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Items In This Month's News Digest

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Trade Leaders Meet With House Majority Leader

Following an all-day lobbying on Capitol Hill earlier this fall, AMOA and AAMA leaders participated in a fundraising reception for Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is currently the Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Participants included Jack Kelleher, Tony Paszkiewicz, John Pascaretti, Bobby Hogin, Pete Gustafson, John Schultz, David Cohen and Rick Kirby. Both associations made contributions from their respective PAC programs in support of McCarthy, who shared some of his insight into the upcoming Lame Duck session, and predicted a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after the November elections.

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Illinois Gaming Spreads to Diverse Locations

One of the more interesting developments in Illinois gaming, the emergence of unexpected locations like delis and cafes, is catching the attention of local media in the Land of Lincoln.

State law authorizes video gaming machines in truck stops, veterans clubs, fraternal organizations and any business where alcohol “is drawn, poured, mixed or otherwise served for consumption on the premises.” According to traditional thinking, this fourth category would be dominated by bars and restaurants. However, another class of location has taken on significant prominence in much the same way they have in another state, Oregon, where the state runs video gaming.

In a recent news article, the Champagne News Gazette detailed one of the highest-earning gaming locations in that part of the state, Lacey’s Place. “It has a liquor license and a small refrigerator with soda and a few cans of Busch Light, Miller Genuine Draft and Budweiser,” the paper reported. “Besides the gambling machines and the small refrigerator, there’s not much else to it. All it needed was the liquor license.”

Lacey’s patrons wagered $868,000 on its five gambling machines in August, the paper added.

Illinois tradesters tell RePlay these small cafés are attractive to players, many of them middle age and elderly females, who would not be comfortable playing games in a traditional tavern.

Many local communities are pleased with the success of such gaming locations because they represent an additional source of tax revenue. The state has more than 18,000 machines on location, and the state government has paid out more than $36 million to local communities in tax revenue.

However, Illinois Municipal League Deputy Legislative Director Joe Schatteman told the Champagne paper: “I think the state is going to be looking into how some of these retailers have approached video gaming.”

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Florida Op Group Meets

The Amusement and Music Operators of Florida met on Sept. 27, hosting 20 member companies and approximately 45 people for the day-long event. Operators revived the association last year in the wake of legislation that severely limits redemption games.

Presentations at the September meeting included:

• Sales tax: Curt Horton, Florida Department of Revenue
• Financing: Kevin Fritz (Betson Finance VP) and David Maschke (First Lease)
• Federal Coinage Issue: Bobby Hogin, AMOA
• Legislative: Bill Lupfer, Florida Attractions Assn.
• Legislative: Scott Dick, AMOAF Lobbyist
• Redemption: Jimmy Chapman, Coast to Coast
• ATM Operations: Randy Cesco, John Newberry (Venco), Dave Lerner (Betson) and Jason Mathews (Cord Financial)

The association also elected officers for the coming year. They are President A.J. Kress, VP Larry Adami, Treasurer Greg Trent and Secretary Phil Juckem. The current board includes Brian Neslund, Family Fun Center; John Schaefer, Brewer Amusement; Kathey Rosenquist, Gator Coin; Phil McBride, T&G Music; and Dale Williams, Williams Amusements.

AMOAF also established a new Government Relations Committee that will be headed up by Neslund and Williams.

Going forward, the association committed to contracting with a lobbyist for 2015, launching a membership drive and beginning the development of proposed legislation for the 2015 session.

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Private Equity Firms Buy Palace Entertainment

Two private equity firms, Broad Sky Partners and The Edgewater Funds, have formed Apex Parks Group (APEX) through the acquisition of 14 family entertainment centers and one water park from Festival Fun Parks, LLC, which is known to the trade and public as Palace Entertainment.

The 14 FECs include locations under the Boomers!, Malibu Grand Prix, Mountasia and SpeedZone franchise brands. Focused on family fun close to home, the new Apex Parks Group includes a wide range of attractions from mini golf courses to go-kart tracks to state-of-the-art arcades to its Big Kahuna, which offers guests 40 water attractions.

Al Weber, former CEO of Palace Entertainment and COO of Six Flags Theme Parks, will serve as CEO of Apex Parks Group in addition to his role as a Broad Sky operating partner. Joining him on the executive team are CFO Doug Honey and Sr. VP of Parks Gregg Borman, both industry veterans.

