RePlay's Monthly Chat with AMOA President Bobby Hogin
RePlay: Tell us about your travels to various events including state association meetings?
Hogin: I’ve been to the Texas state association in San Antonio. I’ve been to the Oregon state association and I just got back from the ICMOA meeting in Illinois. They’ve all been wonderful events put on by great groups.
The ICMOA meeting was a little bit different for me. I’m not involved in video lottery. I really enjoyed learning about what’s going on with that market segment. They have been operating gaming for five years now, and they seem to have a strong handle on what they are doing. They have an impressive legislative outreach effort and they are looking at hopefully expanding into some of the communities that opted out initially. Of course, they are also hoping to open the Chicago market. They have some really sharp lobbyists and they have a good game plan.
I served on the board with the late Ray Shroyer, and he was a big supporter of getting that bill passed. I’m sure he would be amazed at everything that has transpired.
AMOT in Texas was also a good meeting. They have a large AMOA membership. They also have issues before the legislature. They are mainly in a position of trying to keep what they have. The meeting included a dinner followed by a fundraising casino night. They have a strong organization, and they also have a strong lobbying team. They really keep an eye on what’s going on in Texas.
What’s the state of the business, based on what you are hearing from operators around the country?
The people I talk to seem upbeat. Everybody believes the economy is on the upturn. People are talking about buying new equipment and looking to get that equipment into new locations. Operators also seem open to trying new things. Everybody I talk to seems to be optimistic. Generally speaking, operators are exploring new opportunities. They want to get into new locations, places that haven’t had machines in the past.
Can you tell us about the ongoing campaign to send comments to the U.S. Mint about the negative effects of changing the metallic makeup of the quarter?
From what I understand, we are still in the process of the letter writing campaign. I carried letters to Texas, Oregon and Illinois. I’m getting a real good response. That would really be devastating to our industry if we had to go back and revamp all of our coin acceptors. We’re not alone in this issue. We are allied with the parking industry, the laundry industry and any trade that weighs money as a way of counting money, which we understand many companies do, even big box retail. We had a coin coalition call not too long ago, and we heard from a supplier of coin scales. They told us that a lot of people weigh money and then ship it off to their banks.
What are the major issues you are concerned about as president of AMOA?
I’m always thinking about the betterment of our members. We want to give them real value. Our committees are just now beginning to crank up. This is on the minds of our directors every day to improve the quality of our membership.
Our Save the Rack pool table kits are an example of this kind of value. Operators are really responding well to the kit promotion. Jack Kelleher tells me they have almost sold out of those kits, and they are ordering more. We are really pleased.
July is going to be Breast Cancer Awareness month for our industry. If an operator puts on an event at his local establishment to raise money for a local cancer-related charity, AMOA is looking at a way of matching some of the funds raised. I’m always amazed at the innovative ways people create to promote their business and support charities. It’s so impressive.
What’s next on your agenda?
I will be traveling to Minnesota, where MOMA is holding its annual meeting on one of their beautiful lakes. I’m really looking forward to going there. That’s one of the states I have never visited before.
Past president Lloyd Williamson is going to pick me up at the airport and drive me over to the meeting. We are going to pontoon fish too.
I will also be attending the annual AAMA meeting as well as their Distributor Gala later this summer. So far, this job has been a great opportunity. I’m loving every minute of it.
Bobby Hogin, a Dickson, Tenn., native and consummate Southern gentleman, heads up Hogin Amusement, a traditional street route. Hogin Amusement covers a 120-mile radius, offering jukeboxes, pool, redemption, merchandise games, air hockey games, touchscreen countertops and, more recently, ATMs. The route provides games to bars, bowling alleys, skating rinks, FECs and even some convenience stores (ATMs). Hogin Amusement employs four people including Bobby, as well as two part-time staffers.
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