Associations, State and National, in Australia over the past 40 years have collectively kept this industry afloat from Federal, State and Local Government regulations.
Before the State Associations combined to form the National Amusement Machine Operators of Australia Inc, (NAMOA) State matters were handled by the State Association.
Some highlights from each State Association.
AMOA N.S.W.: (Amusement Machine Operators Association of NSW)
There was a vicious attack in Sydney where the press seemed keen to point out that the incident happened outside the Galaxy Amusement Centre in George Street, Sydney. In fact the knifing happened just outside McDonalds and the commotion drifted down to Galaxy where the press picked up on it. Then Police Commissioner Ryan, started attacking Amusement Centres in general, telegraphing new regulations and possibly closing some Centres down. Association representatives met with the police commissioner at their headquarters to put our case. The matter was closed and nothing more was made of it.
There was a similar shadow cast over amusement centres in Melbourne but relating to drugs. The Association CAAO made many representations to salvage the image and livelihood of operators in that area.
AMOA NSW spent considerable time in making submissions to WorkCover over their impost to Kiddie Rides. New inspection regulations were set to price operators out of business. We employed the professional services of a Frank Lohning - a mechanical and electrical engineer recognised by WorkCover - to make submissions on our behalf. We eventually saved operators enormous time, effort and expense in the number of inspections at considerable cost, and log book entry regulations.
Stamp Duty. AMOA NSW spent nearly $20,000 and enormous volunteer time over 12 months. The effort involved many carefully constructed submissions, many face to face meetings with the NSW Office of State Revenue. Eventually the exercise saw us locating and subsequently engaging the services of a Stamp Duty Specialist Lawyer who took our case directly to the Commissioner himself. There were many representatives, including the OSR compliance people at the meeting that we had previously been dealing with, and as a result, there is currently no stamp duty applicable to cash box collections in NSW.
During the time when NSW police were out in force against Draw Poker Machines, the law relating to the operation of Amusement Machines came under review. The industry made representations to legislators and a stand-off allowed the continued use of genuine Amusement Equipment. Draw Poker operators were so persistent that the law was changed to allow the police to apprehend any amusement machine and the onus was then put onto the owner of that machine to prove that it was not a gambling device. The industry made representations that allowed the continued operation of amusement equipment, although the operation of all amusement equipment in NSW is, by legislative definition, illegal.
At some time, early in the amusement history, possibly around 1970, local councils in NSW attempted to prohibit the use of amusement equipment in all shops. The regulation revolved around an un authorised "change of use" and the matter eventually went to court. The Association eventually won with a directive that the installation of up to 3 machines did not constitute a change of use. This court case allowed the use of amusement equipment in all shops in NSW at a time when those locations were the backbone of our industry. It could well be that the court case allowed the amusement industry to continue in existence past that point. Most operators would not be aware that the entire amusement industry in Australia was nearly put out of business at that time.
AMOAQ: (Amusement Machine Operators of Qld. Inc.)
A Brief History of the Amusement Machine Operators’ Association of Qld. Inc.
The formation of the A.M.O.A. of Qld. Inc. took place in 1962 by a group of concerned business men, many of who are still actively engaged within the “Coin Operation” (Coin Op.) industry. The first meeting was held at the National Hotel, Queen Street.
The industry identities who first sat down in 1962 to constitute and form a legitimate Industry Association in Queensland, recognised that there was no link between the Public, Government or Semi Government bodies. This was to be the vehicle through which all interested parties could gain access. Its history has been one of co-operation and consultation with all participants.
Our Code of Conduct, which is incorporated in our Constitution, must be accepted and agreed to by all who apply to join, as a pre-requisite to membership.
Our regular Newsletter/Magazine currently called The Australian Collector, has a wide distribution, Australia wide. A.M.O.A. NSW and C.A.A.O (The Victorian Association) are partners in the content and distribution of this information package. The aim of The Australian Collector is to advise and up date members and interested parties of the current trends within the industry, Laws, Regulations, etc. Also articles are written on equipment available.