Weber commented, “I am thrilled to be associated with this collection of parks and the dedicated employee base. I am excited about the opportunity to invest in the locations and deliver on APEX’s commitment to providing a family-friendly experience and facilitating memories that our guests will treasure for years to come. We look forward to aggressively growing APEX, both organically and through acquisitions.”

Tyler Zachem, CEO and founding partner of Broad Sky Partners, said: “We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Al Weber and Edgewater. Apex Parks Group fits solidly within our investment framework: investing in sectors we know, partnering with best-in-class executives, and building platforms that support enhanced growth and acquisition opportunities. We believe our collective experience in the leisure/entertainment category will allow us to successfully take APEX to the next level.”

Dave Tolmie, a partner with Edgewater, was also enthusiastic: “We believe the family entertainment center sector is an attractive space delivering great entertainment value and growth opportunity. We are pleased to partner with Al Weber and his team.”

Boomers! locations are in Boca Raton, Fla., and in the California cities of El Cajon, Fountain Valley, Fresno, Irvine, Livermore, Modesto, San Diego, Santa Maria and Upland. Malibu Grand Prix is located in San Antonio, Mountasia in Houston, SpeedZone is in both Dallas and Los Angeles, and the Big Kahuna Water Park is in Destin, Fla.

Broad Sky Partners is a sector-focused private equity firm that invests in companies with the objective of helping them realize their full potential. The Edgewater Funds is a Chicago-based private equity firm with $1.4 billion in committed capital. Through Edgewater Growth Capital Partners, it works with management to help accelerate business.

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Sega Shipping Plants vs. Zombies Whacker

Sega recently began shipping Plants vs. Zombies, the mallet whacking ticket redemption game. Players use a mallet to repel the wave of six pop-up zombies. The more zombies they hit, the more points they score and more tickets they win.

Game features include ticket redemption, optional capsule dispenser and digital scoring. The cabinet occupies a compact footprint of 30” wide x 30” deep x 78” high, lending itself to banking multiple units together or creating a themed area with a Plants vs. Zombies: The Last Stand video redemption game, or both. To learn more, visit www.segaarcade.com.

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Elaut and Coast to Coast Sign License Deal

Elaut NV has entered into an exclusive agreement with Coast to Coast Entertain­ment, licensing its LED technology and patent rights for use in the latter’s Prize Cube line of cranes. Elaut’s Group CEO Eric Verstraeten said he was pleased with the quick response of the Coast to Coast team.

Gary Balaban of Coast to Coast shared: “I am excited with this agreement. We will be showing our newest line of Prize Cube games at the upcoming IAAPA show in Orlando, Fla., in Booth 1315.”

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TouchTunes Teams With Consumer Music App

TouchTunes has partnered with sound recognition and search technology creator SoundHound. SoundHound’s user base –– which totals more than 225 million worldwide –– will now be able to control TouchTunes’ music in more than 60,000 bars and restaurants across North America.

For those who might be unfamiliar, the SoundHound mobile app enables two distinct sound inputs to be recognized through a single search button. Both recorded music and a hummed query can be identified, delighting users and friends with the magic of capturing a song or finding a song by singing it. SoundHound technologies are deployed globally through carrier, device manufacturer, and automotive partnerships, across the major platforms.

Through the SoundHound mobile app, users who are out on the town will be able to access TouchTunes’ network of Internet-connected jukeboxes and take control of their on-premise music experience. The SoundHound app will automatically detect when users identify a song playing at a TouchTunes location and give them the ability to play the jukebox directly from the SoundHound app.

“SoundHound delivers the most delightful music search, discovery and play experience, and now we are extending that into a shared listening experience,” said Katie McMahon, Vice President & General Manager of SoundHound. “With TouchTunes, we can now offer our users the ability to ‘Be the DJ’ by playing the music they love in the places they love.”

The companies anticipate the new functionality will drive significant consumer engagement since many SoundHound users already ID songs and enjoy LiveLyrics while they are out at TouchTunes locations. To integrate the TouchTunes experience into its app, SoundHound leveraged TouchTunes’ new open API platform, which allows partner apps to connect to its digital jukeboxes for discovering and playing music on-premise.

