AAMA and their advocacy team at Dentons recently led a group of 20 members through 12 meetings with key congressional offices in a series of virtual meetings. Three primary concerns were addressed, including the global supply chain, labor force issues and inclusion of the coin-op industry in any future targeted federal assistance programs related to the pandemic.
Meetings were organized with Congress members who serve on five committees: Commerce, Finance, Judiciary, Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure. They were Sen. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Diana DeGette, both of Colorado; Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Delaware); Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois); Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa; Sen. Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire); New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, as well as Reps. Donald Payne Jr. and Bobbie Watson Coleman; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York).
“Our goals going into these meetings was to let legislators know how the pandemic, and the resulting mandated restrictions, negatively impacted our industry,” said AAMA President Joe Camarota. “We shared in each meeting how much we appreciated the federal rescue programs Congress created including the PPP and EIDL loan programs. However, we were left out of other, targeted programs benefiting adjacent industries including restaurants, theaters and concert venues.”
Added Rick Kirby, the co-chair of AAMA’s Government Relations Committee: “I know members of our industry suffered as much, if not more than members of these other industries as we weren’t allowed to open while restaurants were able to at least offer curbside pickup and delivery service. In many states, similar touchpoint industries including coin-op laundry, casinos and state-run lottery terminals were allowed to reopen well before the public was allowed to play arcade games in bars, restaurants and location-based entertainment centers.
“Now that we’re starting to see some positive trends, we’re confronted with problems bringing back adequate levels of staffing while dealing with delays, and enormous price increases in shipping, both domestically and internationally. We need the federal government to understand and realize the problems these issues are causing other industries are also affecting us.”