2006 ASI SEES 20% DROP IN BOOTH SPACE
CHICAGO — An upbeat spirit, along with reports of brisk sales by leading exhibiting companies, encapsulated the best news from the 2006 edition of the Amusement Showcase International. The event, sponsored by the American Amusement Machine Association, took place here at the Hyatt Regency between March 16 and 18. Exhibit bookings dropped 20% compared with 2005, or from 442 booths last year to 354 this year. ASI’s show chairman, Frank Cosentino of Namco Bandai, attributed the shrinkage to the “inevitable result of industry consolidation.” As a prime example he pointed to the merger of Sega and Sammy Corp., which together took just 14 booths in 2006 compared with 28 at last year’s show. Aisle traffic, as usual, was a matter of opinion; many major exhibitors reported a steady flow of visitors. Total registration for the first two days of the show was 3,084; the buyer category comprised 1,181 operators and distributors, according to the show’s organizer, William T. Glasgow Inc. “Both of these counts are about the same as last year,” Cosentino said. During a conference call before this year’s trade exposition opened, ASI’s show committee voted to relocate the next year’s show to the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 28-30, 2007,two weeks after the Nightclub & Bar Show. AAMA executives also said that there is some interest in the staging future shows in Orlando, FL, and New Orleans
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE VISITS ASI, INVESTIGATE ALLEGED COPY GAMES
CHICAGO — Julie Carducci, director of commercial services for the Chicago division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, led a contingent of DOC staffers on an inspection tour of certain exhibits at last week’s Amusement Showcase International. Richard Oltmann of Family Fun Co., along with other U.S. manufacturers, has complained in recent months that Asian knockoffs of trademarked and patented products have been displayed at various U.S. shows. Oltmann said the DOC visit helped put copiers on notice. “Copiers will know the U.S. government is keeping an eye on this problem and we’ll prevent them from exhibiting copies of patented games” at future shows, Oltmann said. AAMA president Mike Rudowicz added that, pursuant to members’ requests, the association has asked the DOC to use its Hong Kong offices to pressure Asian manufacturers to stop showing photos of other companies’ games on their websites with offers to make cheap knockoffs. Rudowicz also urged U.S. manufacturers to protect their intellectual property with patents and trademarks where feasible.
CHICAGO GAME ORDINANCE GETS THUMBS DOWN
SPRINGFIELD, IL — The amusements industry won a victory this month over a Chicago city ordinance that operators claimed was vague and unconstitutional. Adonna Jerman, executive director of the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association, reported on March 21 that the Illinois Supreme Court issued a stay against the disputed ordinance, which was intended to crack down on gray area games. The case arose after operator Terrence O’Donnell filed suit last year, protesting the seizure of certain games under the new statute.
AMOA NDA DART SUMMIT SET FOR DENVER
INDIANAPOLIS — The National Dart Association, a division of the Amusement and Music Operators Association, will host Dart Summit 2006 in Denver, CO, July 20-22. The Summit is a biennial educational conference for coin-operated vending companies, their owners, league coordinators and managers. The forum allows participants to exchange ideas and to discuss pertinent issues in the coin-op industry with their peers from around the world. Those interested in attending can find out more and register at http://www.ndadarts.com.
WOLVERINE AMERICAN EXPANDS INTO INDIANA
REDFORD, MI — Wolverine American, headquartered here, said it is opening a branch office in Indianapolis, IN. The new office is located in the former Atlas Distributing facility in Indianapolis and will be managed by industry veteran Bob Ross. Wolverine represents Rowe International, and Rowe’s AMI Entertainment division, Merit Entertainment, Valley-Dynamo, Arachnid, Shelti and Sega. Ross can be reached at (317) 786-6892.
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