U.S.A. — Club Lucky LLC, initially established as a select alliance of operators dedicated to national promotions and contests, has evolved into a powerful buying consortium with a current membership of 32 as of December, according to he group’s vice-president, Jason Rubin of A.J. Video Amusements (Baltimore). Rubin said the organization planned to add several more operators in January, ensuring that its proprietary videogame tournaments would be offered in most major markets throughout the United States.
Nationwide tournament coverage will strengthen Club Lucky in several respects, Rubin pointed out. The broader the company’s geographical reach, the more players it can attract to its tournaments. More players in turn will generate more entry fees, allowing the group to offer compelling prizes.
Past tournaments have linked hundreds of games throughout the country and offered grand prizes such as weeklong, all-expenses-paid trips for two to Hawaii and a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle.
More operator members and a larger player base for Club Lucky also mean a more attractive market for potential sponsors and advertisers, Rubin said. Certain networked Club Lucky videogames have already garnered sponsors such as Taylor Made, a manufacturer of golfing equipment and apparel. Rubin said Club Lucky is now in discussions with potential advertisers who would pay Club Lucky for the opportunity to display their images, logos and prizes on appropriate game screens.
Adding more operator members to its roster will also further empower the group to seek and obtain national account status for the purchase of equipment from various machine manufacturers, as well as industry-related service and supply firms, said Rubin.
Club Lucky was formed in March of 2006. One year later, its operators held a conference in Tampa, FL, inviting executives from 10 top game and jukebox manufacturers, as well as two leading distributors, a prize/merchandise supplier and a major financial services firm.
At that 2007 meeting, the allied operators requested opportunities to be recognized by manufacturers and distributors as a national account with the right to buy product on a direct basis. They also sought to enlist manufacturers’ support in national tournaments and promotions that are proprietary to Club Lucky.
As a result of that Tampa meeting, Moss Distributing (Des Moines, IA) and Weiner Distributing (Baltimore) agreed to act as preferred distributors that would sell to any Club Lucky member. In the following months, Rubin said some of the manufacturers granted Club Lucky’s request for direct account status.
As a result of this initiative, today Club Lucky members are purchasing some of their machines directly or through their two preferred distributors. The group also purchases from One Stop Shop Vending and Redemption, a Texas supplier of redemption merchandise, including plush, capsules, candy and all consumables. Member operators also jointly purchase items from outside the industry such as speakers, monitors, and the like, said Rubin. He emphasized that members also purchase a significant number of games from their local distributors.
The group’s vice-president rated its online videogame tournaments and promotions as “100% successful.” Rubin said thousands of players participate in a typical Club Lucky tournament, but declined to reveal the actual incremental increase in revenues that was generated by such promotions.
He emphasized that the Club’s operator members view these promotions “as a valuable opportunity to grow their businesses.”
He also said this growth is driving new equipment sales. “We see our members ordering more equipment than in prior years,” he said. “They say they are getting more locations as a direct result of being associated with Club Lucky. Our preferred distributors and manufacturers appreciate their relationships with our organization.”
A revamped website – clubluckygroup.com – lists all organizaion members and provides contact information. The website also displays photos of contest winners, and features an email form that new operators may use to ask questions or apply for Club Lucky membership.
At presstime, Club Lucky was halfway through the Club Lucky 500, a videogame contest featuring GT Live that ran from November 1 to January 3. The grand prize is the Ultimate Daytona 500 Experience with one-week luxury RV accommodations and a Pit Pass to watch the auto races all week. Second-, third- and fourth-place prizes are also racing vacation packages, some with Disney World visits added, as well.
Multiple divisions built around the group’s Golden Tee contests offer different types of players chances to win in different ways, said Rubin, and a wide variety of prizes, including a range of airfare vouchers. In one division, 32-in. LCD TVs are being given to every third winner down to 73rd place. In a video golf tournament’s “most pars” division, every fourth winner will be awarded a GPS unit. Digital video cameras are awarded to every fifth winner position to 121st place in the “most bogies” division.
Another event, featuring JVL’s touchscreen videogame Treasure Hunt, ran from November 21 to December 21. Lavish prizes featured high-end electronics such as designer watches and iPods. Additional prizes included a range of home delivery specialties – everything from NFL jerseys to Godiva chocolates and a year’s subscription to Netflix.
A new contest on IT’s Silver Strike Bowler’s Club began on January 1; Club Lucky will award Bose Wave radios and many other luxury consumer electronics to winners of that event. “We are getting away from gift cards and focusing more on items with high perceived value,” Rubin said.
Leaderboards on all Club Lucky’s networked golf and bowling games are updated daily, or every other day, so players can see how they rank in all categories on the contests, Rubin said.
The Club Lucky website describes the organization as: “...a group of ‘like-minded’ amusement entertainment operators with a purpose to create contests and tournaments with huge player rewards.” The website also contains a promotional message aimed at current and potential players.