“The SoundHound partnership demonstrates the power of our APIs to bring a real-world social entertainment experience to leading consumer apps,” said Drew Weaver, Senior Vice President of Product Manage­ment at TouchTunes. “We’re excited that SoundHound is the first to use our APIs to enable on-premise music play.”

The partnership between the two companies launched last month with a direct link in the SoundHound app to the TouchTunes app. The full integration, with location-aware song identification, will follow.

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Illinois Bandits Target ATMs & Gaming Cash

Investigators in Springfield, Ill., were looking into a string of break-ins targeting ATMS and video gaming cash terminals in taverns. “Thieves have broken into six bars a total of 10 times since the beginning of Sep­tem­ber, each time targeting either ATMs or cash redemption machines from video gaming terminals, according to police and business owners affected by the spree,” reported the State Journal Register newspaper. Although police haven’t reported the total amount lost to the thieves, the newspaper article accounted for more than $40,000 from five of the 10 total break-ins. Video footage at one location showed four thieves wearing ski masks and gloves.

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Bandai Namco Debuts New Star Wars Game

Bandai Namco Games recently bowed their latest deluxe video game, Star Wars: Battle Pod, a high-speed game set in the Star Wars galaxy. Featuring arcade-exclusive gameplay on a unique dome screen enveloping your entire area of sight, Star Wars: Battle Pod will start shipping in the U.S. in January 2015 with the global launch to follow.

The game includes five stages that recreate the fiercest battle scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy. Loaded with features and unique gameplay elements, players can experience the impact of the explosions and destruction that will leave them with a sense of actually piloting and taking part in action packed scenes from the films.

Enabling the player to be surrounded by gameplay images and experiences on the dome screen, players will truly take command of the vehicles that appear in the films such as X-wings, snowspeeders, speederbikes, the Millennium Falcon and Tie fighters. Star Wars: Battle Pod offers a real sense of flight combat action and delivers an authentic flying experience as if players are actually sitting in the cockpit of a battle pod in the Star Wars universe.
“The Star Wars universe is a vast galaxy of memorable experiences and epic storylines and we intend to put that level of fun and control in the hands of the fans with Star Wars: Battle Pod,” said Satoshi Oshita, president and CEO of Bandai Namco Games. “Players can jump right into true-to-film battles on Endor, Hoth, Death Star II, Yavin and more.”

Players experienced their first hands-on gameplay of Star Wars: Battle Pod last month in New York City at an announcement event at the Marquee NY. The game will continue to be on display at Dave and Buster’s in the Times Square location through the New Year.

Bandai Namco Games is an entertainment company formed in 2006 as a result of the integration of Bandai and Namco.

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JJP to Release Hobbit Pin

Jersey Jack Pinball says it will release a limited edition pinball, The Hobbit, before the end of this year. The factory has assembled what it describes as an impressive group of talented veterans who are creating a game with plenty of toy mechanisms and play action fun. The game’s release will coincide with the December debut of the movie The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.

Game features will include full-color cabinet and back-box artwork, a digital stereo sound system, front-of-game audio connection jack for headphones/ear buds, component audio connection jack at the rear of game, 26” LCD HD monitor which will display scores, animation and movie clips and RGB-LED playfield lighting.

Each game will have a numbered plaque affixed to the game apron to be seen under the playfield glass.

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JJP Partners With Freddy’s

In other Jersey Jack Pinball news, the company recently named Freddy’s Pinball Paradise as its official distributor for Germany.

Said factory topper Jack Guarnieri: “Freddy’s Pinball Paradise has the resources and the reputation for excellent service and support. We need an organized effort to grow and support Jersey Jack Pinball in Europe and Freddy is able to do that.”

Freddy’s was designated as a Master Distributor, meaning they will interface with other European JJP distributors with their support and service. Freddy’s will also appoint sub-distributors from European Union countries.

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Bowlmor Picks Intercard

Intercard, a provider of cash management solutions for the amusement industry, has been chosen as the debit card provider for Bowlero in San Antonio,. This is the first announcement regarding a cashless system provider since Bowlmor AMF became the largest bowling center operator in the country, following its acquisition of the Brunswick centers. Bowlmor AMF now operates more than 360 bowling centers in North America, 20 of which host the Intercard system.

