On April 17, 2017, the Belgian crane and game maker Elaut NV, formally acquired the assets of Benchmark Games, Inc. The selling price was not disclosed, but the deal is done and Elaut not only intends to continue the design and manufacture of machines at Benchmark’s Hypoluxo, Fla., factory, but is considering adding more such facilities in the Sunshine State.
Co-founded and run by coin-op veteran Al Kress, Benchmark has become a leading provider of ticket redemption games to the coin-op industry, producing a steady steam of profitable attractions for over 20 years. During those two decades, Kress bought out his two original partners – designer Ron Haliburton and Bally Distributing alum Arnold Kaminkow – to become sole owner.
Elaut USA CEO Glenn Kramer told RePlay: “We will continue to build Benchmark-style games and expect to expand the line exponentially while proudly keeping the Benchmark Games International brand.” Kramer further advised that Elaut plans to debut the “new” Benchmark at the fall IAAPA show.
“It is also our intention to retain Benchmark’s key employees while adding other professionals to their staff,” Kramer continued. Elaut NV, the Belgian parent company, previously acquired Coast to Coast Entertainment. Now with the new acquisition, Kramer’s role and responsibilities in the organization will be expanding.
“I have a personal love for this industry,” he said. “Working together with (Elaut NV chief) Eric Verstraeten and his sisters has given myself and everyone else in our group the opportunity to show what we’re made of. I expect great things to come from our Benchmark team,” he added.
Al Kress himself will be staying aboard Benchmark for a short period of transition time, while also continuing to sell kiddie rides out of his and his son Al’s National Kiddie Rides in Palm Beach Gardens (phone: 561-331-1000). Other future activities, he revealed, will also have to do with the coin-op industry.