireless Tech

 Venco Business Solutions has entered into a partnership with OptConnect Wireless Solutions to provide wireless services and devices. This partnership allows Venco to sell the OptConnect wireless solution to its customer base.

Venco offers technology solutions to restaurants and entertainment venues, including games, jukeboxes, ATMs, camera systems and more. As customer needs have changed, Venco has consistently adapted to offer the latest technology solutions, the company said.

More machines than ever utilize an Internet connection to offer consumers dynamic content and payment flexibility. Rather than running network or phone lines throughout a location, the use of a wireless data connection allows for quicker deployment and greater placement flexibility.

“We are excited to partner with Venco in offering wireless services. Venco has a tradition of offering great service to customers and helping them achieve their goals. We are grateful to be a part of that,” said Chris Bard, EVP of OptConnect.

OptConnect offers managed, end-to-end wireless service, including hardware, network access, remote monitoring and management. OptConnect’s network of devices are monitored 24/7, along with a dedicated support team available to address customer needs.

“OptConnect sets the standard when it comes to supporting their products,” noted John Newberry, President and founder of Venco Business Solutions. “We know OptConnect stands behind their product and their network, and it gives me a great deal of confidence as we offer OptConnect solutions to our customers.”

Venco will offer OptConnect Wireless service –– available immediately –– at a rate of $19.99/month for ATMs and $29.95/month for jukeboxes with no contract terms and no upfront hardware expense. Additionally, Venco advised that AMI customers will not need a router as the OptConnect unit is built in. “This pricing model makes it easy for customers to make the move to wireless without a large commitment,” added Venco.

For more information about Venco, visit vencosolutions.com.

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Bay Tek Launches Grand Piano Keys

Bay Tek Games has begun shipping their new ticket redemption game, Grand Piano Keys.

Grand Piano Keys made its debut at Amusement Expo in March after a prototype had been shown at IAAPA 2014. It features an attention-grabbing cabinet and marquee and can be played as a one- or two-player competitive piece.

“Grand Piano Keys is a game that has pleasantly surprised us from the very beginning. This game has a presence that draws players in from across the room, but more importantly it has a competitive nature that creates repeat players,” said Bay Tek Account Manager Anna Heck.

Players hit the oversized keys that match the colored squared on the 60” video monitor accumulating tickets as they go along. The more accurately the game is played, the more tickets that are won. The player-paced play of Grand Piano Keys appeals to all ages, says the factory.

To learn more, contact Bay Tek Games at 920/822-3951; email sales@baytekgames.com.

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Elaut & Bay Tek Partner to Build Tower of Tickets

Elaut USA, the U.S.-based affiliate of the Belgian game maker Elaut, has teamed up with Wisconsin-based redemption factory Bay Tek to produce the former’s new Tower of Tickets.

The game is a re-branding of a previous Elaut USA title, Knock It Off, and offers four-player, rotary-style play with bundles of tickets as the prizes. The factory explained that the inspiration for the re-branded game came from veteran FEC operator and longtime RePlay columnist Frank Seninsky, who pioneered the operation of ticket rotaries using Knock It Off units.

Of the new manufacturing partnership, Elaut USA top exec Glenn Kramer said: “I’ve never worked with a more professional group than Bay Tek. What started as a simple conversation between Bay Tek’s Rick Rochetti and myself has grown to what everyone at Elaut hopes to be a long-term relationship between our companies.

“As our factory in Belgium was already at full capacity and adding this to our production schedule would have yielded machines sometime in 2016, Eric Verstraeten and I agreed that an alternative plan was necessary,” Kramer continued. “So we grabbed our machine and headed to the Bay Tek factory in Wisconsin. After meeting with the team there, we knew that we were clearly in the right place. Without the blink of an eye, Ken Deering and his team of engineers moved quickly to create a plan and in just a few short weeks, the improved Tower of Tickets was born and testing on location.”

Tower of Tickets is fully auditable and programmable. Features include: multi-coin input, DBA and swipe card ready, winner beacon, LED lighting package, high-visibility marquee, tilt bob and alarm protection and the newly dubbed E’Tek operating system.

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New Jersey Approves Fishbowl Frenzy

Team Play has received written notice that its video redemption game Fishbowl Frenzy has been approved for operation in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Control Commission examines amusement games to determine whether they satisfy statutory requirements. Among other factors considered, the game play must be for entertainment purposes and based on the player’s active participation and skill.