“We’re very excited to be working with Intercard, which is the only company that has live, proven models in our industry that can handle the sheer number of sites we have now, and the many new sites we have planned for the future,” said Steve Veach, Bowlmor AMF Director of Amuse­ment Operations. “Our goal is to continually develop new entertainment concepts at new centers, and convert existing centers to improve the customer experience, and the Intercard system allows us to do that.”

The San Antonio facility is undergoing a complete transformation and will reopen this month as Bowlero, a new kind of bowling experience featuring new lanes, a larger arcade area, and upgraded food and beverage options.

“We see the One Card Cashless Solution as a big advantage for Bowlmor AMF’s centers over their competitors,” said Jason Mitchell, North America sales manager. “Guests will be able to purchase anything, anywhere, in the facility with their Intercard player card.”

For more information, visit www.intercardinc.com.

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I.T. Debuts New Courses, Features For Golden Tee LIVE 2015

Late September, Incredible Technologies shipped Golden Tee LIVE 2015, the latest software update for its Golden Tee LIVE series, to thousands of amusement operators across the country. Well over 10,000 online game cabinets and locations, and tens of thousands of players are already enjoying the new courses and game features, says I.T.

“There is al­ways a healthy in­crease in game earnings with every update, and this year has been no exception,” said Don Pesceone, VP of Amusements. “Players are not only going crazy for the new courses, but they are really embracing the new Daily Prize Contest and King of the Hill game modes too.”

The Daily Prize Contest is a new game choice for players to compete for cash prizes. Currently, I.T. guarantees a minimum $1,000 prize pool each day to 300 winners. Players can enter as often as they like to post their best score, promoting repeat play. The more players enter, the bigger the prizes get. Already over $30,000 has been awarded to more than 1,600 unique players.

Golden Tee LIVE 2015 also features King of the Hill, a new game mode that allows offline players to compete against another local player’s recorded game. If the player beats the King’s score he becomes the King. This new mode promotes casual, local competition and player/location loyalty, and can be used as a learning tool as well.

Operators who pre-ordered updates for all of their online machines were once again eligible for AwesomeDraw, a drawing that awards over $10,000 in equipment and prizes.

“AwesomeDraw is our way of showing our appreciation to the operators who order annual updates for all of their locations in advance,” said Pesceone. “Once again, the industry has shown its confidence in Golden Tee and we enjoy recognizing and rewarding that trust.”

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

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Betson Offers Financing on LAI’s Color Match Game

Betson Distributing has created a financing program for LAI’s Color Match prize merchandiser. Operators can lease the game for as low as $285 a month for 30 months.

LAI’s VP of Sales Chris Brady said: “We have never seen such a strong tool with which to sell this skill-based merchandiser. Betson Financial Services has put together a great program that makes it possible for a wide range of customers to operate Color Match.”

Color Match is a video merchandising game where players match colors on a rotating disk to win a prize. Difficulty increases as players get closer to the major prize. Minor and win-every time prize options are tickets, capsule balls, or small prizes vended on prize arms. Major prizes are displayed and vended from large window compartments.

Some restrictions may apply to the deal. Sales tax, delivery, freight, and filing fee must be paid up front. All applicants must be approved through Betson Financial Services prior to delivery.

For complete details, contact Betson at 800/524-2343 or inquiries@betson.com. For further information about Color Match and other LAI products, visit www.laigames.com.

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Big Apple Arcade Launches With Sacoa

The New York New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has officially opened its Big Apple Coaster & Arcade using the Sacoa PlayCard debit system to run attractions and redemption instead of coins and paper tickets. Sacoa said it was chosen by MGM after competitive analysis among other leading card companies in the industry. The deployment marks the largest for the PlayCard System in America and the first time by MGM Resorts for one of their owned properties.

The first phase of installation involved the Big Apple Arcade with over 200 video, redemption and novelty pieces. The second phase will incorporate roller coaster rides onto the card with pre-packaged specials and promotions for a full entertainment guest experience. Upcoming or future plans include cross-marketing promotions involving other MGM Resort hotels and buying food and beverage on property, as well as room card acceptance to pay for play.

