Betson Settles with Arizona, Has Statement on Key Master Case


A “skill vs chance” story has appeared in Arizona media that has coin-op’s interest. An operating company named IQ Vending either purchased or leased around 18 Sega Key Master games from Betson Distributing between 2011 and 2013 which were then put out on location, according to the Arizona Republic. The games summarily caught the interest of the state’s Attorney General when an IQ employee called to say they were “rigged.”


After six years investigating the matter and Betson’s role in marketing the games, the Republic reported that Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office announced on May 22 that a settlement and consent judgement had been reached, resulting in Betson agreeing to pay an amount the distributor says largely reimburses investigative costs, as well as promising not to sell Key Master machines into Arizona any longer.

In the settlement, there was no admission by Betson of any guilt. Additionally, as a condition of the sale by Betson, they advised that the customer agreed in writing to operate the units in compliance with local Arizona law.

Betson issued a corporate statement on the matter:

“In April 2019, a subsidiary of H. Betti Industries, Inc. entered into a Consent Judgement relating to a litigation matter in Arizona. In this litigation, the Arizona Attorney General alleged that on or prior to May 2013, our subsidiary distributed a small number of Key Master games to customers in Arizona and that the sale of these devices with an ‘auto-percentaging system’ constituted a per se violation of Arizona law. Importantly, the Consent Judgment does not constitute an admission of guilt by us or evidence of any liability, responsibility or wrongdoing for any violation of any state or federal statute, rule, regulation or other applicable law. The Key Masters were manufactured by Sega Amusements USA Inc. and our subsidiary acted as distributor of these products.

“We fully cooperated with this investigation and ultimately made the business decision to enter into this Consent Judgment in an effort to avoid the time and expense associated with protracted litigation in Arizona. We agreed for Arizona to be awarded $1 million, largely related to the reimbursement of its sizable investigation costs, including attorneys’ fees.”

The case hinged on the machine’s auto-percentaging system, which Brnovich said violates the state’s slot machine laws, wrote the Republic. The paper said the machines were seized and presently sit in Brnovich’s office warehouse. No word on what’s to happen with IQ Vending was available at press time.


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