…..Belmont Avenue…..

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Mr. Raymond T. Maloney


The Connection:


Ray came over to the Bingo Building one day & visited Don Hooker office. Apparently while waiting for Don to return, he started playing the new bingo sitting there. Upon his return, Don asked him what he thought and ray replied: “I don’t know what the hell it is, but I like it. As Mr. Hooker Don related this story to Dick and Russ, he commented: “Well that was Ray!”


The Bibliography:


Raymond T. Maloney was Bally, no matter how you look at it or quantify it. Christian Marfels book “Bally – The Worlds Game Maker” does a wonderful job of helping to illustrate this. Although Ray was linked to all kinds of people, companies, and events associate with the 1920s & 1930s Chicago gaming community and credit could be spread around - Ray was obviously a dynamic personality and the vision & drive behind all he influenced and commanded.


Bally Gaming International started as Bally Manufacturing Company in 1932 when founder Raymond T. (Ray) Moloney developed the Ballyhoo pinball game. From the pinball market to slot machine manufacturing, Moloney rode the wave of success, providing inexpensive entertainment during the Great Depression and after. The company took a hiatus after the United States entered World War II as Moloney converted his gaming and amusement business into a manufacturer of a variety of wartime materials. After the war, Bally began its climb to the top of the gaming and amusement industries and by 1976 was the main supplier of slot machines, coin-operated arcade games, and slot accounting systems.


At the time of America’s Great Depression people needed a diversion from their woes, and pinball games—seven balls for a penny, 10 for a nickel—offered cheap and entertaining amusement. Even in those difficult times, there were a handful of people looking toward the future and the young entrepreneur Raymond “Ray” Moloney recognized the greater potential of these machines, and on Jan. 10, 1932, he founded the Bally Manufacturing Company to begin building them in a more imaginative and extensive fashion. As the manufacturing arm of parent company Lions Manufacturing Corporation, the first task for Moloney’s Chicago-based outfit would be the production of a pinball game called “Ballyhoo.” Over a seven-month period, it rolled out 50,000 of the machines. Moloney himself sat down to draw a belly-shaped logo, which would signify his new company. (Today, this same “Bally B” is one of the most recognizable brands in the world—but we’ll get to that.)

The nascent amusement game industry entered into a period of booming growth. Bally Manufacturing shot to the forefront due to the success of the Ballyhoo, and of other pinball games such as “Goofy,” “Airway,” and the “Rocket” and “Bumper” models. From the beginning, Bally was committed to success through innovation; each new product built upon its predecessor. In April 1935, Moloney was able to move his growing organization to a more modern plant at 2640 Belmont Avenue in Chicago. This would be the headquarters for the Bally Manufacturing Company and its worldwide operations for the next 48 years.

Early on, Moloney also decided to expand into the slot machine business. He saw enormous potential in the three-reel slot machines that had been created by Charlie Fey of San Francisco, and soon Bally became the most successful manufacturer and distributor of the gaming devices. In 1936 it introduced its first line of slots, as well as its “Reliance” automatic dice machine. The adorable “Bally Baby” slot, weighing only 8 pounds, was its flagship product.


The manufacturing of slots dominated the floor space at 2640 Belmont and during the height of the bingo era throughout the 50s and 60s, the pins were built across the street – Just another one of the many changes and expansions Ray lead his company through, starting with the great team of managers also hired in those early years. Mr. Moloney’s legacy lives today and this is just one of the many “richly deserved” tributes dedicated to his achievements. 


Russ Jensen’s “Bally really did stand for Variety” article has some wonderful history:





- Photo Courtesy Internet Achieves  -


- I am sure glad he liked the bingo, whatever the hell it was -