A spokesperson for the Iowa Lottery is answering claims by a top republican lawmaker over the “Touch-Play” machines. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, said that Lottery C-E-O Ed Stanek tried “pulled a fast one ” on legislators with the machines. Rants says the machines look like slot machines to him.
Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says the Lottery sought permission from lawmakers on the Touch-Play project in 2002. Neubauer says, “We asked there to be language about the project, because we wanted there to be legislative direction on the matter.” She says they asked for language directing the lottery to develop a business plan and proceed if the lottery board and C-E-O felt they should proceed, and she says they did proceed.
Neubauer says they’ve kept legislators up to date on the project as it moved forward. She says they’ve continued to report to legislative committee and says she believes they’ve reported to the committees at least 12 times since the legislation was passed in 2002. Neubauer says there wasn’t anything in the feedback they’d gotten from the legislative committees to make them stop the project. Neubauer says, “There have been a few legislators that have expressed concern about the machines, but at no point did we believe, or was there anything on the record to indicate that that was a majority of the legislature. And again, because of that, we believed that we were trying to fulfill legislative intent with this project. And one of our mandates from the state is to maximize revenues to the state.”
Rants said Lottery officials have shown legislators demos of lottery products before they’ve gone on the market in the past, but says no lottery official showed up in his with a picture of the touchplay machine. Neubauer says legislators were shown a prototype machine in 2001. She says at that time the machine they had was the only one in the world that had been sent to them to test. She says at that time and they showed it to legislators. Neubauer says, “Legislators at that time directed us to go out to bid to make sure that different companies would have a chance to do business on this project. That’s what we did.” Neubauer says the bid process resulted in four companies that ended up manufacturing the machines.