Published December 1966 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
From the Office of United States Senator Robert C. Byrd Room 342, Old Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. Volume VI - Number 49 December 9, 1966 Byrd's Eye View A Public Service Column by Senator Robert C. Byrd MONEY IN MACHINES There's money--substantial amounts of money--being made by U. S. firms owning and placing in operation coin-triggered amusement devices. This highly lucrative method of earning a living has been reported by 3,074 establishments (all with payrolls) as bringing in total receipts of $260.6 million during 1963, the most recent year for which such statistics are presently available. As reported to the U. S. Department of Commerce on the 1963 Census of Business, money-making machines included 138,225 music machines, with $90 million in receipts; 70,326 pinball machines, with $47 million in receipts; and 92,478 "other" amusement machines, with $57 million. New York State led the Nation with 268 firms in the business in 1963, with receipts reported at $21 million. California ranked second, with 231 establishments and $18.4 million in receipts. Illinois, which evidently has a large number of "music lovers" among its citizenry, topped the Nation in "music" machines, with a total of 11,425 reported. Maryland, which has been frequently in the news with public debates on the advantages and disadvantages of governmental licensing of slot machines, obviously had a large number of sporting types among its populace, as it reported only 1,867 music machines in operation in December 1963 as compared with 3,359 pinball• machines and 5,390 "other" amusement machines. In West Virginia, there were 58 coin-operated amusement-device establishments reported as having receipts of $4,971,000. On December 31, 1963, a total of 3,035 music machines were being operated by these firms for an average annual return of $457 each. As of that same date, 2,303 pinball machines were in operation by \West Virginia establishments at a return of $691 per machine; and 1,014 other amusement machines were in function returning approximately $607 per machine. It is noteworthy that these statistics on revenue garnered by machines serving the public were gathered at about the time the tremendous yen for dancing to discotheque music had just begun to sweep the Nation. Subsequent annual reports by the Bureau of the Census should provide an interesting insight into the financial advantages gained from the nationwide vogue of dancing to recorded music, as popularized originally by the Nation's youngsters.