AMOA and AAMA are heading to Washington, D.C., for meetings tomorrow (April 30) to continue addressing issues affecting their members, AMOA specifically working on the ongoing bank account closure problem. Top of AAMA’s list: tariffs and H2-B visas.
AMOA has an ATM survey for its members that will help them further gauge the scope of the issue.
AAMA’s top exec Pete Gustafson said they have three main objectives. The first is to talk about tariffs and their effect on the industry. “We bring in a lot of product from overseas, raw materials and supplies and/or finished goods,” he said, noting that even the “saber rattling” can have an impact. Holly Hampton (AAMA president and key exec at Bay Tek Entertainment) shared that their cost of raw materials went up before tariffs were even imposed on steel. “They start talking about it and, bam: prices go up,” she said.
Also key on their agenda is the ongoing affect the crackdown on immigration has had on H2-B visas and seasonal employees. This especially impacts the amusement business up and down the east coast, Gustafson said, explaining that there isn’t enough of a young, domestic labor force to cover those locations’ peak season.
Finally for AAMA, this trip is another opportunity to say hi to lawmakers and their staff. “It gives us another opportunity to say, ‘We’re the good guys,’ to make sure they know who we are and, perhaps equally important, who we’re not,” he said. “There are still those legislators who have a long memory back to Mortal Kombat and Silent Scope and who associate our industry with the consumer video game industry. As Denton’s John Russell has so eloquently stated, ‘That’s not who we are. We have to be mom approved.’”
Gustafson was especially pleased to have three new faces representing areas of the country they don’t often have represented on these trips. (Among those going this time are Pinnacle’s Howard McAuliffe, Pyramid Technology’s Jonathan Durst, Alpha-Omega Amusements’ Joe Camarota, Betson’s Rick Kirby and ICE’s Joe Coppola and their head of purchasing, Robert Skowronski (the latter there to specifically address the impact of tariffs). Gustafson said they also engaged other manufacturers and prize merchandise suppliers who can’t make the trip for additional talking points.
Look for more on this specific trip, as well as these efforts in general, in the June issue.