AAMA Elects Camarota Prexy, 2019 Gala Lauds Coppola And Marshall

Posted On: 9/16/2019

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INDUSTRY SERVICE: Mark Robbins (right), Gold Standard Games (Bay City, MI) congratulates Don Marshall, Marshall Productions (Chicago, IL) on winning the Joe Robbins Award (a memorial to Mark’s father) as they review games on display after the AAMA Gala dinner.

LOMBARD, IL -- The American Amusement Machine Association membership elected Joe Camarota, Alpha-Omega Amusements & Sales (East Brunswick, NJ) president during the association’s annual meeting, held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Centre Hotel. He succeeds  Holly Hampton, Bay Tek Games (Pulaski, WI) in the post.

Camarota was also presented with the Shining Star award during the festive Gala dinner, which climaxed the five-day event.

This year, the Gala charitable dinner honored the lifetime achievements of the late Ralph Coppola, founder of Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (Clarence, NY), and raised more than $287,000 during its souvenir advertising journal fund-raiser in the months preceding the event. At the dinner, guests had the opportunity to increase their generous contributions to the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation. An unprecedented $30,000 more was raised, thanks in large part to the enthusiastic encouragement of emcee Allen Weisberg, Apple Industries (Greenvale, NY)

A highlight of the night was a heartfelt reminiscence by ICE president Joe Coppola, who shared a candid, often humorous anecdotal walk down memory lane to illuminate the innovative leadership that made the company the success it is today.

Innovative Concepts in Technology, more simply known as ICE, was founded in 1982. In that year, it introduced  Chexx Bubble Hockey which got the company off to a strong start. ICE would go on to design, build and sell more than 150 arcade titles during  Ralph’s lifetime.

Coppola was known for his quiet philanthropy and generosity, which included local charity events at which the legendary bubble hockey games were auctioned off to raise funds for Make a Wish American heart Association schools and churches, among many other organizations. His life is celebrated by family friends and industry colleagues in AAMA’s souvenir ad journal.
The association’s highest honor, the Joe Robbins Award, was presented to Don Marshall of Marshall Productions (Chicago, IL). The award is a memorial to the industry pioneer who was instrumental in forming AAMA in 1981. Joe Robbins, a decorated U.S. Army veteran of World War II, was co-owner of Empire Distributing Co. prior to its sale in 1972 to Bally Mfg. Robbins went on to serve on Bally’s board of directors, and later held executive positions with Atari and Sega.

The American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation also presented checks to  four service organizations that assist children in need. This year’s recipients were KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), the Ronald McDonald House, Camp Sunrise and the Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago.

AAMA maintains a website at https://coin-op.org/. Information about its charitable foundation may be found at https://coin-op.org/aama-charity/