We are honored to have the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) debut our new presence in Global Gaming Business (GGB) with this December issue after a very busy calendar year for AGEM and our members. GGB is now the “Official North American Publication” of AGEM, a development that creates a true partnership for our nonprofit trade organization and the leading North American-based gaming publication.
While we continue to mourn the passing of Casino Enterprise Management (CEM) magazine founder and publisher Peter Mead and the cessation of his publication, we look forward this burgeoning relationship with GGB Publisher Roger Gros, Editor Frank Legato, the entire GGB staff and their outstanding publication.
For GGB readers not entirely familiar with AGEM and its mission, we represent manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, systems, table games, online technology, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry. AGEM works to further the interests of the world’s gaming equipment suppliers through political action, regulatory influence, trade show partnerships, educational alliances, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship.
With that in mind, 2015 was our most active year yet, starting in January with the election of new officers and then throughout the year in these main categories:
New AGEM Officers
January brought a revamped officer team, including the addition of the new vice president of government relations title. The AGEM Board of Directors approved the slate presented of President Tom Jingoli, Konami; First Vice President Dan Savage, Scientific Games; Second Vice President David Lucchese, Everi; Vice President Of Government Relations Steve DiMasi, GTECH/IGT; Secretary Mark Dunn, Aristocrat; Treasurer Tom Nieman, JCM Global; Co-General Counsel Mike Dreitzer, Ainsworth; and Co-General Counsel Harper Ko, Scientific Games.
In February, the AGEM Board approved a three-year contract extension for Executive Director Marcus Prater, who has helped guide the organization to new heights since early 2008.
Building Better Business
AGEM initiated Senate Bill 9 in Nevada allowing for variable payback percentages on slot machines that will introduce true skill-based and arcade elements to casino floor for the first time. Following the unanimous passage of SB 9 and the signing of the bill by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, AGEM worked closely with the Nevada Gaming Control Board on the new regulations and technical standards that will govern this exciting new form of gaming.
AGEM also released a detailed report by the respected firm of Applied Analysis on the effect of slot hold and other factors on overall slot revenues in the U.S., continuing an industry discussion designed to optimize slot floors for the benefit of all.
The AGEM Board in February approved the contract renewal of AGEM Director of Responsible Gaming Connie Jones, and she had a very active year as AGEM continued to financially support a wide variety of organizations dedicated to responsible gaming initiatives, including the National Center for Responsible Gaming, the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, The Problem Gambling Center and GamCare in the United Kingdom.
With Director of Europe Tracy Cohen based in London and AGEM addressing issues in markets ranging from Austria to Chile to Macau, the organization continues to broaden its reach.
AGEM has remained committed to the educational component in its mission statement, including funding separate AGEM scholarships at or contributions to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Lee Business School, Nevada State College, Drexel University, the American Indian College Fund, the Global Gaming Women Charitable Education Fund, Atlantic Cape (N.J.) Community College, the International Center for Excellence in Gaming Regulation at UNLV, Las Vegas Discovery Children’s Museum and Spread the Word Nevada.
Associate Member Committee
For non-voting members to have a larger voice in the organization, AGEM created a formal Associate Member Committee comprised of Tracey Chernay, TransAct Technologies; Jim Roberts, James Industries; Rodney Hammond, JCS Technologies; Eric Olsen, Olsen Gaming/Spectronix; Skip Davis, Gary Platt Manufacturing; and Tabitha Jackson, YESCO.
AGEM led an effort with the American Gaming Association (AGA) to highlight the growing problem of “eight-liner” machines in Texas that are often at the center of illegal gambling operations. AGEM also partnered on other issues and events with a wide variety of other industry associations, including the Gaming Standards Association (GSA).
AGEM exhibited at G2E, G2E Asia, ICE and NIGA, and continues to work with trade show organizers around the world on the important topic of maximizing value for exhibitors and attendees.
The AGEM Mexico Committee, active in Mexico City, grew in influence throughout the year and now is helping guide the overall gaming discussion as the industry continues to await the passage of a new federal gaming bill designed in part to provide a more stable business environment where operators and suppliers can prosper.
AGEM has remained focused on improving the overall regulatory climate for its members, an effort that led to the organization helping shape the discussion this year in more than a dozen U.S. states and multiple foreign countries.
Honoring Industry Leaders
AGEM announced the creation of the Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism and the Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications. Halle and Mead passed away within weeks of each other, much too young at ages of 57 and 54, respectively.
Overall, 2015 will rank as AGEM’s most active and effective year to date, and we look forward to riding this momentum into 2016 and beyond.