Bally Technologies: Wikis

  
  

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Bally Technologies Incorporated
Type Public (NYSEBYI)
Founded 1968
Headquarters Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Industry Casino games
Accounting systems
Products Video slot machines, Reel Slot machines, Casino Management systems
Revenue $547 million USD +13.2% FY '05 to '06)
Subsidiaries ACSC, MCC, SDS
Website ballytech.com
This article is about a manufacturer of slot and pinball machines. For other uses, see Bally (disambiguation).

Bally Technologies, Inc. NYSEBYI[1][2] is an American corporation based in Las Vegas, Nevada and is the descendant and continuation of the original Bally Manufacturing Corporation of Chicago.

Bally Technologies was founded in 1968 as "Advanced Patent Technologies". It eventually changed its name to "Alliance Gaming Corporation" and acquired, in 1996, "Bally Gaming International" (a former division of the Bally Manufacturing Corporation), which it decided to run as a subsidiary under the name "Bally Gaming and Systems". In 2006, the entire Alliance Gaming Corporation organization was officially renamed Bally Technologies Inc.

The Bally brand name has been in existence since 1932 with a complex history of reorganizations, mergers, and divestitures. It has its roots as an early maker of pinball games and later slot machines. It later became associated with both the health club and hotel/resort industries.

Contents

History

The Bally Manufacturing Corporation was founded by Raymond Moloney on January 10, 1932 when Bally's original parent company, Lion Manufacturing, established the company to make pinball games. The company took its name from its first game, dubbed Ballyhoo. The company, based in Chicago, quickly became a leading maker of the popular games. In the late 1930s, Moloney decided to begin making gambling equipment, and had great success developing and improving the modern mechanical slot machines that formed the backbone of the nascent gaming industry. After a wartime foray into manufacturing munitions and airplane parts, Bally Manufacturing Corporation continued to produce innovations in both pinball and slot machines through the late 1950s, and also designed and manufactured vending machines and established a coffee vending service.

Ray Moloney died in 1958 and the company floundered briefly. With the financial failure of its parent company, Bally was bought out by a group of investors in 1963. Throughout the 1960s Bally continued to dominate the slot machine industry, cornering over 90% of the worldwide market for the machines by the end of the decade. In 1964, Bally introduced the first electromechanical slot machine, called the "Money Honey." [3] In the late 1960s, Bally became a publicly-traded company and made several acquisitions, including German company Wulff-Apparatebau (renamed Bally Wulff) and Midway Manufacturing, an amusement game company from Illinois.

The 1970s

In the late 1970s, Bally entered the casino business when New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City. This effort moved forward even though the company was temporarily unable to attain a permanent license for the completed casino. During this period, company head William O'Donnell was forced to resign because of alleged links to organized crime. The company opened Bally's Park Place on December 29, 1979.[4][5]

Also in the late 1970s, Bally made an entry into the growing market for home computer games. The Bally Astrocade, as the machine was called, had some very advanced features for the time. These included a palette of 256 colors and the ability to play 4-voice music. The machine also shipped with a cartridge that allowed users to do a limited amount of programming on the machine themselves (using the BASIC language), and record their creations on cassette tape. Unfortunately, the machine's price point was higher than that of the Atari 2600 (its major competitor), and it had a much more limited set of available games. Despite a loyal following, it failed to compete successfully. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Midway would become a primary source of income for Bally as it became an early arcade video game maker and obtained the licenses for two of the most popular video games of all time: Space Invaders and Pac-Man.[4]

The 1980s

By the mid-1980s, the company again had a strong balance sheet and began buying other businesses including the Six Flags amusement park chain and the Health and Tennis Corporation of America. The health club division increased to grow during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The company also purchased several casinos, including the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in the Las Vegas Strip (which was subsequently re-branded as Bally's Las Vegas) and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. However, this expansion quickly took its toll on the company's finances, and Bally was soon forced to sell off several divisions, including Six Flags and Bally-Midway. The pinball division, along with Midway, was acquired by Williams Electronics in 1988.

