August 2016.

In This Section.



Breaking News

TRR-FEC Welcomes to Our Family the Following New Advertisers:

  •  All Kids Play Designs, Edison, NJ
    • Dave Wilson, President
    • [email protected]
    • 973 769 2083
    • Designers of Playground Equipment with many features at reasonable prices.

AllKidsPlay_bannerad (1)

  • Flagship Carpets, Calhoun, GA
    • Marsha Long, VP of Sales Broadloom
    • [email protected]
    • 800-778-5241 ext 119
    • They are the mill that makes the carpets.  You can buy direct at spectacular savings!!!




New Test Games in Operation and Those Scheduled for Future Testing

  • Crazy Claw 2 Pl (Rocket Amusements)
  • Shooty Skies (Adrenaline Amusements) Set Up 8-24-16
  • More Tickets-Tickets-Tickets, the ‘Frank ‘the Crank’ Ticket Crane (Coast To Coast)
  • More Ticket Time Crane (Smart Industries)
  • Face Place Green Screen Photo Booth (Apple)
  • Super Big Rig (UNIS)
  • Bandit Express Interactive Train (UNIS)
  • Giant Pacman 10’ (Namco)
  • 1SHOT1 Crane (Wedges & Ledges)



Family Entertainment Center Industry Rejoices Over Generation Z

redemption ticketsHere’s the Ticket! pic01

The restaurant industry is the first to develop new concepts to capture the appetites of multi-tasking, socially connected Generation Z, the new consumer group of young children and teens that are expected to soon fill the vacant seats of the Millennials (born after 1984).

Generation Z, those born after 1995, the largest population group since the Baby Boomers, are already having a positive effect on the restaurant industry (Gen Z spent $78 billion in 2015) that seems to have grown weary of focusing on Millennials. Some of the foods that Gen Z’s love are concoctions like ‘sweet potato fries topped with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup,’ (#getfried Fry Café) according to market research firm The NPD Group.pic02

What this Could Mean?

The FEC industry would be wise to follow the new restaurant concepts and incorporate the successful fast casual menu items into their birthday party foods as well as snack bar and F&B servings. Now is the time to start developing loyalty programs for Gen Z.  Hint:  Gen Z’s tend to go out as a group and ‘share’ their food, slightly favoring chicken and pizza over hamburgers and hotdogs. They also love contests.

Perhaps Gen Z will like the on-line concept of ‘build your own birthday party’ using your own branded FEC app.  Hey, all of this is right up the FEC industry’s alley!    



How has the Average Cost of a Movie Ticket Changed Since 1940?


(Fourleaflover, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

MooseRoots, a genealogy data site by Graphiq, crunched the numbers to see how the average cost of a movie ticket has changed since 1940. The data from the MPAA and the MooseRoots team noted both the nominal (absolute) price and the 2016 inflation-adjusted price of a movie ticket.

The above time chart shows that when inflation is taken into account, the average price of a movie ticket is still reasonable even though the price has increased from approximately 50 cents in 1940 to almost $9 in 2016.

What this Could Mean? (for leisure entertainment industry)

Our industry feasibility studies also adjust average spending for inflation and the outcome is similar to the above data, although the FEC industry is much more competitive from region to region than perhaps the movie industry is. What is important is that whatever the average move prices are in a target market (0-20 miles converted to drive times), that price plus the cost of a snack is very close to what the average per capita spending at an FEC in that target market will be.  Obviously the FEC industry is very competitive and fair when it comes to per capita spending.

Another example that is close to home is tracking the price/play of an amusement game. In 1959 a pinball game or arcade game cost/play ranged from 10 cents to 25 cents and a movie ticket was approximately 75 cents. Today, we see game play prices at $1.00 and an average movie ticket at $9.  So which is the better value?  An average movie is almost 2 hours (120 minutes) and an average amusement game is 2 minutes or less.  Does that mean that if our customers can play 60 games in the time it takes to watch a movie, the experience would be equal?  Let’s hope not.  Obviously the game industry if measured in this manner, offers a much higher value experience on a minute by minute basis, but let’s be careful not to take this for granted.  There are always many new movies and even some great ones.  Our industry has many new games but not so many great ones. Both industries need to stay on top of their game.


