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AMOA recognizes the role government plays in today's society. We seek to educate local, state and federal legislators on issues that affect the coin-op amusement industry. AMOA acknowledges the concerns parents and others have regarding the content of video games. Our Parental Advisory System, developed in partnership with AAMA (American Amusement Machine Association), offers easy recognition of game content. This voluntary system creates a rating system for video game content so parents and location managers can identify appropriate games for players of all ages. Brochures, game stickers and posters are available from AMOA for a nominal cost to manufacturers, game room operators and AMOA members. Internet gambling continues to be a target for both local and national legislation. AMOA seeks to ensure that this type of legislation does not affect games of skill and on-line tournaments.
The coin-op industry is also affected by the various state and local ordinances that impose license fees, implement smoking bans, and attempt to restrict game placement and content. AMOA offers direction to state associations seeking to combat such negative legislation. In May 2004, we polled our operator members about smoking legislation in their areas. The responses to this survey are being analyzed to determine what action, if any, is appropriate for the national association to take on this subject. At our Fall Board Meeting, September 29, the AMOA Board of Directors voted to create a Smoking Ban Initiative. This 9-member committee will explore the negative impact of smoking bans on the coin-op industry and explore ways to combat or lessen these. Sample legislation, a comprehensive information resource database, potential partners in coalitions against smoking bans and other valuable information is expected to arise from this committee. Current members are Gary Brewer, Chairman of the AMOA Government Relations Committee, AMOA Board members Phil Juckem, Jeff Reed, Andy Shaffer and Gary Spencer, Bill Smythe of Indiana, Ed Velasquez of Illinois and Frank Calland of New York. An eighth industry volunteer is being sought.
The AMOA Government Relations Committee, in conjunction with our Legislative Counsel in Washington, DC, continue to monitor issues important to the coin-op industry and work diligently and proactively where we can and respond in a timely manner when an issue arises suddenly.
The AMOA Political Action Committee (PAC) is a sub-committee of the Government Relations Committee. Its role is to raise funds to support legislative candidates whose agendas reflect those of the coin-op industry. THE PAC uses a five-person PAC Review Panel to evaluate requests for financial support and decide whether to send a contribution. In 2004, AMOA's PAC Review Panel determined three legislators would receive contributions to their campaigns:
- Sen. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair, House Judiciary Sub-Committee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property;
- Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and long-standing champion of the dollar coin; and
- Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), sponsor of the new Presidential Dollar Coin legislation.
The Political Action Committee raised more than $10,000, surpassing funds raised in previous years. For more information about the AMOA Political Action Committee, call 800-937-2662.
AMOA's Video Content Sub-Committee serves to monitor and, as warranted, take positions on legislation aimed at regulating usage of or access to certain video games by minors and to promote the use of the Parental Advisory System throughout the industry. In recent years, AMOA, with its partners in the industry, have worked to oppose federal, state and local legislation aimed at limiting 1st Amendment rights. A judicial victory against the City of Indianapolis, coupled with an affirmation of that victory in the 7th Circuit Court in Missouri, has provided the industry the tools to block negative legislation. Victories in Texas and Tennessee, as well as an overturn of a decision in Washington State re-affirm the 1st Amendment protection of video game content. We continue to monitor activity in this area on a regular basis.