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Companies that stand to profit waiting for green light
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff

Incredible Technologies in Arlington Heights, makers of Golden Tee Golf, has developed games that will likely fall under the new gambling expansion legislation heading to Gov. Pat Quinn.

 

Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/1/2009 12:17 AM

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In the late 1980s, a former pinball machine company in Arlington Heights hit the jackpot with the golf video game Golden Tee.

Today, Golden Tee Golf is billed as "the most successful coin-operated amusement game in history" by the makers, Incredible Technologies.

Three years ago, Incredible Technologies started working on video poker and slot machines to sell to casinos. Now that lawmakers want to legalize those machines in thousands of bars and restaurants across the state, Incredible Technologies is just one of dozens of companies that could benefit locally from the massive gambling expansion.

"We know how to make games that adults will put money in," says Gary Colabuono, marketing director for Incredible Technologies.

Companies making slot machines won't be the only ones to benefit. Businesses that currently lease amusement games to bars - like A.H. Entertainers in Rolling Meadows - also are expected to cash in as so-called gambling terminal operators,

The legalization is also expected to help information technology companies. The machines are supposed to be connected statewide to the Illinois Gaming Board for monitoring, a project Incredible Technologies hopes to help with using its system that connects Golden Tee Golf games nationwide.

Such companies along with liquor-license-holders have been lobbying lawmakers for years to allow such widespread gambling. It appears to have paid off this year, as legislation allowing five machines in clubs, bars, truck stops and other liquor-license establishments is set to go to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature. If Quinn signs off on the plan, Illinois would be one of just a handful of states allowing such gaming.

"The bars are really being hurt with the cost of gas, the tougher DUI laws and smoking bans," said Colabuono. "If this is going to help them, God bless it. Let's make it happen."

In Illinois, Incredible Technologies would be competing with at least one other manufacturer of video-based gambling machines, WMS Gaming in Waukegan. WMS supplies games to casinos around the world.

Meanwhile, Incredible Technologies officials see legalized gambling in bars as a perfect window to get in on the market.

"Locations are already saying, 'I want my five machines now,'" said Colabuono.