G2E: AGEM annual awards honor retired gaming exec Tom Nieman, late journalist Dave Palermo

October 14, 2019 10:58 PM
  • CDC Gaming Reports
October 14, 2019 10:58 PM
  • CDC Gaming Reports

Former JCM Global executive Tom Neiman and longtime gaming journalist Dave Palermo, who passed away in July, were named Monday as the recipients of two annual awards sponsored by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM). 

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The trade organization announced the awards ahead of the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Nieman was honored with the 2019 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism. Palermo is the recipient of the 2019 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.  

The awards will be presented at 4 p.m. Wednesday at AGEM’s booth at the G2E tradeshow inside the Sands Expo and Convention Center. 

Nieman, 70, retired earlier this year after a 47-year career in the gaming industry. He began his career with Bally Manufacturing in Chicago, staying with the company from 1972 through 1984. He conceived and oversaw the licensing of Bally’s amusement products, securing dozens of licenses from film studios, the music industry and celebrities. The effort laid the foundation for the same focus on branded titles in the slot machine business. 

Nieman helped further the growth of the U.S. lottery industry while at Scientific Games. He was a member of the marketing team that launched the lotteries in Iowa, West Virginia and California. Nieman then took a series of senior marketing positions in Las Vegas with Bally Gaming, Shuffle Master and JCM Global, where he was vice president of worldwide Marketing for the Japan-based automated transaction solutions company. 

AGEM President Luke Orchard said Nieman helped shape our industry not simply through a half century of working, but more importantly by being innovative, creative, humble and generous. Orchard said Nieman crossed paths many times with Jens Halle. 

Tom has traveled the world, shaking hands and spreading his positive energy while moving business forward and representing the supplier sector with integrity and vision,” Orchard said. 

Nieman. who also served as AGEM President from 2017-19, was the driving force behind the annual AGEM-AGA Golf Classic that has so far raised more than $2 million for the National Center for Responsible Gaming. 

Palermo worked for 13 newspapers during a 33year journalism career that culminated with his being widely viewed as the preeminent journalist on Native American gaming issues. 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. 

Palermo was introduced to the gaming beat while at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the mid-1990s and served his last newspaper post in Biloxi at the Sun Herald before ultimately returning to Las Vegas and contributing to Global Gaming Business magazine and several other industry publications. 

“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 to Native American issues overall was evident to all who followed his work,” said AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater. 

Palermo started at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Illinois, before moving in 1977 to Los Angeles, where he won one of his more than 30 career awards, including the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Award in 1982 while at the Orange County Register 

Palermo was 71 when he took his own life in July. 

“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,” Prater said“His legacy lives on through his stories and the impact they made and now through this award as well.” 

The annual AGEM awards program acknowledges the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who died unexpectedly in 2015.