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MERLIN GETS PDC ENDORSEMENT

The Professional Darts Corporation has officially endorsed Merlin Technologies’ automatic electronic scoring, steel-tip dart game, the Wild Bull.  Merlin’s Wild Bull game features automatic electronic scoring of steel-tip darts on a traditional bristle dartboard.  This coin-operated casino game allows tavem and pub owners, operators and dart leagues to increase steel-tip dart participation, promotions and begin generating additional revenues.

     

The PDC, whose mission is to promote televised professional darts worldwide, hosts some of the most prestigious professional world darts competitions and represents some of the top professional dart players in the world, including 13-time world champion, Phil Taylor.  Five of PDC’s ranking tournaments are staged live on Sky Sports annually, broadcasting to a global audience of over 300 million viewers.  The PDC’s commitment to spreading professional darts worldwide led to breaking professional darts in the US with the first annual Las Vegas Desert Classic in 2002.  This year, the PDC introduced a second professional tournament in the US,  The World Series of Darts.  The PDC has recognized the Wild Bull game as ‘the world’s only electronic dart game officially endorsed by the PDC,’ Steve Pope, vice president of Merlin , told Integrate.


      Both the PDC and Merlin realize that the growth of the sport of steel-tip darts is with amateur and with those who have yet to pick up a set of darts.  Merlin Technologies’ target audience is people who frequent pubs who are not yet playing steel-tip darts.  While there are many steel-tip organizations and clubs, there are still gaps in the network that leave future darters unattended.  Merlin feels there are also those who play organized steel-tip darts, but have converted to soft-tip darts due to the strong promotion of the amateur ranks of that sport, the larger dart target and the convenience of electronic scoring.


      Scott Schroeder, Merlin’s VP and general manager, is working with several companies that see steel dart leagues as an extension of their other league promotions, including soft tip darts.  “Until recently, there hasn’t been a product to provide a coin-op business model to offset the costs of recruiting and managing  steel dart leagues.” Schroeder stated.  “After 20 years of well co-ordinate soft-tip dart promotion by many locations. Operators, distributors, manufacturers and associations, there remain many pubs, regions of this country and parts of the world where the traditional steel-tip game is preferred.  That speaks to the convictions of the players and the market opportunity for amusement operators,” he added.  “Merlin can offer these players and league operators an automatic scoring, steel-tip dart machine combined with the endorsement of the PDC.  Given the national television spotlight that the PDC is bringing to steel darts on ESPN starting in July, this is an extremely attractive time for operators to consider expanding their league promotions into steel darts,” Schroeder concluded.
      Steel-tip leagues are also included in Merlin’s target market.  Pope added: “Our Wild Bull Game, with electronic scoring, makes the transition of the soft-tip players to steel-tip leagues easy an familiar.  For these reasons , steel leagues  in the US and overseas have begun adding the wild Bull games for separate electronic steel-tip nights.”  Pope concluded : when it comes to steel-tip leagues, we  are not trying to change what they do now, only  to add to it.”

Touchtunes completes successful promotion

TouchTunes Music Corporation closed the books on its spring Great Jukebox Giveaway promotion two weeks early, as operators snapped up all 3,000 jukeboxes allotted to the programme and then some, according to www.replaymag.com.  The factory notified customers on June 13 that the sales promotion was ending before the original June 30 cut-off date, due to heavier-than-expected orders that rapidly depleted the inventory originally set aside for the promotion.  TouchTunes  ended up bending its own rules, selling more than 4,500 digital jukeboxes with the same discount pricing and zero percent financing plans.  “If we had stopped at the 3,000 –jukebox limit, we would have had to end the campaign in early May,” said Dan McAllister, TouchTunes senior VP of sales and poker marketing.
      During the promotion period, TouchTunes added nearly 90 new operator accounts coast-to-coast, from northern and Southern California to New England, plus new operators in four Canadian provinces and in Puerto Rico, Reported  McAllister.  “Our installed base is approaching 20,000 jukeboxes,” he said.  “The entire TouchTunes team would like to thank our distributors and customer-finance partner Firestone Financial for making the Great Jukebox Giveaway such a runaway success.  And we sincerely want to thank our operators for their patience and co-operation regarding the product back-orders resulting from the overwhelming response to the promotion.”
      Meanwhile, TouchTunes Music and telecommunications giant AT&T have announced a three-year agreement to provide low-cost, high-speed internet access to TouchTunes jukeboxes in bars, restaurants and other locations throughout the US.  Starting July 1, TouchTunes jukebox operators can sign up for AT&T Yahoo high speed internet access broadband service for a flat $ 29.95 per month per poker music jukebox directly through TouchTunes.  Broadband charges will appear on their regular TouchTunes invoices.  Through an introductory offer, customers who signed up before July 31 received their first three months of broadband service for half price, $ 14.95 per month.  There are no setup fee and no charge for the hardware needed to connect a jukebox to the AT&T broadband, the companies say.  As part of the agreement, AT&T Yahoo will offer a dedicated, technical support hotline for high-speed internet access subscribers to augment TouchTunes’ 24/7 support line.

