The California Entertainment Machine Assn. held their annual meeting and Spotlight Show at Captain’s Auction Warehouse last Friday, Jan. 27. Dozens of exhibitors and attendees were on hand for the occasion.
The morning started with a series of educational sessions for operators. Leading off were Jonathan Dunn and Randy Cesco of Venco Business Solutions with a talk on ATMs. They detailed information on PCI compliance, marijuana dispensaries, gaming and possible new markets for ATMs and products like the Harmoneyjukebox/ATM combo.
They also discussed dynamic currency conversion. Operators can use the free software to enable foreigners to put their home debit and credit cards into a U.S. ATM and get U.S. dollar conversions – helping them out immensely and allowing operators to charge additional fees.
A panel of card system suppliers discussed going cashless at facilities. The panel consisted of (pictured below, from left): Brent Dyer (Semnox), John Keys (Embed), Frank Licausi (Amusement Connect), Jack Donnelly (KioSoft) and Joe Guccione (Intercard).
They first discussed the present and future of payments. Dyer noted the switch from cash to card will soon be replaced even more so by online and mobile payments. “As technology evolves,” he said, “everything will be on your phone.” That’s why making payments more accessible now is important, he added.
Keys said the shift away from cash during Covid will only expand. He expects a greater increase in online and mobile payments, too, in which more people will register and reload cards from their phones or even a smartwatch. Majority are already loading cards online at home before heading into the arcade, Keys explained. Licausi added that cash is falling off and credit cards are growing in usage even at arcades and other facilities that are still cash heavy.
A session on redemption was led by A&A Global’s Rachel Rosenberg, Sureshot Redemption’s Bryn Netz and World Plush’s Peter Chu.
Chu noted that ocean freight has come down quite a bit but truck freight to the warehouse is still expensive. He said the price from the California port of Long Beach to their warehouse in San Bernardino is almost as much as the ocean liner from China.
Regarding redemption mixes, Rosenberg said theming and licensed items mixed with generic are musts for cranes. She also suggested putting posters in some cranes and stairs to stack and better display products.
Following the educational sessions was CEMA’s brief annual meeting, in which association president Jim Wyatt discussed the importance of staying in touch with local and state officials, especially after the way the industry was treated so poorly during Covid compared to gaming and other social, “high-touch” sectors that weren’t locked down nearly as long.
CEMA also re-elected its same board and executives for the upcoming year and heard from lobbyist Jarhett Blonien and AMOA president Tim Zahn. Like Wyatt, Zahn discussed the importance of being in touch with legislators on the federal level. AMOA is scheduled to do just that with a trip to Washington, D.C., set for March 7-8.
Top of mind for AMOA, he said, is fair banking access, the Payment Choice Act and independent contractor rule changes. Zahn also said the government looking into a digital U.S. dollar is also something to keep an eye on.
The meeting was followed by lunch and the annual Spotlight Show, featuring manufacturers from across the industry. RePlay will include additional booth photos from that part of the event in our March issue.
Visit www.thecema.org for more information about the association.