It’s TouchPlay Tuesday in the Iowa House where the 100 state representatives will vote to decide the fate of the Iowa Lottery’s controversial machines. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says last night’s 40-to-10 vote in the Senate in favor of banning the machines builds momentum.
“I don’t know if we can get 80 votes in the House — I hope we do — but that’s certainly a large number,” Rants says. “The winds are blowing pretty strongly on this issue right now.” But Craig Cohoon of Moss Distributing — one of the businesses involved in TouchPlay — says the Senate sided with the state’s casinos. “If you’re from outside the state, it’s okay if you run big casinos, but if you’re a small Iowan that trusted in the State of Iowa, you’re treated unfairly,” Cohoon says.
Cohoon was a member of the governor’s TouchPlay task force and he predicts this fight will be taken to court. “We went out and invested a lot of money in this business,” Cohoon says. “This (TouchPlay) business that we got into because the State of Iowa asked us to be involved in it cannibalized the business that we had prior to this and it’s not going to come back.”
Cohoon is talking about the “amusement devices” his company and others were selling to bars and restaurants — computerized games that, for example, let patrons pay a quarter to play video poker but didn’t offer any pay-out.