If Shakespeare was a game operator, he’d probably say our lead editorials usually cover one of seven basic plots, two of which are: “join an association” and “go to the convention.” I’m going to talk about both. Firstly, we all know that business owner associations are a bit like labor unions, only for the bosses. We also know that their main reason for existence is to protect members against nasty stuff like harmful legislation and/or to fix a problem after it lands on their heads.
AMOA, as many know, was founded back in 1949 to keep the federal Copyright Exemption, and I can tell you they did a super job holding off the hounds as long as they did. But, on the local level, we’ve seen some state associations come and go like your teenage daughter’s dates. Example: California’s umpteenth such group was spawned a couple years ago after an angry San Diego mother complained that some of our games were nothing more than “kiddie gambling.” That “skill vs. chance” scare has quieted down out there, for now, but it sure brought a whole lot of operators out of the woodwork to join up when it was hot.
Luckily, the U.S. trade can boast of a few local associations that have stayed put for decades, like Minnesota’s MOMA, Wisconsin’s WAMO, Pennsylvania’s PAMMA and perhaps the granddaddy of them all, Ohio’s OCMA. These groups have been there for members in fair weather and foul, offering legal leadership, league and tournament help, social activities and more. Good thing for Ohio, because when you read lawyer Tom Fricke’s piece on that state’s current percolation of the slippery “skill vs. chance” game factor inside, you’ll agree how grand it is that OCMA’s in place!
Tom’s piece is written in a sort of legalese. But if you take your time and use your head when reading it, you’ll see why this issue might need an all-hands approach…hands not only belonging to Ohio but to the national associations, all of them, as well as to tradesters in surrounding states. I suggest you all read this in the same way I “suggest” you pull the ripcord when you go skydiving.
Now, for the second plot: “go to the convention.”
IAAPA is about to open the castle doors to all the new games coming to market. Apart from that, they’ll have enough FEC/arcade seminars to teach any old dog the new tricks of this most buoyant part of coin-op today. If you’ve never owned or operated a game center, those IAAPA sessions will give you the how-to. And even if you’re one of the FEC lions out there, there’s still plenty on their curriculum to make the trip to Orlando worth it. BTW: RePlay has a lot of learning on that subject in this very issue (text book?). Go gettum!