Gaming Hall of Fame: Hodgson departure from biochemistry leads to casino industry success Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 9, 2019 at 6:57 am Elaine Hodgson probably would have found success if she’d continued her career in biochemistry. Her first job after graduating from Purdue University, after all, was working as an industrial chemist on the Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Instead, Hodgson decided she liked programming and creating video games. She and her partner Richard Ditton created a small start-up business in the basement of a suburban Chicago home in 1985 that has since grown into Incredible Technologies, the dominant player in both the amusement games industry and the casino gaming business. Hodgson was selected last week to join the 2019 class of the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame. She will be inducted Tuesday, October 15 in Las Vegas during an invitation-only reception at the Global Gaming Expo. Elaine Hodgson and Richard Ditton (r) present a check to winner of a Golden Tee Golf event/Photo via Incredible Technologies “I’m very happy, but I’m really not a glory seeker,” Hodgson said. “I’m happy that this award allows us to highlight our company and our team. We’ve worked very hard, and I’m very proud of what our team has been able to build. There are many people who have been with us for over 20 years.” Incredible Technologies has offices in Vernon Hills, Illinois and Las Vegas, employs more than 230 people, and is licensed in roughly 125 gaming jurisdictions. The gaming industry, Hodgson said, is responsible for 80 percent of the privately held business’s annual revenue stream. Hodgson is currently the only female CEO of a major slot machine manufacturer. She made a strategic decision in 2007 to enter the casino market. Since then, Incredible Technologies has become one of the fastest growing U.S. video slot game developers. “We were persistent and headstrong,” Hodgson said. “We might have been a bit naïve at first, but we made some great products.” Hodgson oversees all aspects of the company, including game development, strategic business planning, marketing and sales of the company’s products, as well as intellectual properties. Ditton provides the technical development background, which has led to numerous innovations that have expanded the company’s business opportunities. Initially, Incredible Technologies was established as a pinball and amusement gaming hardware manufacturer, primarily for the home entertainment market. Four years later, the company created Golden Tee Golf, now considered the most successful pay-to-play coin operated amusement game. The game, which has been upgraded several times to newer, more stylistic versions, celebrated its 30-year anniversary this past summer. Hodgson said Incredible Technologies used the same golf course layout for four years before realizing they could expand the platform. The current game now includes multiple fantasy golf courses and a tournament version that some gaming observers consider the industry’s first eSports-style contest. The skill-based game has a leader board for tournaments. Incredible Technologies says the game has generated nearly $500 million for small business owners. In an interview in April with Business Jet Traveler magazine, Hodgson, who pilots her own jet airplane, called Golden Tee a “pop-culture phenomenon.” When Incredible launched the product, Golden Tee competed for floor space with fighting games and driving games. “Golden Tee was a steady earner,” Hodgson told the publication. “It would make $200 or $300 a week, but it would do that forever, so our operators loved that because they didn’t have to move or change (the game units); it was a stable platform that they could set and forget.” Hodgson said Indian gaming markets have been greatly receptive to Incredible Technologies’ game offerings. Most of the company’s licenses are with tribal casino operations. She told Business Jet Traveler flying her own plane helps with visiting customers, especially in locations like Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. “The thing about the slot machine business is that casinos are often in out-of-the-way places, especially tribal casinos,” Hodgson said. “They are not in places where you are going to fly nonstop from O’Hare (Chicago) and get there easily.” #theFLASH – Gaming Hall of Fame: Elaine Hodgson departure from biochemistry leads to casino industry success. –@howardstutz, CDC Gaming Reports. https://t.co/CiHAtIdsNH @IncredibleGames@AmericanGaming @G2Eshows — CDC Gaming Reports (@CDCNewswire) October 9, 2019 Developing an all-time classic game like Golden Tee is a significant accomplishment, but Incredible Technologies has no plans to rest on past triumphs. “We still have much more we want to accomplish,” Hodgson says. (Second of three articles about the 2019 Gaming Hall of Fame inductees) (Disclosure: CDC Gaming Reports Executive Editor Howard Stutz was a member of the Gaming Hall of Fame selection committee.) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.