We have our eyes on the prize side of the business this month. For starters, we have a unique compendium of the latest news from most of the industry’s major prize suppliers. They provided our readers with unique insights into what they are offering and, more importantly, what’s proving to be popular with players.
Then, this month’s Operator Interface asks half a dozen redemption game industry leaders about their biggest concerns involving redemption game prizes, whether that be for redemption counters or merchandise games and cranes. We also put our cover story spotlight on a dynamic California prize supplier, the Toy Barn, started by arcade and route operator Jack Mann and his wife Gina.
Finally, we surveyed operators about their redemption business. The survey produced a number of interesting observations about the industry. They include:
• A majority of the operators surveyed, 60%, give out prizes via a traditional redemption counter, although many of those also operate cranes and prize machines in their locations.
• More than half of those surveyed, 54% to be precise, say they use the auto-percentaging features of their cranes and merchandise games. But some of those surveyed said they consult with local rules and regulations before employing auto-percentaging software.
• More than half of the operators we surveyed say they pay out more than 25% of their cost of sales in prize value.
• A large percentage, 80% to be exact, say they buy their redemption prizes from independent suppliers/importers, although that not necessarily exclusively.
In related news, we also report on the latest resolution of the ongoing redemption prize controversy in Florida, much of which had to do with the limits placed on the value of prizes that could be awarded. When the smoke cleared, and after much behind the scenes negotiation, Florida lawmakers approved a measure that caps the per-play prize value for ticket games at $5.25 (a significant increase from 75 cents); auto-prize machines and cranes can give out items worth $52.50. In no case, however, can a player walk out of a location with total prizes worth more than $525. All of these values will be adjusted upward for inflation in future years.
Prizes are a crucial element of our industry’s current success with redemption proving to have staying power both in FECs and along various routes. We are happy to report that the prizes business, while filled with many special challenges, remains an exciting and growing part of the game industry.
Direct email to RePlay Magazine Editor Steve White.
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