From Academic Kids

This article is about the Bally company that made slot and pinball machines. For other uses, see Bally (disambiguation).

The Bally Manufacturing Corporation was founded by Roy Moloney in early 1932 when Bally's original parent company, Lion Manufacturing, established the company to make pinball games. The company took its name from its first, highly successful, game, dubbed Ballyhoo. The company, based in Chicago, quickly became a leading maker of the popular games.



In the late 1930s, Moloney decided to begin making gambling equipment, and had great success developing and improving the modern mechanical slot machines that formed the backbone of the nascent gaming industry.

After a wartime foray into manufacturing munitions and airplane parts, Bally Manufacturing continued to produce innovations in both pinball and slot machines through the late 1950s, and also designed and manufactured vending machines and established a coffee vending service. Roy Moloney died in 1958 and the company foundered briefly; amid the financial failure of parent company Lions Manufacturing Bally was bought out by a group of investors in 1963. Through the 1960s Bally continued to dominate the slot machine industry, cornering over 90% of the worldwide marked for the machines by the end of the decade.

In the late 1960s Bally became a publicly-traded company and went on an acquisition spree, buying several companies including a German game company and Midway Manufacturing, an amusement game company who made coin-operated electromechanical devices as puck bowling games. In the 1970s Midway would become a primary source of income for Bally as it became an early arcade video game maker and obtained the licenses for two of the most popular videogames of all time, Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

In the late 1970s Bally made an unsuccessful attempt at getting into the casino business as Atlantic City legalized gambling; this effort was thwarted when the company was unable to attain a permanent license for the completed casino.

By the mid-1980s the company again was flush with cash and management envisioned re-defining the manufacturing business as a far-flung leisure industry giant. The company began buying other businesses including the Six Flags amusement park chain, the Health and Tennis Club exercise chain and a maker of exercise equipment. The company also was finally successful in purchasing several casinos, including the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas and the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. This buying spree quickly took its toll on the company finances, however, and Bally was soon forced to sell off several divisions, including Six Flags and the original pinball division. The pinball division was acquired by Williams Electronics in 1988. The Aladdin's Castle chain of game arcades was sold to Namco in 1993.

In 1990 the struggling company was taken over by financier Arthur Goldberg who re-christened it Bally Entertainment, Incorporated and focused on the health club business and spun off the manufacturing-related parts of the company as a separate division. By 1992 this manufacturing division, Bally Gaming International, had been completely divested from the parent company (licensing back the Bally name). The health-club divisions of the company would go by the name Bally Health and Tennis and later Bally Total Fitness. Many casinos worldwide would take on the Bally name in the maze of ownership and licensing agreements typical of that business.

Notable pinballs

  • Ballyhoo (flipperless) (1932)
  • Ballyhoo (flippers) (1947)
  • Capersville (1967)
  • Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1976)
  • Dogies (1968)
  • Eight Ball (1977)
  • Evel Knievel (1977)
  • Fireball (1972)
  • Four Million B.C. (1971)
  • KISS (1979)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man (1982)
  • Playboy (1978)
  • Sky Divers (1964)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (1978)
  • Wizard! (1975)

Notable slot machines

  • Money Honey (1964)

External links


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