Boosting Revenue, the Fun Way

Pace-O-Matic skill games draw customers into stores and keep them there.

Boosting Revenue, the Fun Way

April 2024   minute read

By: Amanda Baltazar

When potential customers ask Pace-O-Matic about their skill games and if they’d be a good fit for their stores, the company is more than happy to answer their questions.

But quite often, the most valuable response can come from existing customers. The customers who, years ago, made the decision to go with Pace-O-Matic and have stuck with them.

“We operate with a lot of transparency,” said Paul Goldean, the CEO of Pace-O-Matic. “We always say, don’t take our word for it, ask the companies who have been with us for years.”

What do they say?

Bill Douglass, chairman of Douglass Distributing, who owned Lone Star Food Stores, a chain of 23 establishments, for decades, says Pace-O-Matic’s skill games are “the best single investment any retailer can make.”

Douglass says retailers are looking for new sources of revenue to offset an increase in operating costs and a decrease in gallons sold.

To get there, he said, you must have a product that draws consumers in. And keeps drawing them in.

“We have sold more fuel and inside sales since going with the games,” he said, adding that games remove the chore for consumers of stopping at a convenience store for gas.

“Every month our sales increase, and the reason the sales increase is because the games are creating a marketing awareness that we’ve got a fun activity. Fun sells. Fun works.”

Real Results

Goldean says he hears the same thing from Pilot, 7-Eleven and Love’s, along with hundreds of mom-and-pop convenience stores.

“We’re all about metrics,” Goldean said. “Our research shows that once customers come in to play the games, they’ll stay in the store for around 30 minutes.”

That equates to a boost in overall revenue.

Customers … stay in the store for around 30 minutes.

That extra revenue can accomplish many things, he said. From buying a new roof, to paying competitive wages, to expanding healthcare access for employees or paying critical expenses.

“One retailer was able to get specialized oncology care for his wife thanks to the revenue Pace-O-Matic games brought in,” he said.

Goldean says Pace-O-Matic takes a lot of pride in helping operators of all sizes, but it’s “particularly meaningful” when the games make a big impact in the lives of smaller operators.

“When you make it possible for a mom-and-pop store, which was on its last legs, to stay open in Rock Springs, Wyoming, that’s exciting.”

How It Works

When a convenience store signs up with Pace-O-Matic, the two parties sign a contract.

The agreement states that a store cannot have more than five machines and that the machines cannot bring in more than half of the store’s revenue.

“That way we’re always a supplement to the main business of a c-store,” Goldean said.

The successful partnership of Pace-O-Matic and Republic Amusements, a multistate operational company based in Colorado, works together to deliver supplemental income to small businesses.

Like Goldean, Matt Pascal, the owner of Republic Amusements, gets most excited when helping small businesses turn around.

“This gives people an entry point to the American dream,” Pascal said.

“They see their margins slip and see the cost of business continually going up, not to mention the clampdowns in their industry,” he said.

“But we can come in and give them an opportunity to earn equal or more revenue per square foot than anything else they can earn in the store,” he said. “That is exhilarating.”

Pascal has been working with Pace-O-Matic for seven years and his company is responsible, in some states, for installing the machines, servicing them, handling the money and dealing with any service issues.

Pascal mentioned one improvement that has made things much easier for operators is the use of ticket redemption terminals (TRTs).

When players win, they can cash out that ticket at the TRT so that the store staff doesn’t have to worry about paying out winnings and the safety of carrying that cash.

“Pace-O-Matic is always making improvements,” Pascal said. “And the best part about it is we all have a voice. We can tell Pace-O-Matic any challenges we’re having and they’ll work on it. The TRT is a great example.”

Legal and Compliant

Crucial to Pace-O-Matic’s success are the regulations it adheres to.

“Everyone knows the rules. It’s a limited field and you have referees,” Goldean said. “You have to have that type of regulatory structure in place. Operators have to agree to that.”

Fun sells. Fun works.

Frank Fina, Pace-O-Matic’s chief administrative officer, is in charge of compliance. He’s got a strong network of compliance officers in every state, largely made up of former law enforcement officials.

“We want to be regulated and we want to be good corporate citizens,” Fina said, pointing out that Pace-O-Matic’s business model ensures most of the income of the games goes into the states—to the c-stores, the local operators, as well as to taxing agencies.

Michael Pace: Revolutionizing Entertainment in Small Businesses

Michael Pace Founder and Chairman Pace-O-Matic

The mastermind behind Pace-O-Matic, Michael Pace, pioneered a new era of entertainment for small businesses. With a rich history in gaming innovation, Pace’s journey began in 1980 with the invention of the first bar-top video game. A decade later, he introduced the world to the electronic pull tab, “Pot of Gold.”

However, Pace’s vision extended beyond mere entertainment; he sought to empower small businesses with revenue-generating opportunities. In his quest to merge skill-based gaming with local establishments, Pace-O-Matic was born.

In 2000, Pace realized his dream by launching Pace-O-Matic. His dedication to legal compliance and ethical practices attracted the attention of Paul Goldean, who joined the company in 2019, recognizing the potential for small businesses to thrive amidst economic challenges.

“There’s nothing I’ve come across that is as economically powerful for a small business. People can sustain themselves through the ups and downs.” Goldean said, emphasizing Pace-O-Matic’s commitment to small business and partnerships.

“Pace-O-Matic has become a beacon of hope for both large and small convenience store operations,” he said.

Pace-O-Matic’s journey isn’t just about entertainment; it’s about empowerment, innovation, and integrity. By providing a lifeline for mom-and-pop stores and fostering economic resilience, Michael Pace’s legacy extends far beyond gaming—it’s about transforming lives.

Because Pace-O-Matic is so confident in the legality of its games, it indemnifies any convenience store it works with against damages.

“If anyone challenges the legality of the game, we show up with an army of experts and lawyers, show them the facts and the data and have always prevailed,” Fina said.

Pace-O-Matic takes this so seriously that it turned off all 7,000 of its terminals in the state of Virginia in July 2021 when the state passed a bill making them illegal.

“And we didn’t turn them back on until we won an injunction against the state against that ban,” said Goldean.

Although there is no evidence that skill games impact casino revenues, large casino conglomerates have opposed regulating the games, Fina said. “They’ve launched campaigns against us—sometimes attempting to regulate us out of existence—but when you have the facts and court rulings on your side it’s easy to come out on top,” he said.

The legality of the games, he said, is on a state-by-state basis, and Pace-O-Matic conducts an intense analysis of every state before it even begins to think about entering that market.

Because of this, Pace-O-Matic only operates in certain states—10 currently, though that may expand.

In some states, such as New York and Texas, it only operates in certain counties.

“We’re very deliberate, and we don’t want to rush into states until we feel we’re going to be secure there and have the human capital to expand and do it the right way,” Fina said.

‘Everyone Follows the Rules’

The Pace-O-Matic compliance team conducts store visits to ensure adherence to contracts, proper operation of Pace-O-Matic machines and compliance with local regulations by operators. “We provide full operational support and ensure everyone follows the rules,” said Goldean.

The software in all Pace-O-Matic’s machines is checked and certified, too, by an outside party, and each machine features a sticker showing that it’s been certified and showing that it is legal.

Convenience stores are an ideal location for Pace-O-Matic’s games because they work best in locations where a business is accustomed to identifying the age of its shoppers.

“Convenience stores are used to selling beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets and have a system that can check the age of the player,” Goldean said. “We don’t want them in places that don’t have that built-in expertise.”

Amanda Baltazar

Amanda Baltazar

Amanda Baltazar has been writing about foodservice and retail for trade magazines for more than 20 years. Read more of her work at

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