The governor’s task force studying the Iowa Lottery’s TouchPlay games promises to wrap up its work by March 9th. Governor Tom Vilsack asked the six-member panel to dive into the controversy over TouchPlay machines and make recommendations for lawmakers.
During a meeting this (Friday) morning, task force chairman Mike Mahaffey promised the public will be given a chance testify at the group’s next meeting.
“We want to try to be fair to everyone. We’re not in the business of trying to demonize anyone or any product,” Mahaffey said. “On the other hand, I think we do have a responsibility to the general citizenry of Iowa to try to have fair, open, honest discussion at our hearings.”
The group’s next meeting will be held the afternoon of Friday, February 10th at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. “I know that there are some groups that wish to speak to this issue and perhaps some individuals and I think that that is all well and good and should be part of what we do,” Mahaffey said. Other members of the panel include Iowa’s public safety commissioner, the Iowa Lottery’s president and people from the casino industry.
Lottery vice president Mary Neubaur says the Lottery has been developing TouchPlay since 2001. “This project has been a long time in the making and private industry has made significant…investment,” Neubauer says. “But also, obviously, members of the general public also have voiced concern about the project and want an opportunity to give their input.”
Today, there are nearly five-thousand TouchPlay machines in grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and convenience stores around the state with another five-thousand on order.