Per a press release dated October 14, 2019, The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced that Tom Nieman has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism, and the late Dave Palermo has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.

Recently retired after a 47-year career in the gaming industry, Tom Nieman, 70, has a long history of innovation, creativity and respect in the global gaming industry. While working at Bally from 1972-84, he conceived of property licensing for Bally’s amusement games, securing dozens of licenses from film studios, the music industry and A-list celebrities that laid the foundation for the same focus on lucrative branded titles in the slot machine business. Starting in 1984, Nieman helped further the growth of the U.S. lottery industry while at Scientific Games. Nieman also served as AGEM President 2017-19, and for the past 15 years was the driving force behind the annual AGEM-AGA Golf Classic that has raised more than $2 million for the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG).

“It’s hard to fathom a career in gaming that began in 1972 and yet Tom Nieman helped shape our industry not simply through a half century of working, but more importantly by being innovative, creative, humble and generous,” said Luke Orchard, President of AGEM.

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1947, Dave Palermo was 71 when he died by suicide in Las Vegas in July of this year. He worked for 13 newspapers in 33 years during a distinguished career that culminated with his status as the preeminent reporter on Native American gaming issues. Mr. Palermo was honored with more than 30 career awards for his work. He embraced the Indian Country beat and was passionate about Native American sovereignty, history and social problems and programs, with an emphasis on assisting tribal communities progress in a positive direction.

“Dave was certainly one of a kind and his gruff exterior could clash with his soft side, but the dedication to both his craft and Native American issues overall was evident to all who followed his work,” said Marcus Prater, Executive Director of AGEM. “We let the nominating criteria guide the selection of these AGEM Memorial Awards, and when you see the Peter Mead trait of ‘taking risks and questioning the status quo,’ that’s exactly what Dave did when it came to advocacy for tribal issues and where gaming intersected with those issues. It’s very sad Dave chose to leave us early and we will miss him and his unique insight, but his legacy lives on through his stories and the impact they made and now through this award as well.”

AGEM previously announced the creation of this unique annual awards program to acknowledge the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who died unexpectedly in 2015. For more information, please visit  www.AGEM.org.


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