Sacoa Director Sebastian Mochkovsky expressed his pleasure with first stage completion: “We are extremely happy to have MGM Resorts with their new Las Vegas showcase as our client. Transition from cash to card was simple and most impressively, it was done in the middle of their busy summer season.”

“This project really represented a lot of challenges for us because of gaming security measures and MGM corporate requirements,” added Brian Duke, who heads up new business development for Sacoa. “We were able to work around any difficulties and accomplish everything for them exactly as they wanted it done. The result is a state-of-the-art cashless payment system that has drastically improved performance and revenue at their beautifully renovated facility.”

To learn more, visit www.sacoacard.com.

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Developer Carlos Echaves Launches New Game

Carlos Echaves, the game designer who created top earning games like Smokin’ Token, Wonder Wheel, Horsin’ Around and Sponge Bob Square Pants, has brought to life a new game called Lightning Streak and is launching his own development boutique called Retro Activ Game.

Echaves says he prides himself on being a developer who thinks like both an operator and a player, striving to create low cost games that make money because they are simply fun to play.

Lightning Streak combines the joy of pinball with the excitement of pure strategy, he explained. Lighting Streak is easy to understand and play, using the familiar pinball plunger and spinner to light one of the five colored bolts. Each bolt has a ticket value assigned (operator adjustable) when landed upon and when all five bolts are finally lit, a bonus jackpot (again, operator adjustable) is awarded. While seemingly easy to win, the game is much more difficult than it looks. The spinner slows down to a gradual stop that gives players the feeling of having just missed.

Lighting Streak does not rely on automatic percentage settings to insure winnings are not too large. Instead, Echaves says he played the game himself over a long period of time, fine-tuning ticket values to find the perfect average range of 30-35% payout. For player appeal and attraction, he added bright colored LED lighting that draws people to the machine

The cabinet is all-metal construction, built by partner DSM Sales & Manufacturing near Salt Lake City. Doug McKay and his sons Zak and Nick of DSM are known throughout the industry for building machines for other manufacturers. They assisted Carlos in the design, helping him to maximize appeal and minimize moving parts so there is less possibility of anything going wrong.

Units are just now preparing to ship. To learn more, log on to www.retroactivgames.com.

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Coin Tech Debuts Products at IAAPA

Coin Tech will showcase its latest innovations in payment technology solutions for the amusement industry –– Mobile POS, Mobile Apps and Play Green –– at this month’s IAAPA show in booth 2006.

With Coin Tech’s Mobile POS, sales are in the palm of the hand. Sell, recharge and check guests’ card balances on the mobile POS. Operators can get moving with promotions, discounts and guest bonuses. They can also book parties on the go, sign up new guests members and further brand loyalty.

Mobile usage is expanding rapidly so Coin Tech is focused on adding value in mobile app form. “It goes beyond ease of use and searching ability,” said Coin Tech’s Santiago Barbero. “This type of value will be in new information, new formats for consumption and entirely new resources.”

Coin Tech’s Mobile Apps are used to charge money, check the card balance and take advantage of online sales and promotions. The firm will debut Play Green, a new feature that will allow players the option to become eco-friendly while they are playing. The player can chose either paper or e-tickets.

Finally, Coin Tech will be offering the Online Party Booking & Online Membership Program, providing two simple and fast ways to attract more customers to the FECs. Features of the Party Booking function include full adaptability to an operator’s website, store locator, date, time, guests scheduler, party package and menus options selection, online payment options, birthday e-cards design and reservation edition options.

With the Online Member­ship Program, operators get an “easy and quick” solution to manage guest registration. The program allows operators to have interactive communication with all of their members as in a social network, award them with special benefits and achieve the customer’s loyalty. Of course, registered guests will be able to check their card balance online as well.

For more information, visit www.cointechcard.com.

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Presidential Placement

It’s not every day that your product gets the spotlight in a news photo with the President of the United States. Rock-Ola’s Glenn Streeter pointed us to this news item from July of President Barack Obama chatting with single mom Tanei Benjamin over lunch at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington, Delaware. Right in the center of the image, which was picked up by many news outlets, was the Rock-Ola Wallette! [Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.]

