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INTERNATIONAL NEWS - USA


Legislators look at raising venues’ VLT allowance


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uffering the lowest video lottery terminal (VLT) revenues last year since 1995, at $95m, South Dakota legislators may vote to raise the


number of machines permitted at each location from the current ten to 14. Many operators blame the South Dakota smoking ban, which took effect


in late 2010. VLT revenues have since fallen by between 17 and 35 percent. Of the 14 machines, at least four would feature slot-type line games, a


new option legalised last year for the VLT sector. Senate Bill 175 has passed through preliminary steps, but requires further legislative approval. A South Dakota Association of Video Lottery Establishments


spokesperson said that of the state’s 1400 VLT locations, almost 450 already have the current maximum of ten machines and could upgrade. But although the Music & Vending Association of South Dakota reported


that operators hoped for the ability to increase VLT maximum bet limits from $2 to $5, the state senate rejected that proposal.


increasingly complex issues impacting both the gaming and amusement industries. They included legalising and maintaining state-authorised gaming


Operators ponder the law M


related activity during the past six months that would affect amusement redemption businesses. State officials, who paradoxically stress enforcement of redemption laws, are also exploring gambling expansion. Several state representatives confirmed increased government


attention to sweepstakes games. Some states have banned the machines; others deal with them as law enforcement issues, sometimes jurisdiction by jurisdiction. Still others, like South Carolina, are sending mixed messages, with law enforcement taking one view and the courts another. Following the Department of Justice’s December 2011 decision on


Fate of the dollar coin polarises Washington


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nce again, the dollar coin issue has polarised opinion in the federal government.


The Obama administration has recently imposed a policy change


to terminate the production of dollar coins, except in small quantities for collectors. But for more than 20 years, the amusement and other coin-related industries have jointly pushed for the complete elimination of the dollar bill, which they would like to see replaced by the permanent use of dollar coins. Senators Tom Harkin and John McCain are leading a bipartisan


group that has proposed legislation to definitively phase out the $1 bank note, while also encouraging wider circulation of dollar coins. Called the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings Act (COINS), the bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate on 31 January. The bill will be a companion to the COINS Act in the House of


Representatives, introduced in September 2011. The House bill also has bipartisan support of 11 co-sponsors. This is the fifth time since 1990 that the issue has been


evaluated. The last analysis took place in 2011, and the federal General Accounting Office (GAO) has released the same report each time: it strongly urges the government to phase out the $1 note in favor of the $1 coin. Although estimates have varied through the years, the GAO projects that annual savings of at least $200m, and possibly more than $500m, could be made from this transition. The United States is one of few major western countries still


using a note of such a small denomination. Experts believe its loss would not prove detrimental to business or consumers, and it would help industries such as vending, amusement, transit and retail. The durable $1 coin is environmentally friendly and 100 percent


recyclable, minted almost entirely from existing scrap metal. It lasts approximately 30 years, equal to at least 17 dollar bill lifespans.


THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF THE AMUSEMENT AND STREET GAMING INDUSTRY MARCH 2012 17


its responsibilities are, this new agency could impact crane machine and bulk vending supply chains. Although not specific, Obama confirmed that the new government entity


New import restrictions? I


would closely examine all imports and unfair trading practices in countries such as China. The inspections would focus on stopping counterfeit or unsafe products from


entering the U.S. The emphasis on trading practices would ensure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturers with respect to accessing financing or opening new markets such as Russia. Obama’s administration has filed fiveWorld Trade Organization complaints


against China since he took office in January 2009. He has also imposed duties on Chinese-made tyres.


potential Internet gaming, state legislators are reviewing possible options. Amusements operators could feel negative effects from online gaming, just as they did in the 1980s when home video games hurt street locations. Meanwhile, the 2012 AMOA membership renewal campaign is in


full swing. More than 800 companies had signed up as of mid- February. All operator and distributor member companies will receive two complimentary badges to the March Amusement Expo in Las Vegas. But members will only be eligible for the Jukebox Licensing Office (JLO) discount if they renew by 15 March. More information at www.amoa.com.


machines, dealing with ambiguous redemption laws, and fighting a growing legal push against sweepstakes games. On a national level, attendees learned of extensive gambling-


embers of the Council of Affiliated States of the Amusement & Music Operators Association have met to discuss several


n his 24 January State of the Union speech, President Obama announced a new trade enforcement unit to be developed. Depending on how far-reaching


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