Critics are calling them “slottery machines” but the defenders of the new Iowa Lottery TouchPlay machines say the devices are part of the digital revolution. Steve Henneman is the general manager of an Omaha company that manufactures the TouchPlay machines. Henneman says his company, Oasis Gaming, prints lottery tickets and first approached the Iowa Lottery about its electronic dispenser for lottery tickets in 1995. “This is not any new concept,” Henneman says.
Iowa Lottery C-E-O Ed Stanek has said the TouchPlay machines will help move Iowa’s Lottery into the electronic age. “What the idea is with this product is to bring new ways of playing scratch tickets and pull tabs,” Henneman says. “When you have a box of tickets, you have a predetermined number of winning and losing tickets. That’s exactly the way that the product works in the TouchPlay arena…There is no difference in this product than the paper game.”
Henneman compares the TouchPlay tickets to the “E-tickets” you get now to board a plane. “You’re playing a product on a video screen as opposed to playing it in paper form,” Henneman says. “The fundamental difference of finite, predetermined outcomes is what makes this product different from a slot machine.”
Critics says the machines look, act and play like a slot machine, regardless of how winners are determined. A key senator modified the old saying that “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck” to make that point. “They are not slot machines, but they sure quack like a duck,” is how Senate Co-Leader
Michael Gronstal characterized the TouchPlay machines on Friday. Gronstal predicted lawmakers will cap the number of TouchPlay machines that can be placed around the state.
There are currently 46-hundred TouchPlay machines in grocery stores, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, bowling alleys, tanning parlors, car dealerships and other businesses around the state. Lottery officials estimate the state will reap about 30-million dollars in taxes from TouchPlay ticket sales.