SACRAMENTO, CA -- For at least the third time in 25 years, California trade members are gearing up to form a state association, according to the Amusement and Music Operators Association, the Chicago-based national trade group of operators.
The California Entertainment Machine Association (CEMA) will hold an organizational meeting over lunch on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at the Pacific Club in Irvine, AMOA reported. Local operator Ron Westphal of Newport Diversified/Primetime Amusements will host the event.
Supporting CEMA are a handful of operators and the AMOA Council of Affiliated States. AMOA president Andy Shaffer of Shaffer Services (Columbus, OH) will attend the January meeting. Operators from around the state, as well as manufacturers and distributors who do business in California, will be invited, too.
Industry members nationwide have seen repeatedly how legislative trends that start in California -- such as smoking bans -- can spread nationwide in a few short years.
Recently, a number of industry leaders across the U.S. have been concerned that California's state government could adopt legislation that could cripple the redemption industry by sharply reducing permissible prize values. | SEE STORY
State politics gets less attention from citizens and media in California than in many other states. For example, in Los Angeles, the state's largest city, local TV news stations often don't assign dedicated reporters to cover the state capital. The L.A. Times typically devotes far more ink to national and city news, while allowing less space to state news.
Unfortunately, the amusement industry in California has often been equally disinterested in the activities of its own state government. Michael Martinez of N2 Amusements (Brea) told AMOA that many California operators were unaware that some groups were reportedly lobbying for a $10 redemption prize limit to be imposed statewide.
Previous state associations in California, founded in the 1980s and 1990s, eventually fell apart for various reasons. In at least one instance, one association succumbed to sharply divergent priorities held by operators in the state's northern and southern regions.