Alpha-Omega Amusements & Sales is Your One Stop Shop for Everything Related to Amusement Games


Casinos Hoping that Skill-Based Video Slot Machines Will Attract Millennials

There are now two states, Nevada and New Jersey, that have laws permitting skill-based game features to be incorporated into gaming machines. TRR has followed the progress of the gaming industry’s initial efforts of introducing curved plasma screens, LED lighting, and themed cabinets based on television shows and movies, but the ‘passive’ slot machine and video poker technology has stayed basically the same over the past 4 decades.  Old video game classic favorites (Pacman, Galaga, Space Invaders) programs have made the first attempts to introduce skill into slot machines.  What’s next?

According to Eric Meyerhofer, CEO of Gambit Gaming, ‘…the biggest attractions could even be well-known franchises like Call of Duty.  It won’t be a sea of slot machines. You’ll see smaller, more intimate areas with specialized themes,’

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As casino hotels and resorts have steadily upgraded their amenities in the last decade to appeal to a wider demographic, the unintended consequence is that fewer people are actually gambling.


  • Las Vegas Casinos reported that gambling revenues in 2014 were 37% of their total casino revenues. This was down from 58% from 1990.
  • 71% of Las Vegas visitors gambled in 2014. This was down from 87% in 2006, just 8 years prior.
  • Millennials accounted for 27% of Las Vegas visitors in 2014 but only 63% of them gambled at all. Compare this to same year:  78% of baby boomers gambled and 68% of Generation X’s gambled.
  • Majority of visitors to Las Vegas are under age 50.
  • Majority of visitors to Las Vegas who play slot machines are over age 50.

Gamblit’s ‘Smoothie Blast’ gambling game lets players make a smoothie using different fruits and learning which combinations and timings lead them to different payouts.

What this could mean?

The gaming industry is certainly worried about the fact that Millennials do not currently gamble much in casinos.  The fact that Millennials in general are saddled with large college debt and a lack of good paying job opportunities, may also be factors in their not being attracted to casino gambling.

However, the fact that the gaming industry is working hard in Las Vegas and now in New Jersey to introduce skill-based gaming machines is a good sign that perhaps some our industry’s redemption and merchandiser manufacturers may get involved also and make some money from the gaming industry.  Perhaps then they can put more R&D into new technologies for redemption and merchandiser games and lower their prices?  HaHa. 

The point here is that it will take some time to transfer casinos from baby boomer hangouts to Millennial, Gen X and Gen Z entertainment centers.  For at least as long as that takes, the FEC industry will continue to be the ‘center’ of out-of-home family entertainment. That is as long as we continue to evolve and attract those Millinnials, Gen Xers and Gen Z’s. Hey, our industry could use a smoothie redemption game!!!!!!



Foundations University & AMOA Rhodes Scholar Programs Go Back to Back In Phoenix in October at Same Location!!

Foundations Entertainment Universityamoa_roadscholar_2016_1-lower-resAMOA 2016 Road Scholar Program – October 21-23 Phoenix, AZ will follow Foundations Entertainment University #40 (October 18-20).  Both educational programs will take place at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe.

At the January AMOA State Meeting in San Antonio TRR reported that those present unanimously agreed that the best opportunities for operators to improve their businesses were for operators to focus on working in partnership with the location owners/managers to better ‘market’ their game locations and therefore solidify their relevance.  It goes without saying that this practice will improve the bottom line for both the location and the game operator. At the AMOA State Meeting, a plan was put together between AMOA and Foundations to go back to back.  This is a great opportunity for AMOA members to attend Foundations University and really learn how to market street locations as well as small and large footprint FECs. In addition, operators can learn more about operating redemption games and ticket merchandisers in an FEC and how a debit card system is a key marketing tool, especially for loyalty programs. Foundations University through AEM is offering several full scholarships to AMOA members. Contact Frank Seninsky at [email protected].

