AAMA 2018 Membership Conference Cultivates Industry Connections

Posted On: 10/5/2018

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NORTHBROOK, IL — The American Amusement Machine Association conducted its annual conference and new-machine gala at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore here from Oct. 1 through 5. The theme of the 2018 conference was "Cultivating Connections."

Highlights of the conference included meetings of AAMA's board of directors and committees, a government relations luncheon and a series of informative presentations by member companies sponsoring the event. The association's proposed Fair Play Pledge to players was the subject of a round-table discussion at which member companies had the opportunity to discuss concerns with and potential ramifications of the plan.

The association's charitable programs were in the spotlight too. The American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation, established in 1983, has donated in excess of  $1,000,000 to more than 120 charitable organizations and foundations including Children's Miracle Network and Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) USA.  
"We are about family and children and having fun," said AAMA president Holly Hampton, Bay Tek Games (Pulaski, WI). This focus on the industry's core market has conditioned its choice of charities to support.

Industry members have responded enthusiastically, said AAMA executive vice-president Peter Gustafson. The AAMA Lifetime Award advertising journal, a major fund raiser for AAMCF, generated more than $141,000. At the Gala Dinner that climaxed the event, participants had the opportunity to text additional contribution pledges that amounted to $16,000 in one hour.  This year's honoree is Larry Treankler, who served as president of Bay Tek Games for 30 years.

"People want to make a difference," Gustafson observed, "and they now see where their donations are going and how they have helped these charities. We've brought heart and soul to the business."

The Gala Exhibit offered industry stakeholders a sneak preview of new equipment slated for debut at the upcoming IAAPA Attractions Expo (November 12 through 15) and the spring 2019 Amusement Expo International.

Gustafson hailed the growth of the annual Gala, and reported that planning for the 2019 presentation must take that growth into account in exploring dates and places for next year's event. "We may be too big for the present venue," he explained.