AMOA Affiliated States meeting, Amusement and Music Operators Association, coin machine, jukebox, pinball, vending machine business, vending operator, video lottery terminal, jukebox fee, amusement machine fee, smoking in bars, location-based gambling, Pyramid Technologies
PHOENIX -- The Amusement and Music Operators Association's annual Council of Affiliated States meeting drew more than 70 industry members, representing two national trade associations and at least 26 state operator associations. It took place last week at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel here.
Following a tour of Pyramid Technologies's factory in Meza, AZ, the group got down to business. Participants agreed that smoking bans are up, and bar traffic and amusement revenues are down. Gray-area gaming is being squeezed out of the market as legalized gambling spreads, triggering tougher enforcement regimes as states seek to defend tax revenues from casinos, lotteries and the like.
The biggest warning to come out of the 2012 States Council was that revenue-hungry states are starting to hike license fees and taxes on amusement equipment to levels that are dramatic -- and possibly crippling. Georgia will sharply hike fees on the industry, mandating a $5,000 master license and operator and location licenses -- 125 apiece -- per game for Class B games (redemption, prize venders and cranes). Class A machines, which include pins and jukes, will require a $3,500 master license for a business operating more than five machines per site, plus $25 each per machine from the operator and another $25 from the location.
Despite the difficult business and regulatory conditions faced by the industry, council participants exuded an air of optimism and confidence. State association leaders discussed numerous proven fundraising strategies, and individual operators and manufacturers shared success stories that seemed to promise continued viability for the more professional members of the trade.