AMOA staff has followed the sage advice of its members and state association leaders and picked up the ball.  One result is focusing the 2016 Road Scholar Program for operators to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ by gaining important business financial knowledge with special industry panels and roundtable sessions that include the following business topics (during an optional Friday afternoon FEC related session, all day Saturday and Sunday morning):

  • Risk Management including best practices in security, money handling, hiring tips, and mitigation
  • New Overtime Rules & Guidelines that take effect on December 1, 2016
  • Banking at Every Level of Business. What do banks look at when making loans and offering lines of credit
  • Operational Ratios for Route Operators
  • Accounting & How to Read Your Financial Statements
  • Operating in Small Footprint FECs – Optional Friday afternoon:  Learn from operators who have found great success in operating in FECs

Here is the link for the AMOA Road Scholar Program: amoa.memberclicks.net/road-scholar-program

For more information, contact AMOA’s Meeting Coordinator, Katie Voyles at 800-937-2662 or [email protected].




‘Whutz Up?’ With Our Special Family of Advertisers

Frank’s Visit to A&A Global Industries July 26, 2016

230,000 sq. ft. factory/warehouse with 25 loading docks in Cockeysville, MD

History.  It was all started by Irv Kovens, a cab driver who also sold postal stamp machines to make extra money. In 1938 Irv founded Parkway Machine Company, makers of gumball machines that vended small penny charms, toys and of course gum balls that the company sold. His son, Ed took over the company reins and in the 1960’s went to China to buy toys and started importing products.  From that day forward, the family slogan, ‘We are product people’ took hold and has stuck.  And so did the company philosophy:

“Innovative approach to products, personal approach to people.”  Ed is the current President.

A & A Global Banner

Ed’s two sons, Steven and Brian came on full time in the mid-80’s.  Steven recalls his Grandfather’s words of wisdom to him when he was age 16:  ‘The more you pay that man, the happier you will be.’  Steve’s son, Jason, is currently the 4th generation of Kovens working at the company.

A&A expanded into redemption prizes in 2014 including capsuled toys, bin toys, candy, plush, electronic crane and merchandiser kits, and high-end redemption prizes.  A&A currently employs 150 people.  The company has more than 1000 different items of candy alone under the brand name Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty (kokos.com). pic07

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One of their top selling new items is the Capsule Buildable Lines of characters consisting of 2.5-inch Asst groups:  Adventure Time, Looney Tunes, SpongeBob SquarePants, Warner Bros Characters.

$10,000,000 in revolving inventory.

A&A also has a second warehouse of 40,000 sq. ft. in Sylmar, MD and a third 125,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Hunt Valley, MD.

For more information contact Ann Krull at 800 638 6000 x622 or [email protected]


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EMBED New Product Features

Mathew Harrison ([email protected])

Frank, Below, are a few nice features about EMBED that may not be known by everyone. The first one addresses your needing special ticket values for different accounts and different countries taking into account currency ratios.

  • The ticket value is easily adjusted in the Embed system. By default, it is $0.01. This can be changed at any time for a more accurate picture of payout performance. Our Support Team is available to assist with this adjustment.
  • Embed launched a new Team on June 1st to supplement our Support Team. This team will be dedicated to Customer Success. They will be training key personnel at our new locations and instruct them through system configuration. This will help our customers take ownership of their systems and have a better understanding of how they work. They will also be available to train our existing locations who need a refresher or have staff turnover. Lastly, they will soon provide training videos and webinars that will available on our website. This is a new service included in our regular monthly support and licensing. There are no additional costs for these new services.
  • Our kiosk software now includes a powerful ‘upsell’ feature. Once a guest selects a card value for purchase, a configurable upsell screen will display and offer a bonus value for an additional amount. This has been a great tool that will increase revenues. Once it is configured, the kiosk does the extra work for you. Any customer can get this update as part of their support and license terms.
  • Another feature that is available is a configurable feature to give a discount at redemption. This is a nice promotion that can be added for VIP cardholders or all guests. A minimum amount is configured after which a percentage discount is automatically applied to a transaction at our Redemption Pro. I think this is best offered as part of a VIP program.

I am glad to demo any of these features and more to anyone who contacts me.

GSG Banner Ad

Gold Standard/Shelti

(Mark Robins:  [email protected])

Mark Robins Marks an Air Hockey 30-Year Anniversary
Gold Standard/Shelti owner Mark Robbins is one of the industry’s top authorities on air hockey. He reminded us of an important event that happened 30 years ago this month.

