As all you folks whose livelihoods are affected by the price of gasoline know, the numbers on the pump have been coming down (at least they were when I wrote this in mid-August). The cost of fuel affects every single one in the amusement machine business, whether that means gas for the route vehicles or for playing customers who drive out to their favorite family entertainment center. It’s still a whole bunch higher than it was before the pandemic, but let’s be happy with small favors anyway.
The heat wave –– nobody’s friend except maybe the air conditioning industry’s –– spawned a headline in the N.Y. Times’ online newsletter which I purely love. It went something like this: “When you can’t take the heat, get inside where it’s cool and play a game.” I don’t know how overall machine collections have been during this blistering period, but I hope they’ve been more than high enough to pay for the electric bill and leave some for the rest of the expenses.
By now, the people who buy jukeboxes and games (which is a huge portion of our readership) have heard that Firestone Financial’s owner, Berkshire Bank, has pulled the plug on any more loans. Others are out there to fill the void, I’m sure, but the reasons why Berkshire leadership made this decision are puzzling.
They called it a “strategic” decision that wasn’t influenced by bad business. Okay, then why? Anyway, there’s a story by Firestone’s former chief inside you might want to check out running on page 30 inside. Oh, just in case the Berkshire bankers don’t see the future in the amusement games business, they should know that H.I.G. Capital (with $50 billion in equity under its management) just bought George Smith’s Family Entertainment Group, showing somebody very important likes what he sees here.
Finally, this issue focuses on the latest in cashless vending devices (“solutions” for you who like business-speak), route management software and where all these useful goodies fit into your specific niche. The individual stories by-brand, written by people at those brands, offers useful learning for the game room people, of course. But there’s functionality for ATM and other route operators who might be looking to see where this can benefit them as well.
I want to thank these companies for stepping up to enlighten readers on what they make, where it fits in the broad scope of this modern business and, most important, how it can positively affect the bottom line. Read on, boys and girls.