TOP WORRIES FOR STATE ASSOCIATIONS: SMOKING BANS, INDIAN GAMING EXPANSION
SAN DIEGO, CA -- The Amusement and Music Operators Association hosted its 15th annual Council of Affiliated States in a seaside resort hotel here from Jan. 15-17. Some 34 executives attended from around the nation, representing AMOA as well as 21 states and 19 state operator associations. This year's Council was dominated by lively discussions of smoking bans and Indian gaming, both of which are growing nationwide - and cutting into operator profits. The group also heard informative presentations from three speakers: Mike Vaughn, the new director of the Jukebox License Office, outlined JLO enforcement procedures and other services; attorney and industry consultant Bob Snyder reviewed federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and courts that affect the gambling and amusement climate; and AMOA counsel Elliott Portnoy provided guidelines for political action committees. Attendees praised AMOA state associations committee chairman Gary Spencer of California Coin (Paso Robles, CA) for running a valuable and informative conference. AMOA president Chris Warren of Capital Music (Helena, MT) and AMOA executive vice-president Jack Kelleher were strong presences at the event, showcasing the continually growing cooperation between the national and state operator groups.
PORTNOY PREDICTS A "SURGE" OF ANTI-VIDEO LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON, DC -- Laws to curtail minors' access to violent video games surfaced in three states by mid-January of this election year, and similar proposals are expected in another six or eight states in the coming months. That's the political prognosis, according to Elliott Portnoy, legal counsel for the Amusement and Music Operators Association and the American Amusement Machine Association. A bill specifically targeting coin-op games was introduced before New Jersey's legislature on Jan. 13, Portnoy said. Very broad bills aimed mostly at home games (but which could possibly affect coin-op as well) are already in the hopper in California and Virginia, he added. Looking ahead, Portnoy predicts that most of the additional bills to be introduced in other states will resemble earlier laws that were passed in Indiana and Washington state but then nullified by the courts. AMOA and AAMA will continue to work with state associations to show lawmakers why such bills are unconstitutional under the first amendment, Portnoy said.
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