Operators from the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association (IGMOA) gathered on Wednesday, June 7 and Thursday, June 8 for the group’s annual meeting, electing new leadership and hearing from multiple Illinois state political figures who discussed the future of gaming and more in the state. Reps from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) attended as well. Some 175 Illinois gaming professionals attended the meetings, with organizers saying attendance was similar to past years and has stayed steady.
During the course of the meeting, IGMOA members voted on and elected a new slate of directors to pilot the state group. Craig Cohoon (J&J Ventures) took over as President, Derek Harmer (Accel Entertainment) as Secretary and Scott Renville (Renville Gaming) as Treasurer. Chris Cunning, Rick Meitzler, Mike Pappas, Sam Zammuto and Osi Imommoh were elected to terms as Directors, while Darren Decatoire and Andy Rubenstein were elected as Associate Directors.
The group met first on Wednesday morning, attending breakfast and a closed IGMOA board meeting. The wider membership meeting kicked off after that, with special guests Rick LaFleur (AMOA President) and the association’s new Executive Director: Ivan Fernandez. IGMOA decided to add an ED to ease the demand on the association’s President.
“We needed to have someone who’s more the face of our industry,” said Rich Mitchell of IGMOA.
After lunch and a silent auction, the meeting’s legislative sessions began. Illinois Senators Antonio Munoz, Dave Syverson and Terry Link attended alongside Illinois Representatives Chad Hays, Marcus Evans, Jr., and Robert Rita. Kevin McFadden, Kareem Kenyatta, Tom Cullen, Sam Panayotovich and David Sullivan attended to give assembled membership updates on lobbying efforts.
Next, a panel of gaming machine manufacturers (including Bally, Novomatic, Konami and M3T) hosted a session on player tracking and rewards programs. The following, and final, seminar dealt with the concerns and closely watched policy issues within the state. Attendees heard discussion on issues regarding gaming café litigation, had a Q&A with IGB representatives, learned more about updates to VGT software and more.
“There’re a lot of things going on from standpoint of improving the player experience, that’s important to our industry. And most operators want to keep their nose clean, we have a reputation of being a good industry, and the ops are cognizant of that,” Rich Mitchell said.
Wednesday ended with a cocktail reception, tradeshow, dinner and a live auction that financially supports the IGMOA. Winners of the association’s scholarships were announced as well. Thursday played host to a golf game, inviting any interested attendees to spend the day on the green.
IGMOA officials wanted to thanks members of the IGB for attending the event, and said, “A special thanks goes out to the following IGB staff members: Mark Ostrowski, Mark Stevens, Josh Brody, Jim Pellum, Paul Prezioso and Bill Doster. We peppered them with questions on a host of issues at the meeting. The IGMOA sincerely appreciates the IGB’s willingness to participate in this event every year. Our members and guests thank you.