July 21, 2021
Sebastian Mochkovsky, a third-generation veteran of the amusements industry, knows a thing or two about adapting to difficult situations. It was a lesson he learned early from his grandfather, Mauricio Mochkovsky, a Buenos Aires entrepreneur who in 1957 began operating pinball and jukebox attractions.
Hyperinflation during the years that followed prompted unscrupulous arcade employees to conceal tokens, waiting until their value had increased against the falling peso to exchange them — and cheating the business out of revenue. So the patriarch and his son and successor, Jorge, came up with a solution, replacing chips and tokens with cards that let customers perform direct transactions. “From this, the Sacoa cashless system was born,” recalled Mochkovsky, 52. Today, Florida-based Sacoa — the multifaceted, privately held company he heads — is a leading supplier of revenue management systems to amusements and entertainment centers worldwide. Thousands of worldwide operators rely on the card system to maximize revenue, minimize dishonesty, and customize prices and user experience via an app. The family also operates more than a dozen entertainment centers in Argentina and a volcanic theme park in Ecuador and last December, Mochkovsky opened Dezerland Park Orlando, an 800,000-square-foot indoor amusement park.
Resilience, obviously, is in Mochkovsky’s DNA.
But the pandemic has challenged virtually every corner of the amusements and entertainment industry, including his. Sales in 2020 were down across the board at his businesses, a crisis that accelerated ongoing closures of Mochkovsky’s Argentina properties.
Like his grandfather and father before him, Mochkovsky focused on solutions.
“At any given time, there was always at least one center in operation somewhere in the world,” he noted. Elsewhere, Sacoa took advantage of slow periods to focus on training clients to use the cashless system, including online and mobile apps that allow patrons to book parties, recharge cards, and check balances. Temporary closures provided the opportunity to install upgrades and plan for
more effective re-openings.
Sacoa boasts that new clients can expect to see revenues increase by at least 20 to 30 percent once they convert from tokens or cash play,
since the app allows owners to constantly adjust prices in response to demand and eliminates cashier cheating.
Indeed, Sacoa’s card system is successful in no small part because it was developed by people with day-today knowledge of running amusements. A decade after
Mochkovsky’s grandfather installed his first jukeboxes,the family opened its first full-service bowling center in the late 1960s in the Argentine city of Mar del Plata, where Mochkovsky was born.
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