IALEI'S CAROLE SJOLANDER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
HILLSBORO, NH - Carole Sjolander, executive director International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry, announced her retirement, effective Dec. 31. Ray Sjolander, her husband, IALEI's director of finance and trade shows, also will retire at the same time. A capable and hardworking administrator who had previously helped run three other associations, Carole Sjolander joined IALEI the year after its creation in 1993. She helped lead it through numerous milestones, including its purchase of a majority ownership in Fun Expo; the successful co-location of that show with AMOA International Expo; and the trade group's growth into a full service, non-profit trade association offering educational workshops and member insurance programs. IALEI past-president Ken Vondriska is spearheading a Transition Task Force to hire a new executive director and help ensure a smooth transition. Applicants for the executive director position should e-mail a letter of interest and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is Sept. 1. IALEI's headquarters may be relocated depending on the needs of Sjolander's successor, Vondriska said. More information about IALEI is available at http://www.ialei.com.
SHAREHOLDERS OKAY NAMCO BANDAI MERGER
TOKYO , Shareholders in Namco Ltd. (Tokyo) approved management's proposed merger with Bandai, the world's largest toy manufacturer, at a recent investors meeting. Bandai stockholders had voted for the merger on June 23. According to Internet sources citing Namco executives, no layoffs are expected to result. A detailed merger plan is expected to be made public in September.
CHUCK E. CHEESE'S CELEBRATES 500TH OPENING
GLENDALE, AZ , CEC Entertainment Inc. opened the 500th Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant here late last month. Owned and operated by Melvin Entertainment, the largest franchisee in the CEC program, it's Arizona's ninth CEC store. The Chuck E. Cheese's concept made its debut in May, 1977, when the first restaurant opened in San Jose, CA. There now are Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants in 48 states, of which 454 are CEC-owned and operated.
BETSON IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTES JCM PRODUCTS
LAS VEGAS , JCM American Corp. and Betson Imperial joined forces this week to create a multi-industry network for automated transaction products. Betson Imperial now sells, distributes and services JCM products for the amusement, gaming, lottery and vending industries. These include the new "Optipay Vending System."
TAITO STILL COMMITTED TO AMUSEMENTS, DESPITE LOWER ARCADE EARNINGS
TOKYO ,Taito's financial results for the year ended March 31 showed a steep drop in arcade revenue compared to fiscal 2004. The company opened 14 new arcades in Japan last year, but closed 22 older sites that were losing money. Overall profits were down by 51% to $15.2 million, even though net sales were up almost 2% to $755.5 million, thanks in large part to improved sales of coin-operated arcade machines. President Yasuo Nishigaki said Taito remains committed to the arcade sector, and has hired 30 top executives for its amusements division.
VIOLENT HOME GAMES MAKE FRESH HEADLINES
U.S.A. , Violent video games for the home market are back in the news from coast to coast. In Sacramento, CA, assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has charged that "Theft Auto: San Andreas" contains "hidden scenes of graphic sex." The game's manufacturer, Rockstar North, has neither confirmed nor denied the allegation. The industry "continues to demonstrate a sense of arrogance towards public opinion and a lack of responsibility in protecting our children," said Yee, who claimed that voluntary self-ratings represent an inherent conflict of interest. He reminded fellow lawmakers that his stalled bill, a youth ban on violent video games, is still in the hopper. In Washington DC, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on stores to boycott a forthcoming console-based video game called "25 to Life," asserting that its depictions of cop shootings and other antisocial acts are offensive.
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