Streeter said such diner business is growing as “locations get back to basics.” In other Rock-Ola news, the firm just unveiled its Limited Edition Elvis Presley 60th Anniver­sary of Rock ’N’ Roll 1954-2014 models at a jukebox show in Rosmalen, The Netherlands. Streeter said, “The response was amazing. The crowds blocked up the aisles and applauded.” The jukebox, available in white and black lacquer and loaded with special features, will make its U.S. debut in Chicago this month, reported Streeter.

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CenterEdge Deploys at Myrtle Beach Location

CenterEdge Software recently deployed the firm’s technology at Pavilion Park, a location that features rides and attractions at the expansive Broadway at the Beach entertainment and shopping complex located in Myrtle Beach.

Full Circle Management, the operator of the attractions at Pavilion Park, selected CenterEdge to automate the sales functions for the high volume location and introduce mobile access control for greater security and accountability. Guests can purchase barcoded ride tickets and wristbands from one of nine CenterEdge point of sale stations located throughout the park, with park ride attendants validating access with the CenterEdge Mobile handheld device.

“We are very excited to be part of implementing CenterEdge’s wireless handheld scanner and communication system,” comments Nan Trout of Full Circle. “Our ability to track ride usage without counting tickets is priceless and CenterEdge has an excellent support staff that is available to help at any time with quick and knowledgeable responses.”

“We are very pleased to have been selected by Full Circle Management and have CenterEdge in use at a premier complex like Broadway at the Beach,” noted Marcus Mayer of CenterEdge. “Speedy transaction times and ticketing controls are key aspects of our system that benefit our customers and we look forward to furthering our relationship with Nan and the team at Full Circle.” For more information on Pavilion Park, please visit the Broadway at the Beach web site at www.broadwayatthebeach.com.

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Camlock Wins U.S. Patent

Camlock Systems of Southington, Conn., has been awarded a utility patent for its Series 35 range of high security locks by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The mechanism of the Series 35 features a unique asymmetrical warded keyway. Seven stainless steel elements (sidebars) provide the locking effect. That makes it bump proof, according to Camlock. The manufacturing tolerances and technology make it virtually pick proof as well, the firm added.

The Series 35 also provides a high degree of resistance against physical attack. The hardened steel body and center post offer protection from drilling. An additional hardened roller inside the lock spins freely should a drill bit come into contact with it. All keys are cut by the factory and there are no other key blanks in distribution.

The patent protects the design of the Series 35, including its locking mechanism and key. It is valid for a period of 20 years and is registered under patent number US 8,763,435 B2.

More information on the Series 35 can be found at www.camlock.com/English(USA)/HTML/Cam-locks-Series-35.php.

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TokensDirect Offers Anti-Microbial Tokens

TokensDirect reports that copper alloys (including brass, bronze, copper nickel, and nickel bronze –– which are commonly used for arcade and amusements) have natural anti-microbial properties. In controlled tests, 99.99% of dangerous bacteria were killed within two hours of contact.

That represents good news for amusement facility owners and workers as well as the many patrons that frequent them, because this natural germ suppression may control the spread of germs within amusement parks, arcades, family entertainment centers, batting cages, golf driving ranges, and other similar venues where tokens are used, the supplier stressed.

“These are the most common metals used for arcade and family entertainment centers,” said Osborne Coinage Director of Marketing David Blumenfeld. “And now we’re learning that they have inherent anti-microbial properties. Tokens may actually help control the spread of germs, which is certainly welcome news for arcade owners, workers, and parents.”

Tokens Direct will exhibit at IAAPA with its full range of products. Arcade and amusement tokens from TokensDirect are available in a range of sizes to suit any preference or need. Over 250,000 stock tokens are available for immediate shipment, and custom designs with company name, logo and marketing message can be shipped within 10 business days.

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

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Stern Names KMS As German Dealer

Stern Pinball recently appointed KMS Group as its exclusive importer and distributor for Germany. KMS, an experienced operator in the gaming business, will start the relationship by distributing Stern’s newest title, AMC’s The Walking Dead, along with other pinball machines currently available from Stern.

KMS will be adding personnel to its already experienced staff to facilitate sales of Stern games. The firm will sell to operators, commercial distributors, and dealers that sell and provide service to pinball enthusiasts for home use. KMS will be adding other coin-op commercial lines to its B2B distribution.