The 1990s

Under new management in 1992, the newly named Bally Entertainment Corporation focused on the health club business and spun off the game-manufacturing parts of the company. The Aladdin's Castle chain of game arcades was sold to Namco in 1993, and was renamed Namco Cybertainment, Inc. By 1993 the core manufacturing division was the leader in fitness equipment including the Life Fitness brand including 'Life Cycle', 'Life Step' and 'Life Rower' machines. However, the success was short lived and Life Fitness was sold to the Brunswick Corporation. In 1995, Bally Gaming International Inc. and Alliance Gaming Corporation merged. The company now named, Alliance Gaming International, had three divisions: Bally Gaming (slot manufacturing), Bally Systems (slot accounting, security, management, and player rewards programs) and Bally Wulff (wall machines).

In 1998, Bally Gaming introduced 'Thrillions', a wide-area linked progressive jackpot system, with cartoon icon Betty Boop as the initial game theme on the link. The Thrillions wide area "progressives" are unique in that they permit play for the same jackpot on machines of different denominations, such as nickel, quarter and dollar slot machines[6]; essentially using a parimutuel betting system. This introduced a new type of recurring revenue for the company, so they needed not rely only on the sales of manufactured items. One of the video gaming platforms to come from Bally in this period was the 'GameMaker', the first touch-screen video poker game. There were also the EVO VIDEO game platform and the EVO 3, which was created in part through a unique Rapid Development Partnership (RDP) with Microsoft Corporation.[4][7]

The 2000s

Alliance Gaming, now named Bally Technologies, is focused on the casino gaming industry. Acquisitions of such companies as Casino Marketplace, MindPlay and Advanced Casino Systems Corporation (ACSC) have allowed the Bally Systems division to dominate the rapidly expanding slot accounting market. The Company’s past systems acquisitions include the former Honeyframe, Ltd. of Telford, England and Micro Clever Consulting (MCC) of Nice, France.[4] Both companies offer scalable suites of slot accounting and casino management systems. Bally took the publicly traded company from the brink of NASDAQ delisting in 2000 to record revenues and profits just two years later. On December 12, 2002 when Alliance Gaming moved from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the ticker symbol “AGI”.

In 2004, Bally acquired Sierra Design Group (SDG), a Reno, Nevada developer of gaming devices and systems, primarily for the expanding Class II Native American and government-run central-determination video lottery businesses. Refocused as a gaming technology company, Bally re-engineered its entire line of video and reel-spinning slot machines, using entirely new software. Dubbed the ALPHA OS, this new operating system dramatically improved Bally's entire portfolio of slot machine products, leading to the release of "Hot Shot Progressives," a new series of video and reel-spinning slot machines. Overtaking the Blazing 7s slot machine, Hot Shot Progressives quickly became the company's biggest seller and most successful product launch in the company's history. Bally also introduced several new gaming platforms, including the V20 upright, the dual-screen V20/20 video slot, the S9E reel-spinner and the CineVision wide-screen video gaming device. As of July, 2009, more than 550 casinos worldwide utilize Bally systems products running on more than 400,000 slot machines.

In 2007, Bally Technologies celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Bally trademark with a series of special customer events in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Nevada and Chicago, Illinois. Additionally, Dr. Christian Marfels, author of the book "Bally - The World's Game Maker"[8] was commissioned by Bally to write a second edition[4], bringing the history of Bally up to date. This book was printed in both hardcover and softcover editions and a copy was given to every Bally employee to commemorate the Company's anniversary.

In 2008, Bally Technologies acquired CoolSign, a multi-media management tool, from Planar. And, in 2009, the Company's iVIEW Display Manager, won Casino Journal Magazine's Platinum Award for the "Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products of 2008."

On the games side, in 2008 and 2009, Bally has released a number of new products to the gaming industry, including its new Digital Tower Series, whose games feature, dymanic, interactive and animated top-box displays. Additionally, in 2009 the Company released its new "Jumbo" cabinets, which measure nearly eight feet high by three feet wide.

Bally Technologies recently opened a new European sales/service hub in Amsterdam, The Netherland. It also operates two Research and Development centers in Chennai and Bangalore, India, employing approximately 750 people.

