HAPP CONTROLS, SUZO INTERNATIONAL MERGE
DEERFIELD, IL - The merger of Happ Controls and Suzo International was announced Tuesday, with majority shareholder Pfingsten Partners declaring that the combined company will be the global leader in the manufacture and distribution of gaming and amusement parts and accessories, with nearly 400 employees in 12 locations serving customers in more than 70 countries. Both companies will continue to do business under their original names. In North America, the organization will do business as Happ Controls, under the leadership of president Tom Happ; Suzo International will be responsible for the international operations under its current CEO Patrick Suverein. Jim Norton of Pfingsten Partners will remain as chairman of the combined companies. Happ said the merger will permit both firms to broaden product lines and streamline global distribution. Pfingsten acquired Happ six months ago, announcing its intent to expand the company in the U.S. and worldwide through internal growth and strategic acquisitions. The Suzo merger is described as a "big step" in that direction.
JUKEBOX LICENSE FEES TO RISE 3.5% IN 2005
NASHVILLE, TN , Jukebox license fees will increase 3.5% in 2005, according to the Jukebox License Office, the agency that administers the Jukebox License Agreement for ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The license fee on the first jukebox , for both members of the Amusement and Music Operators Association and non-members , will be $383, up $12 from last year. Additional licenses are priced at $88 each, with AMOA members paying a discounted fee of $64 (compared to $62 in 2004). To qualify for the special rate, an operating company must be a current (2005) member of AMOA and must write their identification number on the license application submitted to JLO. (The ID number can be found on the member verification page of each operator's AMOA 2005 renewal notice.) The JLO's 2005 renewal deadline for all jukeboxes in operation is March 15; the agency will be strictly enforcing its policy on giving license discounts only to those whose AMOA membership and Jukebox License fees are paid by this deadline. Failure to pay by the deadline will result in the loss of an operator's AMOA discount and may trigger late charges. Contact the JLO at (800) 955-5853 or online at http://www.jukeboxlicense.com.
'GOLDEN TEE LIVE' TEST RESULTS 'EUPHORIC,' SAYS IT
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL , Incredible Technologies is reporting "euphoric" results after the first two weeks of its planned three-month test of "Golden Tee Live." The next-generation video golf simulator, featuring a constant Internet connection and ongoing tournaments with instant results reporting, began testing Dec. 21. About 210 operators are participating with units in 501 U.S. and five Canadian locations, covering 39 states and the District of Columbia, plus Toronto, (see www.goldentee.com for a game locator). Cash rewards have not yet begun. Marketing executive Gary Colabuono said IT expects to launch production models and to activate cash tournament awards by April but "there is no guarantee" as to timing. "Collections are huge," he said. "Everybody is happy and patting each other on the back. Everybody wants more games. So we're in a euphoric, honeymoon phase but this is a test and a glitch could arise that changes the picture. Operators have been wonderfully accommodating as we ask them to get to locations and make fixes quickly. They have been super but it's work and will continue to be."
In other news, a class-action lawsuit was filed against IT in December by some Michigan players who claim "Golden Tee" violates state gambling laws. Said Colabuono: "This suit smacks of opportunism and the litigious nature of our society today. We expect to be completely vindicated. Players on websites and in chat rooms are completely on our side and agree it's a frivolous lawsuit. Meantime it's very time-consuming and costly, but we're not about to settle. We want to get this done and out of the way so it doesn't happen again.