Team Play’s Chief Marketing Officer and President Frank Pellegrini said, “The New Jersey commissioner who called me was very complimentary and was extremely impressed with the Fishbowl Frenzy game. It was especially nice to hear such high praise from someone who examines virtually every redemption game on the market.”

Team Play will ship Fishbowl Frenzy games into New Jersey preloaded with software version 1.08 NJ. The version number appears on the game’s LED screen during the power cycle. In addition, a New Jersey addendum to the operator’s manual will be provided with the game and is available for download from Team Play’s website www.teamplayinc.com at the Fishbowl Frenzy Tech Support page.

Fishbowl Frenzy combines a 65” one-piece, transmissive LCD monitor with real fishbowls, skill-based mechanical game play, a challenging field of pin obstacles and 3D video graphics.

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Triotech Dark Ride Opens at Knott’s

Triotech reports the opening of its new interactive dark ride Voyage to the Iron Reef at Knott’s Berry Farm, located in the greater Los Angeles area. The park is part of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which also owns Canada’s Wonderland where Triotech installed the award-winning ride Wonder Mountain’s Guardian in May 2014.

“Los Angeles is one of the epicenters of entertainment so it is quite an accomplishment for Triotech to launch a major attraction here,” said Ernest Yale, Triotech CEO. “Voyage to the Iron Reef keeps pushing the bar for interactive dark rides especially with regards to interactivity, immersion, and projection quality.”

In this new Steampunk-inspired ride, Triotech has designed and deployed projection and interactive gaming systems as well as content which allows guests to experience a 3D adventure enhanced with 4D effects.

In Voyage to the Iron Reef, guests climb aboard four-person submarine- inspired ride vehicles and embark on a media-based gaming adventure into the Iron Reef that is located below the park’s Boardwalk zone. Equipped with an interactive freeze ray device, guests combat the Kraken Queen and her scavenging minions as they attempt to save Knott’s from destruction.

Along the way, the submarines navigate 600 feet of track and eleven scenes featuring hundreds of creatures and other special effects.

“Voyage to the Iron Reef is an incredible and innovative attraction that Knott’s Berry Farm’s guests will want to ride over and over. Our collaboration with Triotech resulted in a visually stunning and highly interactive ride that’s unlike anything else in the park,” said Raffi Kaprelyan, VP and GM of Knott’s Berry Farm.

Voyage to the Iron Reef is the centerpiece of an exciting time for Triotech. The company just celebrated its 15th anniversary and completed installation of its award winning Interactive Dark Ride technology at Hello Kitty Park in Shanghai, China and at FunLab in Istanbul, Turkey. The company is working on several other high profile projects in the USA, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

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Splash Kingdom Selects CenterEdge

CenterEdge Software has been chosen as the new systems provider for Splash Kingdom Family Waterparks. Mickey Lewis, Sales and Marketing Director for Splash Kingdom, said: “We are very excited to deploy CenterEdge Software in Splash Kingdom Big Texas Fun in Amarillo, Timber Falls Nacogdoches, and Air Patrol in Greenville this year. We are confident that CenterEdge is the best choice for our parks because they deliver a robust feature set that is tailored to our needs.”

Splash Kingdom will utilize CenterEdge Point of Sale at the parks to facilitate admission, season pass, and food and beverage sales along with cabana rentals. Splash Kingdom will also take full advantage of CenterEdge’s ability to manage their group, birthday, and corporate event business. In addition to the use of CenterEdge at each park, Splash Kingdom will deploy CenterEdge’s fully-integrated online services platform which allows guests to purchase tickets and season passes in advance of their visit.

“Splash Kingdom Waterparks are a vital member of the waterpark community and we are thrilled to have been chosen to work with them as they continue to expand their brand,” noted CenterEdge’s Marcus Mayer, CEO of the North Carolina based software provider.

For additional information on Splash Kingdom, visit their website at www.splashkingdomwaterpark.com.

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Apple Exhibits in Dubai

Apple Industries executives say their line of Face Place Photo Booths continue their sixth year of successful growth in the Middle East, in large part through the dedication and hard work of their distributor, Warehouse of Games in Dubai.

Apple displayed two of their eleven models at the recent DEAL Expo in Dubai, the Face Place Scene Machine and the Face Place Magazine Me. Apple CEO Allen Weisberg said: “A good number of FECs in that part of the world have enjoyed high revenue numbers with Magazine Me and are now beginning to use the Scene Machine as a second photo booth in their larger locations.”

