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Merit Entertainment was the talk of the recent AMOA show in Las Vegas as they unveiled their new Megatouch Aurora Widescreen game system to operators and distributors. The Aurora WS is a spectacular showcase for over 150 touchscreen favorites from Merit’s industry-leading game catalog. The 14 brand new titles on their 2009 software release, including multiple hi-res games, take full advantage of the system’s vivid, 19” widescreen LCD. The unit also makes room for a media sidebar, allotting operators and locations a piece of on-screen real estate on which to run advertising and promotions.

With the release of this new countertop also comes a new connected business model, which delivers an entire range of benefits to operators. By purchasing an Aurora WS, operators score free software upgrades for life, free Tournamaxx (there is a $.05 per-play, but only on tournament plays), plus credit card support, which enables players to easily purchase more credits. Credit cards can also serve as an instant player login, driving player loyalty and repeat play. All of this is available at the same price as a regular Megatouch Aurora, plus $25 per month starting 12 months after the first connection. There are no fees during the first year (Tournamaxx per-play costs still apply). Merit also developed exclusive, patent-pending technology around the credit card to really boost operator earnings. Like gift cards at retailers and restaurants, when a player buys credits with a credit card, the Aurora WS will automatically create a player account to store purchased credits. Whenever the player comes back and swipes the card, their stored credits will be made available (they are moved from the main menu into the player’s vault when the unit goes into idle).

Here’s the twist – the operator can specify an expiration period for credits purchased on a given Aurora WS. Expiration options include hourly, weekly, and monthly, among many more. When purchasing credits, players will be informed that they must use them by the expiration period. From the player’s perspective, this is still a huge win. Never before has the player been able to store credits – it’s always been “use ‘em or lose ‘em.” Ultimately, many of these credits will go unplayed and expire. Not only do operators get their money at the time of purchase, but they also get the “breakage,” the unused credits that expire and are never played. “With the Aurora Widescreen we’ve designed a product that serves the players and the operators extremely well,” said Colin Higbie, Merit’s Director of Marketing. “Players will love the simplified account creation and experiencing their favorite games on the widescreen interface. Operators will love the automatic software updates, no Tournamaxx fees, and enhanced earnings provided by the advertising and credit card capabilities.”

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