RePlay's Monthly Chat with AMOA President John Pascaretti
RePlay: Tell us about your recent adventures as AMOA President.
Pascaretti: I attended the South Dakota meeting in the beginning of December. The gathering was held in Deadwood at The Lodge. They had a good turnout; a majority of their members showed up. They are a gaming state, and the issues often revolve around the state’s share of the gross revenue from the gaming machines. South Dakota introduced line games a few years ago, but they aren’t seeing as much benefit as fellow operators in Montana. The state takes a lot of the revenue, 50%, and that makes it hard to justify the investment in new equipment and software.
Their hospitality was wonderful. We’ve had good representation from that state on the AMOA board through the years. I was also impressed with the size and scope of their dart and pool tournaments, particularly the way they tie some of those efforts to charitable programs like the Pink Lady initiative. They devote some of the revenue to help fight breast cancer.
I am traveling to the CEMA meeting in California at the end of January. We want to continue our support for that newly reborn association and to see what’s going on with their redemption and merchandise regulation issues.
Shortly after that, we have our Council of Affiliated States meeting in Tampa, where we will roll out our new state association rebate program. We will hand out checks to the state groups at the meeting. Then, it’s on to Expo in March, which will mark the end of my term as president.
What can you tell us about this spring’s Amusement Expo?
So far, so good is what I have to report. Everything is on track. The number of exhibitors is up, and we have more new exhibitors taking booths this year. We are anxiously waiting to see if we get any overflow from the IAAPA event. We see a real synergy with having those folks at our show and our educational seminars.
The educational program is shaping up nicely too. We’ve got something for everybody. There are sessions for management, for technicians, for redemption operators. I will be shocked if we don’t get a big turnout for these seminars. There’s coffee in the morning, a luncheon mid-day, beer afterward and lots of information and networking in between. What more could you ask for?
The industry is changing. Just look at the closure of Megatouch. We all need to be aware of what’s going on in the industry and the world of entertainment at large in order to adapt to these changes.
Speaking of Megatouch, what’s your response to the news that the factory will cease production of new games?
I can’t say I was shocked. We’ve seen where the sales of that product line have been. And we’ve heard from operators around the country about the falling revenues on touchscreen games. At one time, you could sell those games 20 or more at a time. Now, the question is what, if anything, will take their place. It’s sad to see it go away; nobody wants to see another manufacturer go down. Our hope is that people coming to the show are looking for products to replace that revenue, similar to to the way operators have taken advantage of the ATM segment of the business.
I say this tongue in cheek, but maybe we are going to become the MOA again. We keep losing segments of the market. In many areas, even the pool business is not as healthy as it once was. Young people have different tastes in entertainment.
Will AMOA be participating in the upcoming Washington trip with leaders of AAMA?
Yes, we are going to Washington on Feb. 26. The team includes AAMA’s John Schultz, Ralph Coppola and Rick Kirby and AMOA’s Jack Kelleher, Russ Mawdsley and myself. We haven’t had a discussion yet about what our focus will be other than to cultivate relationships on the Hill. We will be having meetings on that in the coming weeks.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for the association?
I don’t have anything earth shattering other than to provide value to our operator members. We are continually working to grow our membership, stay relevant and provide value.
John Pascaretti is a Michigan coin-op distributor who has been in the industry since the mid 1970s. He began helping a cousin run a route, eventually running his own, and has since moved into distribution, beginning with Rowe and eventually opening up his own Pascaretti Enterprises in Warren and Grand Rapids.
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