Mike Thorne never dreamed of a career in the casino and gaming industries, but he’s here now, nearly 27 years into the casino network.
“It’s hard to believe. It certainly is,” Son said with a smile when asked about his nearly three decades as a leading distributor of refurbished slot machines, parts and glass. “It’s been a tough journey but we’re still strong.”
The idea of starting a company fell into his lap back in early 1996. At the time, Son was living in Minneapolis and owned a landscaping company. His neighbors had to buy many used slot machines in Reno, Nevada and bring them back to the Midwest. Since Son had three relatively new trucks that could pull the trailer, they asked him if he could do it.
Son remembered, “I jumped at the opportunity because it was an opportunity to make a couple’s fortune just by driving for 25 hours.” 카지노사이트 순위
When Son returned, there was just a space in the garage to store most of the machines, and eventually a neighbor asked Son if he was going to take a picture and sell it, and just then a light bulb stuck in Son’s head.
“I’ve always been a great networker with entrepreneurship and I know how to talk to people,” Son said. “After that, I met a guy who was the biggest slot seller in North America and started working with him and eventually came up with the idea of a network of casinos. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Today, the casino network has a variety of used components, including touch screens, LCDs, reel strips, and electronic components, supplied by manufacturers aristocracy, Bali, IGT, Konami, Spilo, and WMS, and supplies equipment for casinos in Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and the Caribbean, in addition to a few properties in Mexico. His client list includes Borige Resort & Casino, IP Casino Resort Spa and Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel in Biloxi, Gold Strike Casino Resort and Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino Shreveport in Louisiana.
Over the past 27 years, there have been many peaks and valleys across casino networks and the gaming industry, thanks to economic downturns, technological advances, and most recently, the pandemic. When the business began, it was only Mr. Son and his wife, Luwela, who ran the company. The couple moved to Arlington, Texas, two years after the casino network began, once employing eight people and owning a 30,000-square-foot warehouse.
Today, the business is still thriving, but the employees have only returned to the Mike’s and they run it from their homes.
“That’s how it all started, and that’s what we’re going back to,” CEO Sohn said. “When Corona hit, I saw the writing on the wall and decided to reduce it. So we came to the full circle.”
“But we are still here and continue to grow. Once again, I go back to all the relationships I’ve managed to have over the years. This is why we were able to survive and thrive. I don’t mean to brag, but the casino network couldn’t exist without me. I don’t think anyone else could have done what I did with this business. That’s just true.”
Without a doubt, starting work with Erik Black, Suncist Graphics’s president, is Suncist Graphics’ most important relationship. The Suncist Graphics account is responsible for nearly three quarters of the business that the casino network creates, and as a bonus Suncist Graphics and Black have become best friends.
“Working with Eric and Sunkist has been a real blessing and one of the main reasons we’re still strong,” Son said. “But believe me, it was not easy for us or the Sunkist to survive.
“A few years ago, Eric and I used to talk and say, ‘We’re going to be out of business soon because all these slot machines are going to film videos and they’re not using glass anymore.’ But to Eric’s credit, we started to provide other things that the casino needed. We had to innovate.”
“Today, even as every game turns to video and new technology emerges, the industry will need talent like us forever.”
And Son is perfectly happy to keep plugging in and doesn’t expect to retire anytime soon, nor does he want to.
“I love this industry and I’m excited,” said Son, who is expecting big growth this year when he officially adds the Philippines to his territorial list. “I love people, I love gambling, and this is a very helpful and very profitable industry. I’m not going to get any younger, but the way we prepare for the situation is really fine-tuned machines. I’m 63 and I’ll probably do this until I’m 80. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.”