Issue Date: Vol. 46, No. 5, May 2006, Posted On: 4/21/2006
APRIL, 21 2006: Gas Prices Expected To Hurt Cashboxes; Louisiana Video Poker Expansion Fails; Arkansas Smoking Ban Takes Effect July 7; AP Story Sees Possible ‘Death Spiral’ For Arcades; Settlement Reached In ICT, MEI Lawsuit
BLACK GOLD: $4 AT THE PUMP IN BEVERLY HILLS
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — One day after oil prices hit an all-time record high of $74 per barrel, a $4.049 per gallon price at the pump was recorded at one station here for full-service, high-octane gas yesterday. The last time U.S. gas prices hit record highs, in the fall of 2005, operators nationwide experienced a sharp decline in location traffic and machine collections. If gas prices remain this high – and at least one leading amusements industry figure predicts they may, as do many economists – then operators could be in for a long, dry summer.
GOVERNOR’S VETOTHREATKILLSBAYOUSTATE POKER BILLS
BATON ROUGE, LA — Louisiana’s video poker operators were hoping for passage of two pro-industry measures this summer that would double the limit on legal winnings and expand the number of poker machines permitted in some truckstops. However, sponsors killed both bills on April 19. Cause of death: Gov. Kathleen Blanco vowed to veto them if passed. According to local news outlets, a poker industry lobbyist said both bills would be resubmitted as soon as a new governor takes office. That could be in January 2008.
ARKANSAS SMOKING BAN EXEMPTS SOME BARS; WHICH ONE REMAINS UNCLEAR
LITTLE ROCK, AR — Smoking in many of Arkansas’ indoor, public sites becomes illegal on July 7…exactly 90 days after Gov. Mike Huckabee signed Senate Bill 19 into law on April 7. Certain businesses are exempt, but most bars are subject to the ban. Exceptions include bars where smoke does not drift into designated nonsmoking areas; however, the statute apparently fails to define precisely what violates this guideline. It also fails to draw a clear line between bars and restaurants, which may not permit smoking under any conditions. Arkansas is the 12th state to ban smoking in enclosed areas, but the anti-smoking crusade has not yet expired here. The governor reportedly is leaning toward signing another bill that would make Arkansas the first state to ban smoking in cars when small children are passengers.
ARCADE INDUSTRY MAY BE IN ‘DEATH SPIRAL,’ CLAIMS ASSOCIATED PRESS
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Is the American arcade industry in a “death spiral”? The question was raised – in precisely those words – by a feature story supplied this month to news outlets worldwide by the Associated Press. As of yesterday, the story had only appeared in one paper, but odds are that many more American news organizations will run the story in the next few weeks. “Video (meaning home video games) Killed The Arcade Star,” announced the headline in the East Valley Tribune, published April 20 in this Phoenix-adjacent, upscale city. The AP story reported “the reeling video arcade industry…has plummeted over the past decade.” Industry sources, including association officials and trade magazine editors, were quoted describing an industry under challenge and in transition – a fair assessment by any standard. But the AP’s own spin was considerably gloomier.
ICT, MEI END PATENT DISPUTE
WILMINGTON, DE — International Currency Technologies Corp. and Mars Inc. and Mars Electronics International Inc. -- collectively, “MEI” – have ended a patent dispute in the U.S. District Court here. MEI had alleged that certain ICT bill validators infringed Mars’ U.S. Patent No. 5,632,367. The parties have executed a mutual settlement agreement in which both have dismissed all claims and counterclaims in the litigation without prejudice. Each party bears its own attorneys’ fees and court costs. Both parties agreed that all customers who purchased ICT’s bill validators , and who were previously accused of infringement, are free to use or otherwise dispose of the bill validators in the U.S.
WORLDWIDE VIDEO HOSTS UPCOMING JUKEBOX TELECONFERENCES
SAN DIEGO, CA — Worldwide Video’s Brad Brown is hosting two telephone conferences on music downloading next week. On Monday, April 24, from to (Pacific Standard Time), TouchTunes vice-president Dan McAllister and a major TouchTunes operator, Jason Rubin of A.J. Video Amusements (Baltimore, MD), are the featured speakers. The first half of the hour-long program will consist of a presentation and will be followed by a question and answer period with McAllister and Rubin. An open exchange among participating operators will conclude the program. Another conference using the same format will be held on Wednesday, April 26, also from to , and will be presented by View Interactive Entertainment’s Rick Caviglia . A recorded replay of both conferences will air at 4:00 PM PST on the same day of each live event, with at least one of the speakers available live to answer questions from callers. To participate in the conferences or to hear the replays, call (641) 297-7550 and enter PIN 188517.
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