The Company's current executive management team consists of Mr. Richard Haddrill, CEO; Mr. Gavin Isaacs, COO; Mr. Robert Caller, CFO; and Mr. Ramesh Srinivasan, Exec. VP - Systems Division. Mr. Bruce Rowe is Sr. VP of Business Development.

The name

Many casinos and businesses worldwide took on the Bally name and logo in the maze of ownership, division spin-offs and licensing agreements. Midway continued to use the Bally name for its pinball games, until WMS Industries (the parent company of Williams) ceased pinball production in 1999. In 1995, Bally Entertainment Corporation (formerly Bally Manufacturing Corporation) was purchased by Hilton Hotels Corporation. Later the casino resorts division of Hilton Hotels became Park Place Entertainment, which later changed its name to Caesars Entertainment, and in 2005 was acquired by Harrah's Entertainment. On March 31, 2005, WMS Industries struck a deal with Australian company The Pinball Factory to give them a license for the intellectual properties and the rights to re-manufacture former Bally/Williams games in the field of mechanical pinball. In addition, The Pinball Factory also has bought the right to manufacture new games using the company's new hardware system under the Bally brand. Bally Total Fitness and distributor Bally France still use the same 'Bally' logo though any formal business relationships, as of June 2007, are coincidental.

The shareholders of Alliance Gaming Corp., the parent company of Bally Gaming, Inc., voted on March 6, 2006 to formally change the name of the corporate entity to Bally Technologies, Inc., discontinue the use of Bally Gaming and Systems as an Alliance subsidiary and present a singular name. Bally Technologies is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BYI.[1][2]

Pinball machines using the Bally brand

Developed by Bally or Bally-Midway

  • Amigo (1974)
  • Ballyhoo (flipperless) (1932)
  • Ballyhoo (flippers) (1947)
  • Baby Pac-Man (1982)
  • Blackwater 100 (1988)
  • BMX (1982)
  • Boomerang (1974)
  • Capersville (1967)
  • Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1976)
  • Dogies (1968)
  • Eight Ball (1977)
  • Evel Knievel (1977)
  • Fireball (1972)
  • Fireball II (1981)
  • Four Million B.C. (1971)
  • Frontier (1980)
  • KISS (1979)
  • Lady Luck (1986)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man (1982)
  • Playboy (1978)
  • Rampage (1986)
  • Shoot-A-Line (1962)
  • Sky Divers (1964)
  • Strange Science (1986)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (1978)
  • Wizard! (1975)
  • Xenon (1980) features music and voices by electronic music composer Suzanne Ciani
  • Nip-It (1972) features ball grabbing feature called balligtor. Used on TV show Happy Days

Developed by Midway

  • The Addams Family (1992; based on the 1991 movie, it would go on to become the best-selling pinball with flippers of all time)[9]

Developed by The Pinball Factory

Slot machines

  • Money Honey (1964)
  • Jackpot Riot (1993)
  • Blazing 7s (1993)
  • Playboy (2002)

References

  1. ^ a b "Listed Companies: Bally Technologies, Inc.". New York Stock Exchange. http://www.nyse.com/about/listed/byi.html. Retrieved 25 June 2007.  
  2. ^ a b "Bally Technologies Inc. - Company Information". http://ballytech.com/company-information. Retrieved 25 June 2007.  
  3. ^ ""Slot Machine History", Online Casino Press". http://www.onlinecasinopress.co.uk/slot-machines-history.html. Retrieved 21 June 2007.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Christian Marfels; 2007, Bally: The World's Game Maker, 2nd ed., Bally Technologies Inc., Las Vegas ISBN 978-1-4243-3207-6
  5. ^ ""Bally Manufacturing Corp.", Encyclopedia of Chicago". http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2562.html. Retrieved 21 June 2007.  
  6. ^ Alliance Gaming, SEC 10-K, FY 1999, p. 5.
  7. ^ Alliance Gaming, SEC 10-K, FY 2001, p. 3.
  8. ^ Marfels, Dr. Christian (September 2001), Bally - The World's Game Maker (1st ed.), UNLV International Gaming Institute, ISBN 978-0965-2-9382-2  
  9. ^ ""Internet Pinball Database - The Addams Family", Pinball Hall of Fame". http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=20. Retrieved 22 June 2007.  

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