ATLANTA - Georgia today becomes the 11th state with a statewide ban on smoking in most public places. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Restaurants and bars can permit smoking if they have a room with its own ventilation or if they don't admit or employ anyone under 18." Aggressive enforcement by the State Division of Public Health won't begin until a three-month public education campaign is over, officials said.
COIN-OP GAMES EXEMPT FROM ILLINOIS SAFE GAMES ACT
SPRINGFIELD, IL , Coin-operated games are not included under the scope of the Illinois Safe Games Act, according to a statement of intent by the bill's sponsor. The statement was read into the official record of the Illinois state legislature just before the ISGA was passed by lawmakers, according to the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association. ICMOA leaders praised the association's lobbyists for their key role in this achievement. The ISGA, which criminalizes the sale or rental of "violent" video games to minors, is expected to become law with the imminent signature of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Separately, ICMOA is now working with the state liquor control commission on a bill that would provide a clear definition of the word "skill" in order to prevent shutdown of skill-based game tournaments. ICMOA hopes to see the bill passed by November. ICMOA also expects a ruling soon from state authorities that clears up ongoing issues about "secure" versus "permanent" affixing of state licenses to amusement machines.
ONLINE MUSIC: AMOA PLANS; U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING; EU INITIATIVE
CHICAGO , The Amusement and Music Operators Association will commission an update on its landmark study of the U.S. jukebox market, which was originally conducted in 2000 by two economists from the University of New Orleans. The study is expected to help AMOA position itself for a possible new round of negotiations with the Performing Rights Organizations incase the PROs seek changes to the current Jukebox License Agreement. The agreement's original term expires at the end of 2005, but automatically renews unless a signatory signals a desire to renegotiate. In separate action, AMOA will also seek to clarify the legal status of "iPod nights," according to AMOA jukebox licensing committee chairman Russ Mawdsley, Jr., of Russell Hall (Holyoke, MA). Further details will be announced soon, he told VT.
In the nation's capital, the U.S. Supreme Court this week confirmed that such file-to-file music sharing programs as Grokster are guilty of illegal copyright infringement. Overseas, the European Union will seek to streamline music licensing procedures in its member countries. An adopted EU-wide standard could possibly set the stage for a global standard. Digital music sales, meanwhile, continue to grow rapidly. According to the NPD Group, a market survey firm, 243 million songs were downloaded through file-sharing services and 26 million songs were purchased from digital music stores during March 2005.
GVR LAUNCHES 'NEED FOR SPEED UNDERGROUND' ONLINE TOURNAMENT
SAN JOSE, CA , Global VR launched an online tournament system for its "Need for Speed Underground" video driving simulator, which began shipping in tournament-ready format in June. The first of an ongoing series of monthly $5,000 cash prize tournaments on "NFSU" concluded June 30. Launching on July 29 is Wednesday Racing, another online competition featuring a weekly, 24-hour window for players to compete for part of a $1,000 prize pool. Operators can also run their own customized local tournaments. For details, visit http://www.globalvr.com.
FACE PLACE OFFERS 'NO MONEY DOWN' FINANCE PACKAGE
WESTFIELD, NJ , Face Place LLC and Firestone Financial Corp. are offering the "Face Place" FlashCash Finance Program for "Face Place" photo booth. FlashCash, running now through Sept. 30, features a 36-month term and low APR. With a minimum purchase of three units, operators may buy with no money down (operators do pay tax, freight and a $125 documentation fee up front). Three units or more qualify for a 10.9% APR and a 3% subsidy from Face Place, which yields payments of $195.98 per month. Single unit purchases of "Face Place" may be also financed under the FlashCash finance program with the same 36-month term. Face Place says payments are very affordable, approximately $190.69 per month. With a single unit purchase the operator will be required to make a 10% down payment on the total invoice amount in addition to the $125 documentation fee. Face Place officials said the program is designed to enable operators to operate the unit on a profitable basis as soon as it's installed. More information can be had from Face Place's Tony Maniscalco, firstname.lastname@example.org.
MERIT OFFERS FREE AUGUST TOURNAMENT DEAL
BENSALEM, PA , Merit Industries is rolling out a special one-month promotion for existing U.S. TournaMAXX operators: a free month of TournaMAXX base rate will be given for the month of August for every additional connection made during the month of July. The promotion is open to all existing U.S. TournaMAXX operators as of June 30. Operators must maintain the incremental connections through Aug. 31 to qualify. Learn more at http://www.meritind.com.
STERN READIES LATEST PIN GAME: 'NASCAR PINBALL'
CHICAGO , Stern Pinball Inc. has scored one of the country's hottest licenses. The pinball manufacturer's new "NASCAR Pinball" ships in late July. Designed by Pat Lawlor Design, "NASCAR" features cars from three real-life, famous race teams and a racetrack that encompasses the entire playing surface. NASCAR officials have praised the game for its realistic recreation of the racing experience.
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