“In July 1986, the first production models of the Dynamo Air Hockey hit the street, marking the beginnings of a stunning reversal in the fortunes of the game that was first introduced in 1972,” wrote Mark, who was personally involved in the project.

“Air hockey had been decimated in the early ’80s by the advent of video games and, in 1978 by the withdrawal from the market of the Brunswick Corp., the game’s original manufacturer. Three of Dynamo’s first five air hockey tables went to operator Vince Schappell of All Prime Amusements in Houston. He provided valuable feedback and assistance with the tweaks and revisions that seem to be an inevitable part of the process of launching a new product,” Robbins recalled.

Thanks for the historical info, Mark, and keep that air hockey flag flying high at your Bay City factory!

Face Place

Apple Face Place Photobooths are at Home at the 87th MLB All-Star Game

(Exactly as Reported by Vending Times)

pic06SAN DIEGO, CA — The 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star game offered fans of America’s pastime the opportunity to create a visual souvenir of the occasion at a Face Place photobooth. The 87th annual contest in a storied series was played during the scheduled break marking the midpoint of the baseball season. This year’s game was hosted by the San Diego Padres and played at Petco Park here on July 12.

Apple Industries, which designs and produces Face Place photobooths, signed a license agreement with MLB in 2013 that makes Face Place the officially licensed photo booth of Major League Baseball and the All-Star Game. “Our MLB license has allowed us to manufacture custom photo booths for individual teams, which are featured at their respective ballparks,” reported Allen Weisberg, Apple President.

Baseball fans thronging San Diego for All-Star Week had several opportunities to enjoy Apple Industries’ innovative photo booths. American League rooters also enjoyed the final score: the AL notched a 4-2 win, obtaining home field advantage for this year’s World Series.



Ask Frank the Crank – Technical Tips

How to Properly Charge Your Smartphone

(Antonio Villas-Boas-Tech Insider)

Sometimes learning about a product we use every day and want to last as long as possible, like our cell phone battery that barely lasts a day, can help us save time and money on other battery operated items we use as game technicians.  Here are a few things to know about how and why our cell phone batteries get as stressed out as we do:

Myth:  Charging smartphone in small bursts will cause damage to the battery and it is better to charge it when the battery is ‘close to dead’.

Fact:  According to battery company Cadex’s Battery University, smartphone lithium-ion batteries are ‘sensitive to their own versions of “stress.”

pic11Rules to Follow:

  • Do not keep charging the battery when it is fully charged. Once the battery is 100% charged, only trickle charges then keep it at 100% charged level.  These trickle charges start the process of wearing down the battery chemistry components.
  • Try not to charge it to 100%. These batteries have less stress when they are not fully charged.
  • Plug it in for multiple short time periods during the day topping it up. Best practice is to charge your phone when it loses 10% of its charge.
  • Keep your cell phone cool as the batteries are heat sensitive. Even Apple recommends that cases that insulate heat should be removed when charging. Also keep your cell phone away from the hot sun even while using it.
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Error Code:  “Tickets Still Owed”

(Ray Dachik, Alpha-Omega Amusements Regional Game Technician)

Ray’s advice:  “Make sure you’ve exhausted the simple answers before you go looking for an exotic and expensive cure.

Problem.  Game dispenses a few tickets and stops, error message display reads, ‘Tickets Still Owed.”

Step 1.  Swap the ticket dispenser with one from a different game. If problem does not travel with the original ticket dispenser,

Step 2.  Check the wiring harness from the ticket dispenser back to the motherboard, looking for loose wires, bad connections, cut wire cases, continuity.

Step 3. Making the assumption that the motherboard is bad seems logical, but let’s try one more thing.  Take a look at the actual tickets paying special attention to the notches.  The current stack of tickets in the “bad” game barely had a notch on 1 side and more than a 3/4 notch on the side of the ticket that unfortunately was not running through the dispenser’s sensor. Flipping the ticket stack cured the problem.

Imagine if I ordered an advance replacement of the motherboard and one week later found out that the problem was not the motherboard?  Yes, my game would have been out of order for a week and I would have some egg on my face.