Another milestone in Queensland, in the 1980’s, was when Registration Labels cost $60.00 per machine per year. This took years to overcome, but persistence and many representations payed off, after the Government felt is was costing more to police this regulation, than they were receiving income from it.
In the 1990’s, concerns by the Queensland Office of Gaming (O.F.G) as to a variety of equipment being operated in the Amusement Industry, led to State and National Meetings. We presented a Memorandum of Understanding – “Prize Redemption Machines, Principles of Management in the Amusement Machine Industry”, after the Department presented a list of requirements. This has given a clear guide to our industry which has proven a very positive outcome for our members.
Response to an invitation from the Australian Valuation Office for a listing of amusement equipment currently in use in Australia. This review will eventuate in a more ‘in depth’ evaluation of depreciation times for the various equipment types. “Depreciation Values” - Mr Vince Ditton was responsible for the collection and dissemination of the information submitted to the A.V.O which was accepted totally.
GST: The application of the Goods and Services Tax to our industry has created many questions un-answered by our Government advisers. However the Association has taken professional advice and prepared a Seminar program specifically for our industry. The 1999 annual industry Convention held in Queensland saw a powerful delivery on GST, by Mr Mark West (Tax legal adviser of McCullough Robertson) with information even correcting some erroneous advise on offer from other bodies. The association put up as much a fight as possible to exempt our industry from the impost of GST. It did eventually realise a benefit for most pool table operators and other single coin entry equipment for a period of 5 years.
Trade Shows: Queensland organised many Trade Shows, mainly on the Gold Coast, from about 1985 to 2000. These were very successful, attracting as many as 700 members from all States, as well as overseas manufactures.
Insurance Scheme: In Allan & Rickard (Insurance Brokers) proposed an Insurance Scheme where Operators could obtain insurance on Kiddy Rides, which was almost impossible with other Insurance Companies. Eventually when the Insurance went ‘off shore’ it was decided to investigate other companies, and so an agreement was drawn up with Horton Carello Wenk (Insurance Brokers) where we are able to source all our insurance with this Company. Also this Company deals with an Australian Insurance Company.
Web Site: With new technology, it was decided that a Web Site should be created. This has been an on-going process and it is hoped that members will give it their full support. It is hoped to have membership payments made, current articles available, a forum where a discussion can take place, as well as “what’s new in the Industry”. Much time and effort has been spent on creating this Site.
Over the years, South Australia has been extremely active in their representations for their members. They were the first Association to create and adopt an Industry Contract, which the AMOAQ used as its template to create a document that reflected Queensland conditions. This has since been refined, by NAMOA, to encompass all States as a generic document, which has been readily accepted and adopted by the industry generally.
Introducing the National Amusement Machine Operators Association Limited (NAMOA), the peak body of the Australian coin-op amusement equipment industry.
NAMOA was established in 1978 by members of the amusement industry who saw the need for an Association capable of representing their National interests. Many of the original members were also members of State Associations already in existence with histories dating back to 1961. Until recently the various Associations operated independently as autonomous bodies, although combining resources as the need arose.
On the 21st of December 1999 NAMOA members voted in favour of a new constitution allowing for a total reformation of the Coin-Op Associations within Australia. The decision was the result of protracted negotiations between the State and National Associations.
The amalgamation retains the valuable infrastructure of the State Associations whilst financially guaranteeing the operations of the national Association NAMOA which has become the Peak Body for the Coin-Op amusement industry within Australia.
In December 1999 the National Association merged with the Queensland, NSW and Victorian State Associations, making it much stronger financially. More importantly the combined Association movement is now in a position to address issues accruing from a State or a National perspective. National members will automatically become members of their relevant State Association and State members will similarly become members of NAMOA - for the one same fee.