The Face Place Scene Machine features green screen capability and a 6” x 9” jumbo photo that is particularly popular as a souvenir with FEC patrons.

“We’ve made many friends in the Middle East over the past six years, and we spend a lot of time listening to their input,” said Weisberg. “It was a direct result of a simple conversation with a Warehouse of Games’ customer that we now use a 6” x 9” jumbo print in our Scene Machine.”

To learn more about Apple photo booths, log on to www.faceplacephoto.com or call 516/619-8000.

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Dave & Buster’s Chain to Adopt Embed’s New Smart-Touch Reader

Debit card technology provider Embed reports that Dave & Buster’s is reinventing their guests’ Midway experience with Embed’s next-generation Smart-Touch reader. All 74 D&B locations throughout the U.S. and Canada are in the process of conversion with many high profile sites, such as Times Square, Arundel Mills (Maryland), Milpitas (Calif.), Dallas and Miami already using the Smart-Touch reader.

Embed says that in order to achieve an interactive, customizable experience at the point of play, Dave & Buster’s selected the Smart-Touch reader, “which employs a forward-looking design, supports three types of guest interactions and delivers advanced operational flexibility.” The Smart-Touch reader will be widely available in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Dave & Buster’s Sr. VP of Entertainment and Game Strategy Kevin Bachus said, “Embed worked tirelessly with our team to design a system that goes beyond just starting a game, to a whole new level of consumer engagement. The end result is a beautiful reader that is getting very positive guest feedback. We are confident that Embed’s Smart-Touch reader is the absolute best card system available.”

Theo Sanders, CEO of Embed parent company Helix Leisure, said, “We admire Dave & Buster’s drive to enhance their guest experience through innovation and technology. We’re very pleased to play a part in that with Dave & Buster’s being the launch customer for our next-generation of Smart-Touch readers.”

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Jersey Approves Three Coastal Games

Three new games from Coastal Amusements have been approved by the New Jersey Games Commission for operation on the Jersey Shore: Yahtzee, Black Hole and Subway Surfer.

“All three titles have proven to be successful earners all across the country. The Jersey Shore operators can now enjoy the same success” says Lenny Dean, president of the New Jersey-based company.

“We have had a vested interest in the Jersey Shore for over 40 years and continue to support our home market,” continued Sal Mirando, EVO and co-founder of Coastal.

All three titles will ship with special software, approved by the commission, that conforms to all state requirements.

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Sacoa Installs Playcard in Costa del Sol

Sacoa recently deployed the Playcard system in Costa del Sol, Malaga, one of the largest of Sould Park’s 22 facilities across Spain.

Spreading over an area of 32,000 square feet, this is the 10th Sould Park location to install Sacoa’s HDT ColorShot readers for the operation of their numerous attractions, including a safari train, a Scalextric Paris Dakar, water boats, trampolines, fishing ducks, shooting and sports machines halls, an American track, a SpongeBob bouncy castle, a jumping star free-fall, a Ferris wheel, a samba balloon and a flying carousel, among others.

With 15 years of history, Sould Park is known as being a leader in the provision of playgrounds for malls or leisure, shopping and entertainment areas. They started the change last year from token operation to rechargeable cards, choosing Sacoa as their exclusive debit card system supplier. “This initiative has been adopted for the benefit of consumers who can count now with more safety, security and speed, as well as to further professionalize the internal methodology of the parks,” said Sould Park executives.

Miguel Angel Notario, owner of Sould Park, said, “The implementation of the Sacoa system is the best move I made for my parks and my business. I have improved my earnings 32% and the control 100%.”

More Sould parks will soon be implementing the card system. For additional information on the Sacoa Playcard system, visit the website at www.sacoacard.com.

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AMOA-NDA Team Dart Celebrates Int’l. Winners

The AMOA-National Dart Association (NDA) held its 30th anniversary international soft-tip dart tournament, Team Dart at Bally’s Las Vegas May 1-9. More than 2,600 players from across five countries came for the fun, friends and competition. Over 2,100 payouts were awarded to 1,100 competitors from all skill levels.

The tournament is unique in that skill levels range from beginner to master. All participants are classified into levels according to their individual or team’s skill rating. With up to 18 levels in each event, players are up against others of like skill, making Team Dart competitive for all levels of players.

