INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Amusement and Music Operators Association said it has retained John Willey, a principal of 19th Star State Solutions LLC, to spearhead the association's advocacy for operator-run video gaming terminals.
The seasoned political strategist brings more than 25 years' experience in government relations, crisis management and grassroots advocacy. Willey previously managed public affairs for Anthem Inc. and spent two years as the Indiana Republican Party's executive director.
For IAMOA, Willey will promote the association's effort to legalize video gaming terminals in Indiana. VGTs are electronic machines that can be paid to play or simulate a gambling game such as poker, line up and black jack. They use a video display and award patrons with free games or credits that can be redeemed for cash. If legalized, VGTs can be placed in bars, truck stops, taverns and any additional licensed location.
VGTs have the power to generate millions of dollars in revenue, IAMOA explained, which can be distributed locally and statewide. In neighboring states, similar laws have stimulated the economy. In Illinois, for example, a VGT program has generated nearly $550 million for small business owners in just a few years.
"Last year we raised awareness of VGTs through our promotional video, spotlight meetings and receptions around the state," said IAMOA president Jerry Wilson of PJ's Entertainment & Video. "I am excited to have John and the experience he brings as we push forward with our efforts, and strategize for the upcoming legislative session."
Willey can be reached at lobbyist@IAMOA.org.