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Issue Date: Vol. 57, No. 5 May 2017, Posted On: 4/19/2017

Elaut Acquires Benchmark Games

Nick Montano
TAGS: amusement machine manufacturers, Elaut NV, Benchmark Games, Glenn Kramer, Elaut USA, Ron Halliburton, Verstraeten family, arcade games, skill cranes, coin machine, coin-o

LAKEWOOD, NJ -- Belgian amusement machine manufacturer Elaut NV has acquired the assets of Hypoluxo, FL's Benchmark Games, according to officials of both companies. Terms were not disclosed.

Elaut, which has been strengthening its American presence over the past decade, maintains a factory and offices in Lakewood, NJ. Glenn Kramer is chief executive of Elaut USA. Benchmark is the company's latest high-profile acquisition of an American amusement machine manufacturer. In November 2015, it acquired Coast to Coast Entertainment. | SEE STORY

Elaut began building its U.S. amusement concessions business in 2008 when it purchased Monduce Inc., a major operating company that specialized in operating arcades at amusement parks. | SEE STORY

Founded in 1993 by Al Kress and Ron Halliburton, Benchmark designs and manufactures redemption games and self-contained merchandisers. Among its hit games are Drill-O-Matic, Wheel-Deal, Big Rig Truckin' and Slam-A-Winner, along with location utilities like Ticket Station, an automated ticket redemption center. Its towering skill games like Monster Drop have become arcade centerpieces. Kress, who celebrated his 75th birthday in December, is officially retiring. He's been the sole owner for the past several years.

According to sources, Elaut will keep Benchmark's Florida plant and employees; the 58,000-sq.ft. factory has undergone several improvements in recent years. It also plans to introduce new "Benchmark"-branded games in the fall. Kramer could not yet be reached for comment.

Elaut was founded by Achiel Verstraeten, an engineer, in 1959. He developed a mechanism for prize cranes that featured three motors on an independent carriage. That innovation contributed to the subsequent takeoff of cranes as the most successful segment of the redemption game business. It is headquartered in Sint-Niklaas (East Flanders, Belgium) and members of the Verstraeten family continue to run the company.

Benchmark Games, Al Kress
PHOTO: Benchmark founder Al Kress is pictured with his wife Donna during his 75th birthday celebration on Dec. 9 at the Silverball Museum in Delray Beach, FL.

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