AMOA-NY held its Annual Gala at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse in New York City on April 24. The event honored Pace-O-Matic founder and chairman Michael Pace.
In his introduction of Pace, association president Ken Goldberg said the theme of the event was opportunity and optimism as he went over the guest of honor’s impressive five-decade history. “We need to be inspired, we need to learn from Michael Pace’s dynamic and courageous success,” he said, highlighting many of Pace’s new product launches, a number of them “firsts” in amusement games.
“The most recent is Dragon’s Ascent which combines a variety of inventive, advanced technology tools that support the operator. It has captured the imagination of many electronic game sector leaders by way of its creativity, architecture, and business model. Michael Pace, together with his talented team demonstrates the potential and excitement in the future of our industry,” Goldberg declared.
Accepting the AMOA-NY honor, Pace called himself: “a mad scientist” who was inventing a multitude of games to power small business growth and provide a whole lot of fun. Reaching out to operators, he said, “We rely on the relationships you have with customers, your knowledge of the best locations, and your workforce who service and collect the game terminals. We wouldn’t exist without the essential work you do.”
Pace also gave accolades to his wife, Karmin, describing her as a long-time, invaluable partner. “Karmin is my biggest supporter and is an integral part of the success we have had at Pace-O-Matic, and I want to thank her for her many contributions, love and support.
The AMOA-NY also honored Gary Puckett & The Union Gap as their “Jukebox Artist of the Year.” Puckett and his band have enjoyed six consecutive gold records and top ten Billboard hits. The group was nominated for two Grammys and in 1968, even sold more records than The Beatles. The evening featured the music group’s entire discography played on a Touchtunes “Angelina” jukebox.
“I am so honored how my music is loved and respected on jukeboxes decades later,” Puckett said, as he broke out in a verse of Young Girl accompanied by the audience.
Regarding the association itself, Executive Director Danny Frank outlined the many accomplishments of Ken Goldberg’s leadership during his now 15-year run as president. Among their fights has been repealing NYC’s tax on coin-op devices.
Stressing the importance of AMOA-NY, Goldberg emphasized how the different levels of government have engaged many policies which continue to make business difficult for operators. “When I was asked to take this job, I planned to stay for two years. Somehow, I am still here! And AMOA-NY is here to stay.”
This year’s Gala was certainly a night to remember leading VP Joe Bossolina to remark, “Between Michael Pace with Gary Puckett & The Union Gap it will be pretty hard to top this in 2024.”
From left to right at the event: Roger Sperlbaum of Entertainment Experts, Matt Pascal of Entertainment Experts, AMOA-NY Vice President Joe Bossolina of McGee Amusements, Ahmar Tayyabi of KioSoft, Jason Rubin of Entertainment Experts and AMOA-NY President Ken Goldberg of Emerson Amusements.