More NDA operator members sent players to Team Dart this year with 144 operators participating. To compete, a player must be NDA-sanctioned and compete in at least 96 league games during a specified period for the NDA-affiliated coin-op company who enters the player in the tournament. This game requirement, said the NDA, is an important incentive to increase local league play for its operator members.

Team Dart had over 300 electronic dart machines set up within 85,000 square feet of meeting space, making it one of the largest soft-tip tournaments in the world. Players had the option of participating in up to 12 events throughout nine days of competition.

During this year’s International Challenge on May 6, teams from Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the U.S. competed for the title and bragging rights. The U.S. women’s team defeated Germany for first place while the U.S. men’s team defeated Germany for top honors.

NDA thanked its sponsors for their continued support of the tournament and the association. In attendance to accept awards were AMOA President Jerry Johnston, Arachnid’s Sam Zammuto, Cyberdine’s Mate Vukoja, Gaelco Darts’ Adam Lipinski and NSM-Löwen Entertainment’s Helmut Schneller. Arachnid, Cyberdine, Gaelco and NSM-Löwen provided 312 dartboards for the tournament floor. Manufacturers also provided games in their on-site booths for players to enjoy outside of competition. The NDA also thanked MVP Awards, Discount Custom Apparel and A-Z Darts for their continued support of the association and Team Dart.

Team Dart 2016 is scheduled for April 22-27 at Bally’s Las Vegas and will feature a shortened schedule to accommodate more players (see related news item). Watch for details at www.NDAdarts.com.

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NDA Hall of Fame Welcomes Warren, Bruner

The AMOA-NDA welcomed two new inductees into its Hall of Fame during the President’s Reception on May 7 at Team Dart 2015 in Las Vegas. As members who exemplify excellent service and dedication to the association, NDA recognized Britt Bruner and Chris Warren as recipients of the 2015 Hall of Fame Awards.

Bruner (above), VP of D&E Music and Vending in Mitchell, S.D., and Manford Music and Vending in Huron, S.D., is about to celebrate 25 years with both companies. An NDA member for just as long, Bruner has served two terms on the NDA Board of Directors and was elected president in 2008. As a past-president, he has remained active through several NDA committees, has worked at Team Dart in various capacities over the years and has been both a presenter and planner at the NDA’s biennial education conference, League SMART. He is also the tournament director for both the South Dakota State Dart Tournament and the Heartland Tournament.
During the course of Bruner’s tenure as tournament director for the South Dakota State Dart Tournament, the event has grown from two days to five with nearly 800 teams participating, and has raised over $350,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation of South Dakota.

AMOA Past President Chris Warren (right) of Century Gaming Technologies has been in the coin-operated game industry for more than 33 years. An NDA member for 23 of those years, Warren served as the AMOA liaison to the NDA Board of Directors for five years beginning in 2004. Following that term, he became president of the NDA in 2010, and has served on several committees and worked at Team Dart over the years as well. From Montana, he has been involved in the Montana State Dart Tournament for five years.

“This award means very much to me because the NDA is such a great association and the leader in electronic darts,” said Warren. “It puts me in a very special group of people who have dedicated so much of their time to the NDA over the years. There are so many others who deserve this award.”

Hall of Fame candidates are evaluated on various criteria including, but not limited to: levels of contributions locally, nationally and internationally over the last 10 years, programs/sponsor development, tournament service, leadership service and increased awareness of the sport.

“Being elected to the NDA Hall of Fame is a huge deal to me! I am so honored. Being recognized by my peers is very important to me, but this isn’t a singular honor,” said Bruner. “It is an honor I share with my family, co-workers, and the players. Without their sacrifices, none of this would have happened. I am truly blessed.”

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NDA Team Dart to Shorten 2016 Tourney Schedule

The AMOA-National Dart Association announced a new, shortened schedule for Team Dart 2016. To be held April 22-27 at Bally’s Las Vegas, next year’s tournament will feature six days of competition.

The group says the new schedule, in response to NDA operator and player feedback, makes it easier and more affordable for players to stay for the entire tournament and get the full Team Dart experience. Schedule details can be found online at www.NDAdarts.com/ teamdart.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to offer everyone a chance to experience all of Team Dart, with a six-day competition schedule instead of nine,” said Alvin Gerlach, President of the NDA. “This shortened schedule was asked for by operators and players, and means less money out of pocket for travel expenses and more opportunities to play in additional events and win. We hope to see everyone in Vegas next year, as we roll out this exciting change.”

