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Class of Georgia

As its Class II success continues, Eclipse Gaming Systems continues its journey toward the elite of the slot manufacturing sector

Class of Georgia

Tim Minard is known for much more than his current role as CEO of Duluth, Georgia-based Eclipse Gaming Systems, or as the founder of several businesses and a wealth of other entrepreneurial ventures. Minard is known more for how he has used the money he has generated, pouring resources into a variety of causes in the Metro Atlanta region and beyond.

At Eclipse, Minard has forged a culture not only centered on production of Class II games that earn for the company’s tribal and select commercial customers, but on helping those tribal customers in a variety of areas, from education to infrastructure. The culture is known as “Going Beyond the Game.”

Of course, “the game” itself is never beyond focus. Since taking over as CEO in 2018, Minard has built a team of veterans, from Rob Visintainer, president and chief operating officer, who brings operational and supply chain expertise from NCR Corporation, to Sean Evans, the senior vice president of sales who excelled heading sales for Aristocrat in the early 2000s and other top sales jobs at Scientific Games, A.C. Coin & Slot and Aruze Gaming. Another experienced industry professional, Bruce Urban, serves as chief product officer.

This has been another big year for Eclipse, which has been riding high on the success of its Cash Arcade game series, games that scored high on the Eilers-Fantini Game Performance Report in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the company’s overall product footprint keeps growing—it’s up by 12 percent in 2023 so far, and the company expects that growth to continue in the second half.

“We’ve expanded our footprint in Texas,” Minard says. “We’ve expanded our footprint in Washington state, Oklahoma, Kansas. We’ve entered New Mexico, and we’re excited about that market.”

Feeding that expansion are some of the most creative new slot games you’ll find anywhere in the Class II market. Eclipse tailors certain products to specific markets, such as the Bandits Bounty Series, with titles Outlaws, Bandidos, and Bootleggers for Southwest markets and Dragons Court Deluxe for markets like Washington state, where Asian themes do well.

“Our library’s growing,” Minard says. “We’re launching consistent sets of products every year, and we’re seeing all the markets that we’re currently serving grow.”

Of course, driving that success is the Eclipse R&D team, headed by Urban. The Big Shake Carnival game, which combines a wheel bonus with a remarkably authentic coin-pusher feature fueled by a simulated physics engine, and its sister game Big Shake Neon, scored high on the Eilers-Fantini list in February and March. Coming soon are more Asian titles.

The Cash Arcade family, home to the Big Shake series, will launch a new title this fall, Duck Dollars.

“The Big Shake games are definitely our stars this year,” says Minard. “Both of the games ended up on the Eilers report, and they have continued to beat house averages. Players are responding well to the coin-pusher feature, which nobody’s really ever seen before.

“The Bandits Bounty series is going to hit several markets well, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Washington. With Duck Dollars, we continue the Cash Arcade series, and we had a lot of fun with that at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow. We had duck shirts and did a whole themed trade show. We’re going to finish strong with these kinds of titles in the first quarter of next year. We’ve got some unique concepts coming out.”

Concepts, which Minard acknowledges, would work just as well in Class III as in Class II. While Eclipse continues to excel in Class II, the Class III market has remained in the company’s sights. “Our plan is to remain disciplined and focused, expand our library, expand into new territories, and continue to expand the team,” Minard says.

“Class III has been a consistent conversation, and Eclipse will get into Class III—we’ve been looking at the horizon of a few years; 2024-2025 is a realistic time frame. We have a lot more we want to accomplish in Class II.”

Corporate Citizen

The corporate culture of Eclipse Gaming is a reflection of the energetic philanthropist who is its chief executive

The motto of Eclipse Gaming Systems is “Going Beyond the Game.” It is a reflection of the philosophy of Tim Minard, the company’s chief executive officer, who has created a corporate culture around not only producing good games for its tribal Class II customers, but in helping those tribes succeed through donations, assistance in tribal development, and many other endeavors.

But that effort goes beyond the tribes, to support the communities in which Eclipse operates. Minard and Eclipse established the Beyond the Game initiative, which has been active in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where Eclipse is located, and the surrounding Metro Atlanta region.

All of it has led to recognition of Eclipse as a good corporate citizen and of Minard individually. Partnership Gwinnett, a public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and retaining good businesses in the county, named Eclipse “Supply Chain Pioneer of the Year” in its annual Movers & Makers Awards, as well as a finalist among 4,700 manufacturing and supply chain companies for the Corporate Citizen Award and Manufacturer of the Year.

Minard is quick to deflect credit to his team. “Thinking about the challenges in supply chain over the pandemic, to be recognized as a leader in that space is a tribute to the team,” he says.

Meanwhile, Minard and his team continue to demonstrate how to be a community partner with “Going Beyond the Game” initiatives. In March, Eclipse hosted professors and the dean of Georgia Gwinnett College to educate them on how the company’s business works, specifically around the math and engineering that goes into the machines—skills that will help students as they enter the workforce.

The company also has continued its donations to local charities, most recently giving to Touchdowns for Children’s Healthcare Atlanta and the Humane Society of Atlanta.

Personally, Minard continues to expand his charitable activities. In March, he launched the Minard Wong Foundation along with international financier and philanthropist Dame Didi Wong. The foundation seeks to empower individuals, communities and nations by providing aid in education and human rights, with a focus on human trafficking, health and wellness, and social justice initiatives. The goal is to promote peace versus polarization, positivity versus pessimism, and prosperity versus poverty. The Minard Wong Foundation recently helped fund the new Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Atlanta’s Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park.

“The foundation coincides with my personal philanthropy,” says Minard, “and even our ‘Going Beyond the Game’ philosophy.

“I’ve picked a couple of causes that I cherish, but the fight against human trafficking, and helping those who have been trafficked, is a great concern of mine. The Minard Wong Foundation is focused on supporting the City of Refuge in Atlanta.” That facility provides housing, meals, medical and dental care, mental health services, and childcare, as well as training in various jobs, for women and children as they transition out of crisis, including human trafficking and homelessness.

Recognition of Minard’s efforts culminated last month when he was knighted by the Principality of Cappadocia, the center of operations of the Sovereign and Royal House of Cappadocia and San Bartolomeo’s, one of the oldest sovereign royal houses.

One of the principality’s goals is to “recognize exemplary conduct and achievements with membership in its three Orders of Chivalry and to enhance society with leadership programs which nurture, develop, and inspire the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” The knighting ceremony took place June 11 in Chicago.

As far as his personal causes and the Eclipse corporate culture are concerned, it’s a good bet Sir Timothy Minard is only getting started.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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