*   Iowa operators who formerly operated TouchTunes turned in US $395.000 to the state on June 13, leaving $2.9m still due, reports www.replaymag.com.  Iowa Lottery Board president Edward president Edward Stanek told the Des Monies Register that companies had unit July 10 to complete payment.  Moss distributing VP Craig Cohoon told the newspaper that operators are still waiting on final accounting on their income from the controversial machines that were ordered removed from locations by May 4, Other businesses have elected to put their  income in escrow till the legal debacle clears.
      The thrust of the operator’s continued argument is a breach of contract concerning promises from state  officials for a deal to withdraw TouchTunes over five years, allowing companies to earn back investments.  An estimated $30-$40m has been left un-recouped.  With two lawsuits against the state pending, operators s are holding out for a compromise that would permit the machines in adult establishments and American Legion halls.  Stanek affirmed that there are no funds to supplement the $30m the poured into state  coffers each year from the machines.

Asia NEWS

MUSHIKING SPREADS FROM JAPAN TO US

In Japan, the Mushiking franchise has been a big success for Sega.  A gameboy advance game has been released, and animated series has been aired on TV Tokyo, toys, trading cards and even tournaments have been held.  It now looks, according to GameWorks’ (a chain of indoor amusement facilities founded by Sega , DreamWorks SKG and Universal Studios in 1996) Clint Manny that the popular insect battling phenomenon is set to spread through the US.  He told Integrate: “Sega amusements USA has folks who are now dedicated to the card-playing games and working on the selling of those which would include any of the merchandising and the materials that go along with it.”

e added: “Through our redemption counters and for sale at our sites, we do have a limited number of Mushiking items, including the neck-holder that carries the poker cards games that you’re playing and portfolios that guests can purchase to store and hold their cards.  So there are limited supplies, certainly not to the breadth of items you can find in Japan.  It is certainly an area of focus for Sega and again through SAU, they have dedicated people there working on sales of Mushiking and other card-playing games.”
      With thanks to www.gamasutra.com

           

Subsino opens US office in Ontario, California

To better serve the North and South American and Canadian markets, Taiwan-based Subsino has set up a US office in Ontario, California.  Terrence Lin is Subsino’s US office representative.  Subsino, which considers itself ‘an outstanding R&D firm and manufacturer of amusement and gaming machines’ in Taiwan, is continuing its success using thorough strategic expansion plans and strong leadership.  Subsino specializes in the development and manufacture of PC boards of video games and kiddie rides.  Over the years, Subsino has built up a group of talented individuals who  specialize in the creative use of technology.
      Lin told Integrate that the company has ‘the ability to design and develop the most innovative, entertaining and profitable PC boards and slot machines in the gaming industry.’  The firm now offers both high and low resolution gaming games, multi-players and slot machines, cabinets, progressive jackpot systems, interactive kiddie rides, amusement game machines and the Smart Book data collection system

PDC looks to Far East to promote darts

Tim Darby, CEO of the Professional Darts Corporation, told Integrate: “When I look at countries like Japan or China, which are growth markets for the PDC, I believe their younger  players love gadgets and are used to the convenience and pace that electronic scoring represents.  Having a tool like the Wild Bull will help get these players throwing steel-tip darts.”  Darby also envisions a select few of these younger poker players getting better and moving up to a competitive platform where they can compete alongside the likes of darts legend Phil Taylor.  “We’re looking long term for what is good for darts and the PDC,” concluded Darby.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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