TWO MIDWAY ALUMNI MERGE GAME COMPANIES
CHICAGO — Raw Thrills Inc. and Play Mechanix Inc. completed a merger last month, officials from one of the companies told VT. The news surfaced two days ago in the Chicago Daily Herald, which reported that the resulting 45-person company represents a combined $25 million in annual sales. Raw Thrills is headed by Eugene Jarvis while Play Mechanix’ CEO is George Petro. Both were game designers at Midway Games in the 1990s.
ADULT-STYLE REDEMPTION IS LEGAL, SAYS FLORIDA JURY
POMPANO BEACH, FL — A jury took four hours to acquit operator Gale Fontaine of Tropicana Rec Room, and president of the Florida Arcade Association, of illegal gambling charges Tuesday. Spectators in the courtroom broke into applause when the verdict was read. This was widely seen as a test case for the industry, though officials from the state attorney general’s office said the verdict applied only to Fontaine, and should not be viewed as a statewide precedent. Nevertheless, expert legal observers in Florida said the verdict makes it much more likely that law enforcement in other jurisdictions will ease up on adult-style arcades. Florida’s adult arcades offer risk-reward gaming with high-value merchandise or gift cards as prizes. Operators say their businesses are protected under the so-called Chuck E. Cheese’s exemption to state gambling regulations.
MERIT’S COPYRIGHT ENFORCEMENT CAMPAIGN ACHIEVES GLOBAL REACH
BENSALEM, PA —Authorities in the Republic of China have carried out raids on several manufacturing operations making counterfeit copies of Merit Entertainment games. Separately, raids have also taken place on imported Chinese counterfeits in South Africa. A three-month investigation, in which Merit director of government relations Bob Fay provided critical support, culminated in action against five companies in mainland China: EXL Electronics, Chengtai Electronic Technology, Totem Amusement and Guangzhou Xiongye Electronics, all located in the Panyu district, and Jingge Computer Science and Technology in Guangzhou. Some 25 officers from ROC’s administration for industry and commerce seized copies of Merit hardware and software. An additional 150 police officers were called to the scene when more than 250 illegal gaming machines were located at one site. The South African Revenue Service recently detained a shipment containing 40 copies of 2006 Merit Force games that came from Guangzhou Xiongye Electonics and was in transit to an importer in Durban, South Africa. The importer may face criminal charges and the copies will be destroyed. Merit praised law enforcement officials in both countries for “swift and positive action.” More information is online at http://www.meritind.com.
AAMA PRESIDENT SEES FUTURE INDUSTRY GROWTH
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL —An upbeat story about the arcade industry appeared in the August 15 edition of the Chicago Daily Herald, which mentioned a range of successful video and pinball game manufacturers. Mike Rudowicz, president of the American Amusement Machine Association, told the paper that most of the industry’s consolidation is behind it, and he expects steady growth ahead. The Herald’s piece follows a spate of gloomy news stories by the mainstream press about the arcade industry.