REDONDO BEACH, CA -- Redemption game manufacturer Wedges/Ledges is adapting its CraneVac, an amusement-merchandising device, for the gambling market, reports company president Steve Shoemaker.
In the original CraneVac, players control a vacuum-powered mechanism to snag capsules or prize objects from a rotating playfield. The new gambling variation, called Win-A-Chip, features the same vacuum mech, but offers specially marked casino-style or poker chips as prizes.
Versions without joysticks can operate in two modes. In the first mode, which involves limited skill, game outcome is determined by the player-controlled timing of the drop of the vacuum mechanism, which moves randomly over the prizes. In the second "gambling" mode, outcome depends entirely on chance because timing of the vacuum mech’s descent is random and the winning percentage is set by the operator.
The machine can also be adapted to operate as a pure game of skill with the addition of a drop-button and joystick. These controls allow the player to time and physically guide the descent of the vacuum mechanism. Using this method of operation, machine owners control the win percentages by adjusting two elements to program how many prizes can be retrieved: the size of the vacuum cup and sizes of the flat surfaces of various prizes.
Players insert banknotes to pay $1, $5, $10 or $20 per play. In gambling mode, chips can be marked with different multiplier numbers. When a winner redeems his prize chip at a counter, the attendant multiplies the vend price by the chip’s number to determine the amount won. For example, if a player inserted $10 for a single play and "vacuumed up" a chip marked with a multiplier number of 15, the player would win $150.
Shoemaker said he has applied for U.S. patents. He also said that Wedges/Ledges is seeking a licensing partner to build the machine for gambling operations. Interested parties can discuss the product with Wedges/Ledges in booth No. 6210 next month’s IAAPA Attractions Expo (Nov. 17-20, Las Vegas Convention Center). Shoemaker can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.