Just over two years after lawmakers pulled the plug on the program, the state is getting closer to closing the books on the TouchPlay lawsuits. The Iowa Lottery’s Touchplay machines were shut down by the legislature in May of 2006 after months of generating lots of cash — and lots of controversy over their likeness to slot machines.
A spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, Bob Brammer, says a tentative settlement known as the Siggens lawsuit, clears away a large chunk of the pending suits. Brammer says there are still four different lawsuits pending with half a dozen plaintiffs. In the Siggens lawsuit, 32 of the 33 people involved agreed to the settlement.
Brammer says it has taken awhile to line up all the settlements as there were 67-hundred machines across the state and a lot of different people involved. He says there were TouchPlay operators, TouchPlay machine manufacturers, distributors, and each had different types of claims. Brammer says some didn’t get into the TouchPlay business right away, and some were in at the beginning and made a lot of money didn’t have as strong a claim as others.
The remaining lawsuits are still in negotiation for possible settlements, and would go to trial in September if no settlement is reached. Brammer says the most recent settlement with Siggens would include over half of the money being paid out by the state.
Brammer says total settlements to date are about 15.5 million dollars, with the 8.9 million dollars in the Siggens settlement still awaiting approval from the Iowa Lottery Board and the state appeal board. Brammer says the TouchPlay program brought in 30 million dollars in revenue to the state general fund before the machines were shut down.