Each State Association nominates 2 members annually for the NAMOA Board. Any State which does not have an Association will have one representative on the National Board, until such time that a State Association is formed, when they will be entitled to have two representatives on the National Board.
Events which NAMOA has played a part:
Response to an invitation from the Royal Australian Mint to make a Submission on behalf of the Coin-Op industry regarding anticipated changes to circulating Australian Coinage.
$20,000 was contributed to the Parallel Importation Lobbying committee by the National Association which resulted in a positive outcome, so now the Industry can import from any legitimate distributor.
18 Years of Industry Representations. (by Harry Tester)
The NAMOA a non profit trade Association was formed in February 1979 to act as an advocate for the Amusement Machine Industry in matters relating to Federal issues affecting all states, and therefore the Commonwealth of Australia.
In mid 1973 Rick Dauroff proposed the formation of a National Board of Associations. Wrapped up in this proposal was a recommendation that the entire industry in all States be urged to contribute financially towards its concept and upkeep. After initial canvassing of other interested Operators, the proposal was put on hold till October 1978 when it was learned that one distributor was to begin the local manufacture off Pinball Machines and had asked the Federal Customs Department to revoke the Bylaw allowing the duty-free imports.
So complete was their dedication, and spurred on by the fact that Juke Box’s had been Manufactured in Australia for many years under license and had enjoyed a big share of the market, they assumed they could slot into a similar position and challenge the American Manufacturers on their development since 1920. Pinball Machines were currently enjoying a boom in Australia, and made up the majority of coin Operated devices by the industry.
In response to this development, and the need to have Industry representation at a Commission hearing in April 1979, David Landa, a solicitor from Sydney was engaged to present the case on behalf of the Amusement Machine Operators of the Commonwealth. Notwithstanding representations and submissions made by the Industry in November and December 1978, the Tariff then 41% was imposed by the customs Department in December 1978 following the application by Leisure and Allied Industries. This caused Pinball prices to rise to unacceptable level.
Early in February 1979 Rick Dauroff stepped down as chairperson of the NSW Association to make a full time commitment to organize and form the ground rules for a National Association. At this stage most of the interstate input was coordinated through the office of the NSW Association with the help of the secretary Thelma Hobday and newly elected head, Harry Tester. The first meeting of the new National Association and its Directors took place at the Industries Assistance Commission building in Canberra where Rick Dauroff was elected its very first Chairperson. Others who attended that inaugural meeting were Mr T Williams (NSW), Mr H Tester (NSW), Mr W Edwards (VIC), Mr T Davenport (VIC), Mr G Campbell (QLD), Mr R Clapper (QLD), Mr P Indrisie (ACT), Mr F Sebastyan (SA), Mr B Newton (TAS).
The Industries Assistance Commissions inquiry into Sporting and Recreational equipment in April 1979 provided the forum for the newly formed National Association to debate the validity of tariff protection, and to provide oral submissions on the likely effect on the Amusement Industry. The inquiry covered not only Pinballs, but also video games. By this time two companies had started manufacture and gave evidence before the commission. Most evidence given by the Distributors was based on very suspect methodology, un-supported assumptions, and incorrect statistics.
In 1981 local Pinball Manufacture was abandoned, and import duty slashed because the Video game Boom had begun……………Harry Tester.
Article by Terry Williams:
The National Association was born at the IAC hearing in Canberra ACT. It was during the Associations fight to oppose import duties due to two Australian Operators commencing manufacturing in this country. The convenor of that inaugural meeting, of the soon to be formed National Association, was Rick Dauroff, then of Able amusements and together with Harry Tester of the NSW Association, presided over the creation of the new National Association.
It must be with some well deserved pride that the Association stalwarts of those early days view the final marriage with State and National associations. These people saw the need, and had the foresight to establish a permanent body to watch over and address the bigger issues that would so much determine the viability of this dynamic Industry…….Terry Williams