Bally Manufacturing

Last updated
Bally Manufacturing
Industry Interactive entertainment
FateAcquired by Hilton
FoundedJanuary 10, 1932;87 years ago (1932-01-10)
Founder Raymond Moloney
DefunctDecember 18, 1996;22 years ago (1996-12-18)
Headquarters Chicago
Products Pinball
slot machines
later expanded into casinos, video games, health clubs, and theme parks

Bally Manufacturing, later renamed Bally Entertainment, was an American company that began as a pinball and slot machine manufacturer, and later expanded into casinos, video games, health clubs, and theme parks. It was acquired by Hilton Hotels in 1996. Its brand name is still used by several businesses previously linked to Bally Manufacturing, most notably Bally Technologies.

Pinball type of arcade game

Pinball is a type of arcade game, in which points are scored by a player manipulating one or more metallic balls on a play field inside a glass-covered cabinet called a pinball machine. The primary objective of the game is to score as many points as possible, often within a limited time. Many modern pinball machines include a "storyline" where the player must complete certain objectives in a certain fashion to complete the story, usually earning high scores for different methods of completing the game. Different numbers of points are earned when the ball strikes different targets on the play field. A drain is situated at the bottom of the play field, partially protected by player-controlled paddles called flippers. A game ends after all the balls fall into the drain a certain number of times. Secondary objectives are to maximize the time spent playing and to earn bonus games.

Slot machine casino gambling machine

A slot machine, known variously as a fruit machine, puggy, the slots, poker machine/pokies, or simply slot, is a casino gambling machine that creates a game of chance for its customers.

Bally Technologies company

Bally Technologies, Inc. is an American manufacturer of slot machines and other gaming technology based in Enterprise, Nevada. It is owned by Scientific Games Corporation.

Contents

History

The Bally Manufacturing Corporation was founded by Raymond Moloney on January 10, 1932, when Bally's original parent, Lion Manufacturing, established the company to make pinball games. The company took its name from its first game, Ballyhoo. The company, based in Chicago, quickly became a leading maker of the games. In the late 1930s, Moloney began making gambling equipment, and had great success developing and improving the mechanical slot machines that were the core of the nascent gaming industry. After manufacturing munitions and airplane parts during World War II, Bally Manufacturing Corporation continued to produce innovations in flipperless pinball machines, bingo machines, payout machines and console slot machines through the late 1950s. They also designed and manufactured vending machines and established a coffee vending service. The company made a brief venture into the music business with their own record label, Bally Records. [1]

Raymond T. Moloney invented the "Bally Hoo" pinball machine in 1931, and founded the Bally Manufacturing Corporation of Chicago, IL, USA on January 10, 1932.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.

Gambling wagering of money on a game of chance or event with an uncertain outcome

Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, risk (chance), and a prize. The outcome of the wager is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line, but longer time frames are also common, allowing wagers on the outcome of a future sports contest or even an entire sports season.

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 by the end of the decade. In 1964, Bally introduced the first electromechanical slot machine in 1963, called the "Money Honey.", Bally became a publicly traded company and made several acquisitions, including German company Guenter Wulff-Apparatebau (renamed Bally Wulff) and Midway Manufacturing, an amusement game company from Schiller Park, Illinois.

Public company Company that offers its securities for sale to the general public

A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a corporation whose ownership is dispersed among the general public in many shares of stock which are freely traded on a stock exchange or in over-the-counter markets. In some jurisdictions, public companies over a certain size must be listed on an exchange. A public company can be listed or unlisted.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Midway Games Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher. Midway's franchises included Mortal Kombat, Rampage, Spy Hunter, NBA Jam, Cruis'n, and NFL Blitz. Midway also acquired the rights to video games that were originally developed by Williams Electronics and Atari Games, such as Defender, Joust, Robotron 2084, Gauntlet, and the Rush series.

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 T. O'Donnell was forced to resign because of alleged links to organized crime. Prior to this, Mr O'Donnell strenuously denied any such links. [2] For example, when questioned at the Moffitt Royal Commission (the NSW Clubs Royal Commission) - an investigation held New South Wales, Australia - on alleged criminal activities with US and Australian criminals, he admitted that Genovese Mafia boss, Jerry Catena (Gerardo Catena), once owned shares in the business, "but I bought him out." [2] He also denied knowing Chicago mobster, Joseph Dan Testa, even though Australian Police described Testa "as a representative of Bally who visited Australia." [2]

Casino facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities

A casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. The industry that deals in casinos is called the gaming industry. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. There is much debate over whether the social and economic consequences of casino gambling outweigh the initial revenue that may be generated. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.

