— A North Carolina Superior Court judge signed on Jan. 29 a consent order that confirms a prior ruling that Merit Entertainment’s Megatouch videogames are games of skill and not gaming devices. The order relates to a 2007 lawsuit brought by three operators against the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, a law enforcement agency that had improperly seized the amusement devices.
Judge Abraham Penn Jones signed the order confirming that the preliminary injunction, entered on Dec. 19, 2007, will remain in force and become the court’s final judgment. State officials and the operators agreed with the consent order’s terms, reports Merit director of government relations Bob Fay.
“This consent order makes the ruling permanent and gives our customers the comfort of selling and operating Megatouch without the fear of seizure,” Fay said. “The ruling confirms that our machines have been and continue to be in compliance with North Carolina law.”
Pennsylvania Update: An Operator-Friendly Video Poker Market?
HARRISBURG, PA — Operators are “ecstatic” that Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed legalizing video poker games in bars with operator participation, according to Amy Christie, executive director of the Pennsylvania Tavern Association.
Under Rendell’s plan, about 35,000 video poker machines might eventually be installed in 8,500 licensed liquor establishments (up to five machines in one location), according to the state revenue department.
The Democratic governor made his legalization proposal last week, saying it could raise $556 million a year for education. Favorable comment came from a surprising source: state police, who say they prefer to spend their time on other issues.
Some 17,000 illegal poker machines are believed to be operating in the Keystone State, each generating an average of $600 a week.
TouchTunes PlayPorTT Gets Its Buffalo Wild Wings
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MN — Bill Lethert of Mendota Valley/CDL told Vending Times that he has negotiated a deal with TouchTunes and Buffalo Wild Wings for operators to install PlayPorTT entertainment stations in all of the national restaurant chain’s locations. The first 40 devices will be deployed this week.
For more than a decade, Mendota Valley/CDL has served as the official liaison between more than 40 operators around the U.S. and more than 500 Buffalo Wild Wings stores in 37 states.
“PlayPorTT will be a requirement for all Buffalo Wild Wings operators,” Lethert said, “but operators will have many options on how to structure the deals.” They can purchase PlayPorTTs outright for installation, acquire the products through a revenue-sharing arrangement or select other financing arrangements. No operator cash outflow will be required.
PlayPorTT, made by TouchTunes, is a portable touchscreen (15.4”) terminal that can be used to play games and music by accessing a docking station and TouchTunes jukebox through a wireless connection.
Sega Plans Job Cuts, Arcade Closures Following $119 Million Loss
TOKYO — Sega Sammy said it lost $119 million in the first nine months of its current fiscal year. To cope with the downturn, the company plans to eliminate 560 jobs from its staff of 3,127 employees, close 110 amusement facilities and cut the R&D budget 20% for both consumer and coin-op games. Sega said total year-end fiscal results, for the period ending March 31, 2009, are expected to exceed $235 million in losses.