POM News

Mastering Skill Games: A Blueprint for Small Business Growth

Mar 28, 2024 10:13:00 AM • By Gina Trumm Reinhardt

In the bustling neighborhood of St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky,  a small business owner named Jared Matthews has been making waves with his establishment, Fox Den. As part of the Pace-O-Matic More Than A Game campaign, we sat down with Jared to discuss the positive impact skill games have had on his business and the broader community. Within just six months of opening, Fox Den has become a local hotspot, offering patrons a unique blend of entertainment, camaraderie, and a chance to win some extra cash.Matthews, the owner-operator of Fox Den, shared insights into his journey within the hospitality industry. Having worked for 14 years at Diamond, the predecessor to Fox Den, Matthews saw an opportunity to revitalize the space when the previous owner decided to exit the business. Opening its doors in April 2022, Fox Den underwent a significant facelift with a focus on maintaining its pool tables, enhancing the menu, and infusing a chef-driven club fare. Little did Matthews know that the addition of skill games would be a game-changer for his small business.


Matthews stumbled upon skill games through a friend who suggested he explore this innovative form of entertainment. Intrigued, he connected with Seth, a representative from the skill games provider. Initially hesitant, Matthews decided to introduce two skill games machines in Fox Den. The response from patrons was overwhelmingly positive, leading to the addition of two more machines.

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Within the first month, Fox Den started generating revenue through skill games, with each subsequent month’s revenue surpassing the previous month’s. The combination of pool, music, sports, and skill games created a vibrant atmosphere, especially during football season and colder weather. The skill games not only added to the overall experience but also proved to be a valuable source of additional income for the establishment.


Matthews emphasized the financial benefits of skill games for small business owners. Running bars and restaurants involves significant expenses, and skill games provide an extra income stream without requiring extensive management. The ease of operations— a dedicated service provider handles all deposits and reporting—allows business owners to focus on core operations while generating extra revenue.


Skill games revenue has been instrumental in addressing maintenance costs and periodic upgrades at Fox Den. From rebuilding pool tables every six months to general improvements, the additional income from skill games has facilitated necessary enhancements without straining the business financially.

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Matthews highlighted the importance of the TRT, or money machine, a service he insisted on including for integrating skill game machines. This automated system streamlines payouts, significantly reducing labor costs, minimizing human error, and allowing staff to focus on customer service rather than manual transactions.


Fox Den has become an integral part of the St. Matthews community, drawing in diverse patrons, including pool enthusiasts, music lovers, and sports fans. Skill games have added an extra layer of enjoyment, providing a unique entertainment option that contributes to the local economy. The money generated through skill games also supports initiatives aimed at giving back to the community, such as contributing to the Apron organization, which aids service industry workers in times of need.


Matthews addressed the misconception that skill games compete with casinos or horse tracks. He emphasized that skill games offer a distinct and casual entertainment experience, catering to a different audience. Unlike the grandeur of a casino visit, Fox Den provides a neighborhood pub atmosphere where patrons can relax, enjoy a game of pool, watch sports, and engage in skill games without the pressure of a high-stakes casino environment.


When asked about the potential impact of legislative changes regarding skill games, Matthews underscored their importance to small businesses. Skill games revenue significantly contributes to Fox Den's financial stability, covering bills and providing a cushion during challenging times. Removing skill games could have a substantial impact on the livelihoods of small business owners who rely on this additional income stream.

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Reflecting on the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Matthews shared the experiences of operating multiple restaurants during uncertain times. While some establishments faced closure due to the pandemic's economic impact, Fox Den adapted and thrived, thanks in part to the positive contribution of skill games revenue.


Matthews’ connection to St. Matthews, where he grew up and now resides, adds a layer of authenticity to Fox Den's role in the community. Describing St. Matthews as a neighborhood where people live, hang out, and support local businesses, Jared emphasized the importance of Fox Den being a local hub where regulars feel at home.


Matthews' journey with Fox Den showcases the transformative impact skill games can have on small businesses. From financial stability and community engagement to philanthropy, skill games have proven to be more than just a source of entertainment. They catalyze local economic growth, providing small business owners like Matthews with the means to thrive and give back to the communities they serve. As the debate around skill game legislation continues, stories like Fox Den's underscore the positive contributions and resilience of small businesses in the face of challenges.


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Disclaimer: The above interview reflects experiences from when skill games were previously operating in Kentucky. The games have since been disabled in compliance with state law. If you are interested in supporting skill games in Kentucky, please visit www.joinkymac.com.



Tags: More Than A Game

About The Author: Gina Trumm Reinhardt

Gina Trumm Reinhardt