SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Some 65 representatives from 26 state operator associations focused on building partnerships, lobbying state and national government, and the vexed questions of gambling at the 2013 Council of Affiliated States meeting. The event, hosted by the Chicago-based Amusement and Music Operators Association, was held from Feb.7 to 9 at the Marriott Riverwalk here.
Attendance was down slightly from 2012, when the meeting drew more than 70 industry officials from some 30 state groups. | SEE STORY
AMOA president Andy Shaffer of Shaffer Services (Columbus, OH) offered welcoming remarks. Mary Lavine of Bullseye Games (Madison, WI), chair of AMOA's state associations committee, presided at the meeting.
This year's council had stronger-than-usual emphasis on lobbying and legislative issues in Washington, DC, and state capitals. Rick LaFleur of I.F. LaFleur & Son (Devils Lake, ND), chair of AMOA's government relations committee, kicked off a review of the national legislative agenda, presented by AMOA-AAMA counsel Michael Zolandz of SNR Denton. In a later panel session, association lobbyists shared their advice on working with state governments.
Gambling programs and equipment have traditionally been a key focus at this annual meeting, and 2013 was no exception. David George of Bell Music (Akron, OH) led a review of gambling issues confronting the industry nationwide. The topic also loomed large when officials from all 26 state trade organizations provided the traditional rundown of the goings-on in their regions.
Another panel discussion, led by Chip O'Hara of Midwest Coin Concepts (Waite Park, MN), chair of AMOA's factory subcommittee, included presentations and remarks from 13 factory representatives.
Eight professional association staffers met separately during the council confab to discuss management and membership issues. Taking part were executives of the associations representing Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Ohio and Texas, as well as AMOA.