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N.J. Okays BSR’s Rescue 1

Bob’s Space Racers Rescue 1 redemption game was recently approved for operation in New Jersey, reports factory sales exec Ron Malinowski. “We are pleased with the approval and importantly with its timing,” said Ron. “With all the shore type operations eying Memorial Day openings, this gives everyone the opportunity to procure a tried and true Midway product.”

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AVS Offers Preventative Maintenance Sessions

American Vending Sales hosted gaming operators and technicians to a preventative maintenance educational seminar on April 22.

AVS Game Shop Manager Chris Pertle and Technician James Cummings led the sessions, which focused on how to properly set up, clean, and maintain IGT video gaming machines and M3T redemption kiosks to avoid down time.

“There are a number of service calls we receive that can be avoided with simple preventative maintenance practices,” said Pertle. “Our goal is to give operators and their technicians the tools and education to help them keep their games and kiosks up and earning.”

Attendees were given samples of some items that can assist them in their preventative maintenance routine, including screen, bill acceptor and card reader cleaners. These items, as well as a full preventative maintenance kit, are available through the AVS parts department.

AVS hosted a second seminar on May 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield.

More information can be obtained by visiting www.americanvending.com.

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Digital Centre Shows At First Photo Booth Expo

Digital Centre attended the first-ever Photo Booth Expo held April 13-15 in Las Vegas.

“The turnout was successful and the response from attendees reaffirmed that the photo booth rental and coin-op industries are trending,” noted D.C. “Whether you were just getting started in photo booth rental, or you were an established veteran such as Digital Centre America, you were sure to feast your eyes on the latest technologies to benefit social and corporate events.”

D.C. noted that many of the exhibitors were so-called “homemade” booths, reinforcing the appeal of professionally produced machines from experienced suppliers. “From their modern aesthetic design and user-friendly software, to their durable aluminum-built booths, our units out-shined the competition,” D.C. execs claimed.

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Upcoming State Association Meetings

• The Georgia Amusement and Music Operators Assn. will hold its annual Trade Show on Sept. 11 -12. Special rates are available for AMOA members. To learn more, log on to www.gamoa.org.

• The Missouri Amusement and Music Operators Assn. annual meeting and auction will be held Aug. 21-22 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Columbia Missouri.

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AMOA Road Scholar Heading To Atlanta

AMOA recently announced that the 2015 AMOA Road Scholar program will take place November 7-8 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Atlanta Westin Airport Hotel, Atlanta, Ga.

Program plans are taking shape for the event, which features an intensive weekend immersion into timely topics and issues, featuring presenters from both inside and outside the industry.

Designed to be both time and cost effective for attendees, the Road Scholar concept is also built on convenience. One of the criteria since its inception in 2013 has been to conduct it at an easy-to-get-to spot near an airport in a major city. The first two –– in Chicago and Denver –– fit the bill and were highly-rated by participants, according to AMOA.

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

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Obituary: Oregon’s Alvin Lindley Passes Away

Alvin Lane Lindley, who was a partner in Amusement Unlimited with AMOA President Jerry Johnston for 38 years, died April 30. He was 85.

Lindley was honored by the Oregon state association last year. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty Lou Neet Lindley, as well as four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A celebration of Lindley’s life was conducted at Northwood Christian Church in Springfield, Oregon.

Johnston told the AMOA newsletter Off The Top that Lindley “officially” retired from Amusement Unlimited in October 2014. “He was a great partner and Ducks fan,” Johnston was quoted as saying to the online publication.

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People on the Move

American Vending Sales has hired Eileen Schreiner onto their amusement sales force. Schreiner joined the company in April after spending nearly 15 years in the home décor and design industry where she held positions in sales and training with leading industry companies.

Schreiner will work with street operators as well as supporting AVS’ expanding FEC brand, Entertainment Equipment Experts. “Eileen is a great addition to our team,” said Tony Shamma, AVS VP of Music and Game Sales. “Her background in sales as well as her knowledge of design will be a major asset for our customers who are developing new game rooms.”

Eileen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Elmhurst College. She has two grown children and lives in St. Charles, IL with her husband. Eileen can be reached at 847/709-6250 or eschreiner@americanvending.com.

• • •

Longtime Namco operations veteran Darin Pilcher has joined the Pelican Group. He is serving as Regional Manager for the Northeast, working with local operators who provide machines and services to Pelican accounts. “The Pelican Group is a very dynamic company,” said Pilcher. “In addition to amusements and vending they continue to add new items to their portfolio making them a leader in innovation and implementation. For me, it’s also pretty nice to meet and work closely with other operators of amusements and vending.” Darren can be reached at 925/309-8529, mobile 847/809-7761, email dpilcher@pelicangroup.com.