“We selected KMS as our exclusive importer and distributor because of its varied related businesses, financial strength, and knowledge of our industry,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern. “With ownership of gaming arcades, hotels, Maxi Autohof petrol truck stop stations and related restaurants, KMS has technical staff throughout Germany.”

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to represent Stern Pinball and serve the German market,” said Harold J. Scheper, General Manager and CEO of KMS.

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Obituary: Vendo’s Robert Foree Passes Away

Robert W. Foree, a longtime employee of the Vendo Co. in Kansas City and Chicago, passed away on Sept. 23. Foree was born April 3, 1922 in Marceline, Mo.

Following service in the U. S. Army Air Corp and the Missouri Air National Guard, he joined Vendo, where he was recognized as Vendo’s national top salesman for over 15 years in succession. After retirement, Foree lived in Michigan and later Florida.

He is survived by a daughter, Janice Foree Matthews of Kansas City, Mo.; two grandsons, Jeff and Jay Matthews; two nieces, Bobbi Keiter of Liberty, Mo., and Rusty Nies of Mission, Kan.; and a great granddaughter, Kayla Matthews, St. Peters, Mo.

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People on the Move

Distribution veteran Dave Sexton has joined Betson Distributing’s management team as its Director of FEC Development.

“Dave’s exceptional skill sets in the family entertainment center sector of our business together with Betson’s financial and operational abilities will be a great value added for our customers in this rapidly expanding part of the amusement industry,” said Bob Geschine, President of H. Betti Industries.

Sexton brings to Betson a strong background of over 20 years with Brady Distributing, most recently working all facets in FEC development including sales, consultation, design and layout.

“There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter approach to FEC setups. Each concept and market demographic deserves an independent approach to game selection, design, and operation,” noted Sexton.

Prior to Brady, he worked for Rowe International in Whippany, N.J. Growing up in New Jersey, Dave entered the U.S. Army and became a paratrooper in The 82nd Airborne Division where he learned the meaning of “lead by example.”
“I am very excited to be joining the Betson family and look forward to the new challenges and opportunities,” said Sexton. “I hope in every way to exceed the expectations of the Betson team.”

Sexton can be contacted at 201/806-7717; mobile 201/ 983-1887; email Dsexton@betson.com.

• • •

Play It Amusements, which represents Sega Amusement Games for the Americas, reports that industry veteran Carlos Laguardia will be its new Latin American Sales Manager for all Sega games.

“Carlos has a well-earned reputation of integrity and professionalism,” said Sega Amusements President Paul Williams. “His rejoining our team gives us a respected bi-lingual sales pro to oversee the extremely important Latin American market.”

“I’m so happy to be selling Sega games again,” said Laguardia. “The company and industry have changed, but the people really haven’t. I know the team at Sega, as well as many of the customers I’ll be working with. I’m truly looking forward to getting back to Latin America and working with the many friends I’ve made over the years. It feels like I never left.”

Laguardia began his coin-op career in 1992 with Taito as their International Sales Manager. He joined Sega in 1995 and led the company’s efforts throughout Latin American until the early 2000s. That’s when he followed his passion and opened one of the only Michelin-rated Cuban Restaurants in the U.S., Café Laguardia in Chicago. The restaurant was featured in several television programs including ABC’s The Rachel Ray Show, ABC’s 190 North with Janet Davis and PBS’s Check Please.

“Over the past 13 years at Café Laguardia, I’ve learned so much about running a small business,” Laguardia continued. “There are many parallels between running a family-owned restaurant and running a family-owned coin-op business –– staffing, inventory control, marketing, accounting, budgeting, forecasting, etc. Owning the restaurant has given me insight and great respect for the many entrepreneurs that make up the bulk of our industry.”

Laguardia resides in the greater Miami area with his wife and two children. He can be reached via email at carlos@sau.sega.com or via phone or text at 847/899-5663.

• • •

Industry sales veteran Dave Kelly has signed on with dart machine maker DartsLive as a sales consultant. “Dave has been a sales representative for the best manufacturers in the coin-operated industry for decades,” said company COO. Robert Heckman. “DartsLive USA is delighted in having Dave join to our family!” Kelly can be reached at 603/300-2878; email dave.kelly@dartslive.com.

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