LAS VEGAS — The Amusement Showcase International, staged at the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 27 to 29, confirmed two industry trends – one encouraging, one not.
Like January’s ATEI in London, ASI showcased innovative and promising new products. And not unlike this year’s ATEI, however, the Vegas show drew a visitor contingent that was noticeably smaller when compared with the previous year. The London event saw amusement attendance down nearly 9%; similarly, ASI 2008 saw total attendance of 2,694, or approximately 10% fewer visitors than 2007’s tally of 3,005.
This year’s ASI welcomed 1,022 buyers, some 22% fewer than its 2007 roster of 1,318 (all attendance comparisons are based on 2007 second-day results). The event featured 134 exhibitors, down almost 12% from 2007’s total of 152. There were 431 booths sold this year, compared with 446 last year.
Despite lower operator attendance, exhibitors said they had a successful show, according to Mike Rudowicz, president of the American Amusement Machine Association, ASI’s chief sponsor. Manufacturers praised the quality of showgoers, and some reported strong sales. ASI was “a good show, especially in light of the current economic climate,” AAMA assessed.
Among Amusement and Music Operators Association officials at ASI were president Lloyd Williamson of Williamson Sugarloaf (Winona, MN); first vice-president Russ Mawdsley of Russell-Hall (Holyoke, MA); executive vice-president Jack Kelleher; and AMOA meetings manager Lori Schneider.
ASI was opened to the public for the first time in its history, and approximately 275 “non-amusement” visitors walked the show floor on its final afternoon. A few visitors from the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s Spring Expo, which took place the same week at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino across town, also stopped by the spring amusement show. ASI visitors were enthusiastic about various social events, including the Big Bar and Happy Hour on the show floor, which hosted more than 1,000 participants.
Products seen at ASI for the first time in an American exposition included new software for Apple Industries’ New Generation digital photobooth, made by Spain’s Digital Centre, as well as a rental version of the portable Photo2Go; Andamiro’s Oh! Hammer 2; Raw Thrills’ Big Buck Hunter Safari; Global VR’s Blazing Angels; NSM’s Icon jukebox with Polk Audio sound system; Sega’s Primeval Hunt and RaceTV; Stern Pinball’s Indiana Jones and Shrek games; and TouchTunes’ MX-1 digital jukebox.
Awards for Best Exhibit Design went to Innovative Concepts in Entertainment for a large display (9 booths or more); Apple Industries in the medium category (4 to 8 booths); and MEI for a small exhibit (1 to 3 booths).
More coverage on ASI product launches and events will appear in the next issue.