JIM PIETRANGELO NOMINATED TO HEAD AMOA THIS FALL
CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico - Jim Pietrangelo of Top Draw Enterprises (Winchester, VA) has been nominated by the Amusement and Music Operators Association's board of directors to serve as the association's president for 2005-2006. Rounding out the slate of nominated officers is Howard Cole of Cole Vending (Weaverville, NC) as first vice-president, Lloyd Williamson of Williamson Music (Winona, MN) as treasurer and Russ Mawdsley, Russell Hall (Holyoke, MA), as secretary. The AMOA rank and file will vote on this lineup during the AMOA International Expo in September. Participating from the American Amusement Machine Association were chairman Frank Cosentino (Namco America) and president Mike Rudowicz. Trade show mergers, efforts to fight smoking bans and defending jukeboxes from new hi-tech competitors were among the key issues discussed at the Cabo San Lucas meeting; reportedly, no major decisions were made. AMOA also addressed the definition of "operator" as a means to combat direct sales to locations. For now, the current definition is retained, but participants said the subject will be revisited later. Membership and finances are described as being the strongest in AMOA history.
CONNECTICUT LAWMAKERS PASS ARCADE GUN VIDEO BAN; GOVERNOR STILL TO SIGN
HARTFORD, CT ,The Connecticut General Assembly has passed a ban on "point-and-shoot" games for players under 18 in public arcades, a source has told VT. The tersely worded, two-sentence bill (Senate Bill 108) reportedly requires "'that the general statutes be amended to prohibit the use of point-and-shoot video games in public arcades by individuals under the age of 18." The governor has not yet signed this legislation. At least one industry leader says if the bill becomes law, coin-op associations are unlikely to challenge the statute in court.
CALIFORNIA-BASED VC FIRM BUYING MAJORITY OF TOUCHTUNES STOCK
MONTREAL , VantagePoint Venture Partners (http://www.vpvp.com) is finalizing its purchase of controlling ownership interest in TouchTunes Jukebox Co., according to TouchTunes chief executive John Perrachon. VantagePoint, based in San Bruno, CA, is acquiring the block of stock held heretofore by La Caisse de dĂ©pĂ´t et placement du QuĂ©bec (CDPQ), the largest asset manager in Canada. CDPQ announced about a year ago that it had decided to exit the venture capital business, and that it would entertain bids for their portfolio companies. Perrachon described VantagePoint, which manages $2.8 billion in capital, as a "very aggressive venture capital firm."
Perrachon told VT: "VantagePoint saw great potential in TouchTunes and understood both our current business model, and how we can be positioned for additional growth. The transaction has been approved but is not yet finalized, as I understand it. It will make a dramatic difference. Not only does VantagePoint have very deep pockets that can fund additional R&D, product development and other activities; they have expressed their confidence in our business model and asserted that they'll back us solidly every step of the way. So it's a very positive development and I'm very happy about it. It bodes well, not only for TouchTunes, but also for operators."
SHERIFFS BREAK UP RIOTS AT GEORGIA FEC
SAVANNAH, GA , Some 200 to 300 teenagers created what authorities called a "riot" on March 19 at the Star Castle Family Entertainment Center here. According to local newspaper reports, reserve deputies from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police were off-duty and serving as security officials at the time; they attempted to break up the melee. Police backup was required to quell the disturbance; a 15-year-old was arrested and jailed. The FEC operates various attractions, which include a game arcade, laser tag and roller-skating.
NAMES IN THE NEWS
U.S.A. , Ecast Inc. has recruited Scott Walker for the position of West Coast account manager' Former Sega executive Bob Giovannettone has joined Global VR as vice-president of finance; Tony Maniscalco has been promoted to GVR's director of North American sales' Fred Abadi is the new vice-president of manufacturing at UltraCade Technologies' Roland Murray is Valley-Dynamo's new vice-president of sales. Dave Courington will report to Murray in his new role of VDLP promotions director' Experienced jukebox, distribution and parts professional Louie Rummenigge has joined NSM's sales team' Ken Fedesna , formerly executive vice-president of WMS Industries (Williams/Bally-Midway) during its coin-op glory years , is returning to the amusements industry as president of two new companies, Cashbox Games Inc. and White Rabbit Game Studio. Fedesna said several other well-known WMS executives and game designers will join him in the two ventures.
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