New Jersey State of the United States of America

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Atlantic City, New Jersey City in Atlantic County, New Jersey, U.S.

Atlantic City is a resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches. In 2010, the city had a population of 39,558. It was incorporated on May 1, 1854, from portions of Egg Harbor Township and Galloway Township. It borders Absecon, Brigantine, Pleasantville, Ventnor City, Egg Harbor Township, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The company opened the Park Place Casino & Hotel on December 29, 1979. [3] [4] Also in the late 1970s, Bally made an entry into the growing market for home computer games. The Bally Professional Arcade, as the machine was called, had 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. The machine's price point was above 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 became a primary source of income for Bally as it became an early arcade video game maker and obtained the licenses for three of the most popular video games of all time: Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. [3]

Ballys Atlantic City hotel and casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Bally's Atlantic City is a hotel and casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey that is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment. The Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel stood on the site before the casino was built. It is famous for its address of "Park Place and the Boardwalk", two locations popularized by the board game Monopoly. Bally's is one of the largest hotels on the boardwalk with nearly 1,169 rooms. Its Dennis Tower opened in 1921. In 1997, The Wild Wild West Casino was opened as an expansion of Bally's.

BASIC Programming language

BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

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 in 1983, and the Health and Tennis Corporation of America. The health club division, under "Bally Total Fitness", grew during the 1980s and 1990s. The company also purchased several casinos, including the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip (which was subsequently re-branded as Bally's Las Vegas), The MGM Grand Reno (Reno, NV) and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City which was branded Bally's Grand and then later "The Grand-A Bally's Casino Resort". 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.

Six Flags Entertainment company based in Grand Prairie, Texas

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, also known as Six Flags Theme Parks or simply Six Flags, is an amusement park corporation based in the United States, with properties in the US, Canada and Mexico. It is the largest amusement park company in the world, based on the number of properties owned and is ranked seventh in terms of attendance. The company operates 25 properties throughout North America, including theme parks, amusement parks, water parks and a family entertainment center. In 2017, Six Flags properties hosted 30.4 million guests.

Bally Total Fitness American fitness club chain originally part of Bally Manufacturing

Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation was an American fitness club chain. At its 2007 peak, prior to the filing of the first of two Chapter 11 bankruptcies, Bally operated nearly 440 facilities located in 29 U.S. states, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, China, and the Caribbean under the Bally Total Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Gorilla Sports, Pinnacle Fitness, Bally Sports Clubs, and Sports Clubs of Canada brands.

Las Vegas Strip 4 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard with many resorts, shows, and casinos

The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada that is known for its concentration of resort hotels and casinos. The Strip is approximately 4.2 miles (6.8 km) in length, located immediately south of the Las Vegas city limits in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. However, the Strip is often referred to as being in Las Vegas.

The 1990s

In 1990, Bally came under new management as its largest shareholder, Arthur Goldberg, was appointed chairman and began a restructuring process. [5] By 1993, the company had sold off several divisions and used the proceeds to pay down debts, including the slot machine division (which became Bally Gaming International, an independent company); Scientific Games, a maker of lottery equipment; Bally's Reno; and exercise equipment maker Life Fitness. [6] The Aladdin's Castle chain of video arcades was sold that year to Namco, and was renamed as Namco Cybertainment.

The company opened Bally's Saloon & Gambling Hall, a riverboat casino in Mhoon Landing, Mississippi in December 1993. [7] [8] It was moved to Robinsonville in 1995 and became part of a joint venture with Lady Luck Gaming. [9]

In 1994, the company changed its name to Bally Entertainment, to reflect its focus on the casino business and the fact that it no longer had any manufacturing operations. [10] [11] It also announced that the health club business would be spun off to shareholders, to further narrow Bally's focus on casinos. [11] The spin-off was completed in January 1996, with Bally Total Fitness becoming a separate company. [12] [13]

In May 1995, Bally Entertainment announced plans to develop Paris Las Vegas, a new casino hotel next to Bally's Las Vegas. The project would eventually begin construction in 1997 and open in 1999 at an estimated cost of $760 million.

