- The 2017 Election of AGEM officers took place at the January meeting. The new president is Tom Nieman, who takes up the position for the next two years. He takes over from Tom Jingoli, who has been at the helm for the past seven years. The other officers voted in are First Vice President Dan Savage, Scientific Games; Second Vice President David Lucchese, Everi; Vice President of Government Relations Steve DiMasi, IGT; Secretary Mark Dunn, Aristocrat; Treasurer Tom Jingoli, Konami Gaming; Co-General Counsel Harper Ko, Scientific Games; and Co-General Counsel Daron Dorsey, Ainsworth.
- The U.S. Internal Revenue Service had been considering lowering the tax reporting threshold on jackpot wins from $1,200 to $600 and also looked at tracking play using player loyalty cards. The American Gaming Association had been leading the fight to oppose these efforts, assisted by AGEM. It was announced recently that the IRS has chosen not to move forward with any changes that were perceived as negative for the gaming industry overall.
- Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion Events, organizer of ICE Totally Gaming, gave a short presentation in the runup to the show. The 2017 show will be approximately 9.5 percent bigger than last year, opening up an additional two halls with 112 new exhibitors. Pre-show registration is up 50 percent on the same time last year. There will be a new format for the conferences, branded ICE Vox, which will include more panels, roundtables and learning sessions.
- In Japan, the first stage of the gaming bill was passed, which has cleared the way for the parliament to debate a separate bill that will lay out laws that will govern the way casino licenses are awarded. The government effort at the moment seems focused on problem gambling, and is looking to Singapore as a possible model. Realistically, it is unlikely any casinos will open before 2024. Clarion will be hosting the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo in May, which will assist in bringing international operators and suppliers together with Japanese counterparts.
- ICE Totally Gaming 2017, February 7-9 at ExceL London. AGEM will have a presence at the show as usual, and will look forward to welcoming all members and potential new members to the stand.
The AGEM Index ended 2016 on a positive note with the gains reported during December 2016 largely offsetting losses experienced during November 2016. The composite index stood at 321.28 points at the close of 2016, which represents an increase of 13.14 points, or 4.26 percent, when compared to November 2016. The AGEM Index reported a year-over-year increase for the 15th consecutive month, rising 123.96 points, or 62.8 percent, when compared to December 2015. During the latest period, seven of the 13 global gaming equipment manufacturers reported month-to-month increases in stock price, with two up by more than 10 percent. Six manufacturers reported decreases in stock price during the month. On the year, positive performances were posted by the majority of equipment suppliers. Galaxy Gaming (GLXZ) posted the largest percentage gain, increasing by more than 200 percent. A handful of players posted impressive 50-percent-plus gains during 2016, including the following: Konami Corp., International Game Technology Plc., Scientific Games Corporation, Aristocrat Technologies (ALL) and Crane Co.