It’s Almost Showtime!
Attending Expo is a Must-Do for the Trade
Q: The big event is almost here! Can you share your thoughts as show time approaches?
A: It’s sure hard to believe that in just over a month’s time, we’ll be assembling in Dallas (not Vegas!) for this year’s AAMA-AMOA Amusement Expo International. It seems like we were just together at the Las Vegas Convention Center, but that was way back in March 2016!
While Las Vegas has been a hospitable home for Expo since the associations created the “single spring show” in 2010 — and had been the site for every AMOA Expo since 1999 –– excitement is growing for this new, albeit temporary, site for our industry’s annual gathering.
Now we won’t have the unique vibe of the Las Vegas Strip and the buzz of nonstop gaming as the backdrop for Expo this year, but instead we’ll have the energy and “bigness” that define Dallas and Texas!
Perhaps what I’m most looking forward to is the unity that will be created by having so many of us at the same hotel in downtown Dallas. This sense of a “coin-op community” –– where, in the past, it seemed as if our entire industry gathered in the lobbies, bars and restaurants of the Expo headquarters hotel in Chicago and elsewhere –– has been somewhat elusive in Las Vegas, where attendees and exhibitors are spread out among the endless array of hotel choices. To enjoy this benefit of Expo, I want to remind everyone to go to the official website at www.amusementexpo.org to reserve your room at the Sheraton Downtown before the room block is full.
The main ingredients that make Expo a success year after year –– the exhibits/new equipment, education and interaction –– will continue in abundance this year:
• To date, exhibitor signups are strong and the March 15-16 trade show at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will feature a sizeable, diverse footprint of companies displaying the latest goods and services for AMOA operators and distributors to see, review and purchase.
• AMOA will have two exhibits: our membership booth that serves as a source of information about the programs, services and activities of the organization; and the Wayne E. Hesch Scholarship program’s fundraising booth where we’ll be holding our annual raffle. This year, one lucky Hesch raffle ticketholder will win a new Jeep Wrangler, while many others will walk away with one (or more) coin-op or consumer prizes.
• Expo Education Day, which will be conducted at the downtown Sheraton Dallas Hotel, has emerged as one of the key attractions of the event in recent years, and the lineup of topics and presenter/panelists at this year’s program on Tuesday, March 14, promises to once again deliver valuable information and ideas for attendees. Admission to the sessions is free and if you haven’t yet signed up, I encourage you to do so at the convention website.
• As I mentioned before, there will be some great opportunities for coin-op colleagues to connect in Dallas. In addition to chance encounters in and around the hotel, there is also the All-Industry Gala and AMOA Annual Breakfast Meeting.
• We’re delighted to have both the National Bulk Vendors Association and the Laser Tag Museum joining us in Dallas. They add new dimensions and new categories for us to explore.
• Speaking of exploring, there’s so much to see and do in Dallas: great restaurants, bars and honky tonks, super shopping, and area attractions in close proximity to the hotel and convention center. And there are several transportation options for getting around to discover Dallas.
If you haven’t finalized your plans to attend, now’s the time! Visit the show’s official website: www.amusementexpo.org.
I look forward to seeing you next month in Dallas, where together, as this year’s Expo theme suggests, we’ll “Experience The Really Big Deal in Dallas!”
Involved and working up through the ranks within AMOA since 2000, Gaines Butler has a great deal of passion for the coin machine industry and its main operator association. Himself a route operator (Metro Distributing in the Atlanta area), Gaines isn’t afraid of new ideas or taking the company in new directions (he’s added camera and alarm systems to the mix). During his presidency, Gaines has clear goals: “What I want to bring to this position are my passions for education and state involvement,” he told RePlay. “Every state can benefit from the AMOA, as can every operator and everyone in this industry. If you’re not a member, you should become one for the simple fact that it lets you know what is going on.”