We live in a world that poses many potential challenges beyond our control, including market gyrations and travel delays or even more serious issues like terrorism or infectious disease. The entrepreneurial instinct tells us to tackle our problems head on, instead of burying our head in the sand and making matters worse. The trick, of course, is to know which of our concerns are susceptible to reform and which are out of our control. That’s no easy task, but if we can discern the difference, we are well on our way to finding solutions.
When it comes to matters that fall into the former category, we should strive to be proactive instead of reactive. Or as the old saying goes: if you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the table. That’s particularly true when it comes to the threat of regulation. Amongst some circles, it has become fashionable to categorize government (and for businesses, government regulation), in the latter, beyond-our-control category. We think that’s a mistake.
Inside this issue, we chronicle, first-hand, the industry’s trade mission to Washington, D.C., in September when representatives of the amusement game and bulk vending trades conducted approximately 50 meetings with Congressional staff members to discuss the damage that could be done to the industry and the American consumer if Congress opted to change the quarter’s metallic makeup to steel. Legislative staff were extremely receptive to the trade’s mission with a number of them saying they would oppose such a measure if a bill ever materialized. At present, the trade awaits the results of a study on the question from the U.S. Mint.
Industry lobbyist John Russell advised representatives of the Don’t Change Our Change Coalition (including AAMA, AMOA, NBVA and other groups) to make the trip before Congress recessed until after the election. Even though no bill is currently on the table, Russell stressed the need for proactivity. To that end, industry members took those meetings on Capitol Hill armed with their own research report concluding that the costs to industry far outweigh the savings to government. Only time will tell whether the strategy works, but all evidence so far suggests that efforts to dialog with the Mint and lobby Congress have greatly helped our case.
Like successful government relations efforts, trade shows represent another opportunity for members of the industry to be proactive in their approach to business. Amusement operators will gather in Dallas, Nov. 8-9, for the second AMOA Road Scholar event focusing on managing change, using analytics and the emerging cashless economy. Likewise, this month’s IAAPA also offers a wealth of both educational opportunities and new products that could potentially grow revenues and attract new customers. “The educational component (of IAAPA) is invaluable,” explained Ohio FEC operator Tim Sorge. “I’ve been around this industry for decades, and I never miss the shows and the seminars. I always pick up stuff no matter how long I’ve been in the industry. That’s the primary thing I go for.”
Sorge and others like him have successfully pinpointed one of those crucial areas of their work where being proactive can pay real dividends. We look forward to bringing you stories from both Road Scholar and IAAPA in our December issue.
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