We have seen this great quote many times:  “Those who do not learn from the errors of the past are doomed to repeat them.” Why do I have that sinking suspicion that years from now, the last possibility I will be checking when I encounter the same problem, will be the ticket notches?


Question About Hit Frequency From Frank’s Most Recent Crane Article.

Maximizing Game Room Revenue – Part 4

Hello Frank,
I have been to a couple of your seminars, one at IAPPA and one at Bowl Expo this last June in Las Vegas.

I had a question about your Crane article. At one point in the article you state that “With experimentation, I have learned that a
range of 1:10 to 1:12 is a good hit frequency range for cranes” and at another place you say “Through years of experimentation with
hit frequencies, I have learned that most people will really enjoy playing when the hit frequency is 1:3 and that’s how I set up my
Tickets-Tickets-Tickets crane”.

These two statements seem to conflict with one another. What do you think the best hit frequency is?

Thanks, Greg Laird
Northgate Bowl, Salem, OR

Frank’s Response

The two statements you refer to are intended to be for two different types of crane prize setups that also can have different price/play costs.

The 1:10 to 1:12 hit frequency is for plush toys or hard goods.  This is simply the most tries a normal human being will ‘tolerate’ before giving up.  Play 12 times and only win the prize 1 time.  That is not to say that that person likes the idea of only winning 1 in 12 tries, but the limit.  We must use this when we have, for example, a prize that costs us the crane operator/owner say $4 and we cannot possibly stay in business with a cost of sales above 33%.  So if the customer plays 12 times at $1/play he has spent $12 and if he wins 1 prize that we pay $4 for, that is a 33% Win%.  If the player feels that this prize is worth $10 for example, he/she may be satisfied that they did OK.  Not great, but OK and got something of value for their $12 spent + some fun.
Now we move to what a player really likes to keep them playing over and over after they win the prize they are going for.  This is how I set up my ticket crane with a hit frequency of 1 win for every 3 tries or 1:3.  They spend $3 on 3 tries and get 1 win on average.  Sometimes they win the 100 ticket bundle and sometimes they win the 150 ticket bundle.  My ticket value is 3/4 cent ($0.0075) so 100 tickets redeemed cost me 75 cents but the player believes that 100 tickets are worth $3 in redemption prizes, so he is even.  If he/she wins the 150 ticket bundle, he/she believes that 150 tickets are worth $4.50 so he/she is now ahead $1.50 on the $3 spent.
It works out for me that the players go for the 150 ticket bundles and 1/3rd of the time they get the 150 and 1/3rd of the time they get the 100 so it all works out that the player averages $3.75 (perceived in their own mind) for every $3 they spend.  That is why they continue to play over and over and over until they get the number of tickets they need for the prize(s) they want to redeem.
Hope that answers your question and explains why the two statements are not contradictory. My Experience tells me the best Hit Frequency for our industry is actually 1:3.
Respectfully, Frank ‘the Crank’

TRR Laser-Blast Button Logo + Text in another document 1-23-16

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Industry Events 2016

Dates Name/Link City/Country Frank ‘the Crank’ Attending/Speaking
September 2016
12 – 13 AAMA Annual Meeting & Gala St. Charles, IL
13 – 15 International Association of Trampoline Parks Trade Show – IATP Nashville, TN 💡 SPEAKING
16 – 19 AMOA Mid-Year Board Meeting Ashville, NC ➡ ATTENDING
27 – 29 Global Gaming Expo G2E Las Vegas, NV
October 2016
4 – 5 Amusement Products FEC SUCCESS Chatternooga, TN
5 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ 💡 SPEAKING
Frank ‘the Crank’ addressing student group on opportunities in the Leasure Entertainment Industry.
13 – 15 China International Games & Amusement Fair – G&A 2016 Zhongshan, China
18 – 20 Foundations University 3-Day Phoenix, AZ 💡 SPEAKING
21 – 23 AMOA Rhodes Scholar Program Phoenix, AZ 💡 SPEAKING
21 – 23 Amusement & Music Owners Association of Florida
November 2016
14 – 18 IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 Orlando, FL ➡ ATTENDING


ORCA Coast