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Issue Date: Vol. 47, No. 4, April 2007, Posted On: 4/14/2007

Coin-Op Trade Mourns A Charismatic Leader: Bill Cravens, 64, Is Remembered For Numerous Achievements

Marcus Webb

LAS VEGAS — Bill Cravens died the morning of March 29 in his Las Vegas hotel room during the Amusement Showcase International. The well-known industry leader suffered from complications caused by diabetes. Word of his death came as a shock to countless friends and colleagues at the trade show later that day. He was 64.

Cravens, who entered the business as a Wurlitzer salesman in Los Angeles in 1967, remains among the industry’s most important leaders of the past several decades.

Cravens, who entered the business as a Wurlitzer salesman in Los Angeles in 1967, remains among the industry’s most important leaders of the past several decades.

At Universal, he was instrumental in the successful launch of the first real video kit, Mr. Do!, in 1982. At Capcom and Nintendo in the mid- and late 1980s, he helped bring kits and system games to peak levels of popularity among American operators.

In 1995, Cravens helped Incredible Technologies launch Golden Tee Golf, playing a key role in establishing a structure for distributors’ financial participation in online tournaments.

Most recently, the industry veteran provided sales and marketing consulting and assistance to companies including Benchmark, Bromley and Team Play.

Cravens held several key roles within the American Amusement Machine Association, including the post of Amusement Showcase International committee chairman and head of the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation (AAMCF). In 2005, he received AAMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In an article celebrating that occasion, VT described him as a “sales and marketing strategist extraordinaire, association workhorse and sparkplug, humanitarian, raconteur, bon vivant and one of the industry’s best-known and most popular personalities.”

Cravens is remembered for his work on behalf of countless charitable causes and for his ongoing support of the industry and its members. He spoke of the amusements industry as “just one big extended family in so many ways.”

Cravens is survived by his wife, Marilyn, two sons, Todd and Ryan, a daughter-in-law Alicia, who also is involved in the coin-op amusement business, and a granddaughter.

A memorial service open to industry friends and colleagues is expected to be held in Chicago in July, prior to the AAMA board meeting and Distributor Gala.



EDITOR’S NOTE: The American Amusement Machine Association and the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation report that they have begun raising funds on behalf of Bill Cravens and his family to support various health organizations providing diabetes research, information and advocacy. Donations to the Bill Craven’s Fund can be made payable to AAMCF and sent to AAMA headquarters at 450 E. Higgins Road, Suite 201, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.

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