Editorial – May 2024


Eddie Adlum 6-2020

As I’ve written several times before, the economic data that amusement and music operators really care about is generated in their own territories. It’s the economic equivalent of that other truism “all politics is local.” While this doesn’t render national news uninteresting or useless, it’s those state and city/town developments where the rubber meets the road in business.

Nationally, stats for the month of March 2024 from Washington, D.C., showed that over 300,000 new jobs were added that month while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%. Such good news hopefully translated into fatter collections at the places where you have machines working for you. But while single-site arcade owner Adam Pratt felt positive economic vibes coming from a few other game center guys he talked with at the Expo, guru George McAuliffe has determined that the first quarter of 2024 shows that a definite industry softening is at hand.

Generally speaking, the coin-op industry is pretty much statistically-barren. Many operators, especially route owners, usually keep their numbers close to the vest. But still, a reliable way to find out just how good or bad things are is to ask your fellow operators and even competitors how’s business? And that’s why these national, regional and local association gatherings are so valuable.

Sharing knowledge among operators at face-to-face events is a solid way to learn what’s up, as are visits to the coin-op websites and (although this sounds self-serving) in the industry’s trade magazines (e.g. read both Adam’s and George’s post-Expo columns inside). But, a simple chat with a friendly competitor can prove to be the best way to get that precious knowledge about general collections and how well certain new machines have been performing in the cash can.

Colorado operator/distributor Bob Burnham is AMOA’s new president, and a better man to promote association membership and attendance at trade meetings where operators gather would be hard to find. He’s committed himself to this task, among others, and judging from his record, which includes the arcade knowledge he’s gained in his time in coin-op, results will surely follow his actions. Bob knows that the very best form of inter-trade communications is what I call the “operator grapevine.” The best place to be is in the middle of the herd.



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