In June 1996, Bally agreed to be acquired by Hilton Hotels Corporation. [14] The sale was completed on December 18, 1996, with Hilton paying $3 billion ($2 billion in stock plus $1 billion in assumed debt). [15] Later, Hilton's casino division, including the former Bally properties, was spun off as Park Place Entertainment (later Caesars Entertainment, Inc.), which was acquired in 2005 by Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment Corp.).

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. 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. Alliance Gaming, which had bought Bally Gaming International in 1995, changed its name to Bally Technologies. 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 name is most well known for being in the song, "Pinball Wizard" in the rock opera Tommy and its soundtrack.

Pinball machines using the Bally brand

Select Machines Developed by Bally or Bally-Midway

  • Amigo (1974)
  • Ballyhoo (flipperless) (1932)
  • Bally Baby (slot machine) (1932)
  • Ballyhoo (flippers) (1947)
  • Baby Pac-Man (1982)
  • Blackwater 100 (1988)
  • BMX (1982)
  • Boomerang (1974)
  • Bow and Arrow (1974)
  • Capersville (1967)
  • Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1976)
  • Centaur (1981) & Centaur II (1983)
  • Cybernaut (1985)
  • Dixieland (1968)
  • Dogies (1968)
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1987)
  • Eight Ball (1977)
  • Eight Ball Deluxe (1981)
  • Evel Knievel (1977)
  • Fathom (1981)
  • Flash Gordon (1981)
  • Fireball (1972)
  • Fireball II (1981)
  • Freedom (1976)
  • Four Million B.C. (1971)
  • Frontier (1980)
  • Future Spa (1979)
  • Hi-Lo Ace (1973)
  • Hokus Pokus (1975)
  • KISS (1979)
  • Lady Luck (1986)
  • Lost World (1978)
  • Mata Hari (1977)
  • Monte Carlo (1973)
  • Night Rider" (1977)
  • Nip-It (1972)
  • Nitro Ground Shaker (1978)
  • Odds and Evens (1973)
  • On Beam (1968)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man (1982)
  • Paragon (1979)
  • Playboy (1978)
  • Power Play (1977)
  • Shoot-A-Line (1962)
  • Sky Divers (1964)
  • Strange Science (1986)
  • Strikes and Spares (1978)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (1978)
  • Vector (1982)
  • Wizard! (1975)
  • Xenon (1980)

Developed by Midway

Developed by The Pinball Factory

The Crocodile Hunter Outback Adventure based on the wildlife documentary television series The Crocodile Hunter was in development by Australian pinball manufacturer The Pinball Factory under license from Bally. It was abandoned at the end of 2007 due to the death of the main character of the game, Steve Irwin, and never went into production. [16]

Slot machines

Casinos

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 "Bally chief denies links with mafia". The Age. 18 September 1973. Retrieved 8 October 2018 via Google News.
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  4. "Bally Manufacturing Corp". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  5. P.J. Bednarski (November 13, 1990). "Top exec quits as Bally revamps". Chicago Sun-Times via NewsBank.
  6. Debra Dowling (December 19, 1993). "Goldberg whips Bally Gaming into shape". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ via NewsBank.
  7. Laurel Campbell (December 7, 1993). "Adjacent casinos open in Tunica". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN via NewsBank.
  8. "Bally's licensed to open in Tunica". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN. AP. December 4, 1993 via NewsBank.
  9. Michelle Hillier (December 22, 1995). "Bally's rolls upriver, reopens casino closer to Memphis crowds". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Little Rock, AR via NewsBank.
  10. Scott Ritter (March 18, 1994). "Options help CEO's earnings". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ via NewsBank.
  11. 1 2 David Dishneau (May 18, 1994). "Bally gambling its games will outperform its gyms". Akron Beacon Journal. AP via NewsBank.
  12. "Bally spin-off final". Chicago Sun-Times. January 10, 1996 via NewsBank.
  13. Debra Dowling (September 19, 1995). "Bally Entertainment pushing out its network of push-up centers". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ via NewsBank.
  14. Barry Meier (June 7, 1996). "Hilton Hotels to buy Bally Entertainment for more than $2 billion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  15. Joe Weinert (December 19, 1996). "Hilton and Bally close deal". The Press of Atlantic City via NewsBank.
  16. "Internet Pinball Machine Database: The Pinball Factory 'The Crocodile Hunter Outback Adventure'". www.ipdb.org.