• • •

Hero Distributing, distributor of TouchTunes digital jukeboxes in the western U.S., recently added Paula Evans as Manager of Sales and Business Development. She brings more than 15 years of experience in corporate and consumer sales, marketing, business development, partnerships and special events. In her role at Hero Distributing, she will lead the company’s business development and sales to amusement operators in California and across the far western U.S.

Michael Martinez, CEO of Hero, said, “We are excited to welcome Paula Evans to Hero Distributing. Her talent for developing new business and her commitment to the customer relationship make Paula a great fit for the Hero team. I know she will add tremendous value as we extend our partnerships with operators in California and beyond.” To learn more, log on towww.herodistributing.com.

• • •

Following rapid growth and the launch of major projects in all continents, Triotech recently announced key promotions and additions to its team:

Weitao Liu has been promoted to Managing Director for China in recognition of his leadership in developing Triotech’s substantial footprint in this key market.

Vincently Brie recently joined the company as VP for Site Operations. He will be further expanding partnerships with local operators as well as developing new sites where the company intends to deploy its immersive experiences in various parts of the world. Brie has a background in strategy and business development over his 25-year career, during which he successfully led the development of high profile attractions globally such as the observation deck at Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Star Wars Identities touring exhibition.

Harley Bostock comes aboard to lead the development of Triotech’s business in the Asia Pacific Region. He has spent most of his career in this region in various senior business development positions in our industry, notably with WhiteWater. His responsibility will be to further expand the firm’s presence in this important geographic area.

Joseph Joy is a new addition to the team handling the U.S. market. Joseph will be adding his well-recognized credentials earned over a 25-year career with Vortex International and other companies in entertainment industry. He will complement Triotech’s successful U.S. business, which has been led for many years by David Swafford, who remains with the firm and is based in Texas.

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One More Thing

Way, way back in the ’50s, Valley’s Bumper Pool was supplanted by “real” pool in the route operator’s machine mix. At 25 cents a game, these 6-pocket tables made more money than the jukebox for many and spawned quite a few new manufacturers including such bygone brands as Fischer, All-Tech, United and another called U.S. Billiards.

This last one was founded by New York City distributor Al Simon in order to get a pool table line to sell to his customers, because every other existing brand was already being handled by a competitive distributor, leaving Big Al out in the cold.

Simon set up his factory out on Long Island in a town called Amityville, known more for the book and movie rather than as a place where pool tables were built. He eventually hired a sales manager from Philadelphia named Len Schneller, which brings me to the subject of this month’s column.

Lenny had made his stripes in the coin machine business in the City of Brotherly Love, and was now hoisted onto the national stage with the mandate to sell the pool tables Al Simon’s people built in the shadow of the infamous house that actually exists. Len was the kind of salesman who knew how to market himself as well as his product. He was a great storyteller who knew all those corny jokes that made comedian Henny Youngman famous. Some distributors and operators said they bought U.S. Billiards tables not because they liked the way the table was built, but because of the guy they bought it from and also because of the player-promotion he developed.

Trade veterans know I’m talking about the U.S. Billiards Pool Tournaments. Predating the Valley League (VNEA) by quite a few years, Schneller based his program on the shuffle alley contests that had been popular in Philadelphia, as well as on Ohio’s Diamond League (where competition was played out on big ball bowlers). Lenny’s started out in the North­east and spread out from there, though even at its peak, the U.S. Billiards program didn’t penetrate the country like VNEA’s.

Lenny’s tournaments brought a lot of excitement to the neighborhood bar, as well as to a lot of route operators. I remember covering one up in Newburg or Kingston, N.Y. where plenty of long neck Bud was consumed as players fought it out on a handful of tables in some VFW hall. I also remember when a winner was given his trophy and walked off the stage before Lenny could give him his prize check. “Some of these guys want the trophy more than the money,” Len laughed.

Diabetes more or less ended Len Schneller’s career years later, but not before Joe Dillon at Williams had hired him as a consultant to form a new shuffle alley tourney program using the United machines the factory still made then. Nothing much came of it, sad to say.

I went to Lenny’s funeral along with Ken Anderson and Bill Cravens in Philadelphia and though this charming fellow was gone, I already knew I’d never forget him. Neither would anybody else who knew him.

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