MARS PACTS TO SELL MEI CONLUX TO ADVANTAGE PARTNERS, BAIN
TOKYO — Advantage Partners, one of Japan’s foremost private equity firms, and Bain Partners, a leading global private investment group, have announced an agreement to acquire MEI Conlux from Mars Inc. MEI Conlux was formed in 2003 when Mars purchased Conlux, Japan’s leading payment systems provider, and combined it with MEI (the former Mars Electronics International) to create the leading global business in unattended payment systems. It’s headquartered in West Chester, PA, and Sakado, Japan. MEI Conlux has the world’s largest installed base of unattended payment systems, handling more than a billion cash transactions per week. MEI Conlux has manufacturing facilities in Japan, Mexico and Switzerland, and distribution hubs in the U.S. and the UK. Financial sources said the deal was valued at more than $500 million.
IT SHIPS GOLDEN TEE LIVE CONVERSIONS
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — Incredible Technologies announced today that Golden Tee LIVE –previously available only in deluxe dedicated format or as a retrofit for existing Golden Tee Fore! cabinets – is now available in both online and offline kit formats. The standard online kit, offered at $2,795 or less, can be installed into nearly any upright video cabinet and works with any CRT monitor. Although it does not require a secondary monitor, it still offers all online features, including prize play where allowed. A low-cost basic offline kit, at $2,495 or less, is packaged without a wireless modem, card reader nor other online accessories; it offers three 18-hole courses. The basic kit is suggested for locations where prize play is prohibited or “B” or “C” locations. (Quotes prices are MSRP before status and prepayment discounts.)
FIRST AMENDMENT DEFEATS ANOTHER STATE’S VIDEO LAW
DETROIT — The temporary federal injunction issued last November against Michigan’s ban on youth access to violent video games has been superseded by a permanent injunction.. On March 31, U.S. District Judge George Steeh issued a permanent injunction against Public Act 108 of 2005 (Senate Bill 416), which had made it a crime to “sell, rent, display or exhibit” violent or sexually explicit video games to children under age 18. Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm signed the bill last September; the Entertainment Software Association filed suit shortly after. Reuters news service quoted Judge Steeh as saying: “Video games contain creative, expressive free speech, inseparable from their interactive functional elements, and are therefore protected by the First Amendment”…In other news, the Harvard University School of Public Health claimed this week that the consumer video game industry has failed to properly label many games that contain graphic violence. The report, which some have called the first truly independent study of consumer game ratings, may further undermine the industry’s reputation for being willing or able to police itself.
IOWA OPERAATOR SUES STATE OVER TOUCHPLAY BAN
CEDAR FALLS, IA — Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, based here, filed a lawsuit against the state on April 5 that seeks to halt implementation of the looming ban on TouchPlay machines. The ban on the gaming-type machines is slated to take effect on May 4. Hawkeye is Iowa’s second-largest TouchPlay operator with 724 TouchPlay machines. The company’s owners, including Marshall Armstrong, want the court to throw out the ban legislation on constitutional grounds. They charged the law violates contracts and would cause irreparable financial harm. Over 80 companies statewide operate more than 6,000 TouchPlays in 2,800 locations, according to the Des Moines Register.
TEXAS OFFICERS ARREST SIX, SEIZE 366 EIGHT-LINERS
TRINITY COUNTY, TX — Following a one-year undercover operation, nearly 40 local police and Texas Rangers raided six locations here on April 1, targeting illegal gambling conducted on eight-liner devices. Police arrested six people on felony and misdemeanor charges and seized more than $29,000 in cash along with 366 machines. More arrests are expected, local newspapers reported.
STERN TO BUILD SEVERAL TITLES THIS SPRING; GUINNESS RECORDS CONTEST PLANNED
MELROSE, IL — Stern Pinball Inc. said it will continue producing World Poker Tour pinball and short runs of The Sopranos and NASCAR in the second quarter. Limited runs of The Lord of the Rings and Monopoly are slated for April and May, respectively. In late March, the company’s new redemption game, The Simpons / Kooky Carnival, begin rolling off the production lines. More information is available at http://www.sternpinball.com …In other news, Walter Day of the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard reported that Guinness World Records will publish pinball scores this year for the first time in its 52-year history. Published scores will be determined at a contest in late April organized by the Las Vegas Pinball Collector’s Club at the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame, which opened in February. For details visit http://www.twingalaxies.com.
SUPERPLAY USA ANNOUNCES SIX NEW LOCATIONS
PHILADELPHIA — Superplay USA, a Frank Entertainment Group company, has unveiled plans to build six new entertainment centers this year in Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These locations will join the flagship site that opened in Florida on March 27. The new FECs will range up to 70,000 sq.ft. Various sites will include themed nightclubs and restaurants.
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