The first of what may be many lawsuits in the TouchPlay controversy was filed late Wednesday in U-S District Court in Cedar Rapids. The suit was filed by Cedar Falls-based Hawkeye Commodity Promotions Incorporated. Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says that company is one of largest investors in the Lottery-sponsored gambling machines, which resemble slot machines and generated much criticism in the months since they appeared.
Neubauer says Hawkeye Commodity Promotions operates about 580 TouchPlay machines throughout the state. The legislature ordered the machines to be removed from all businesses by May 4th. Neubauer says “The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to prevent the shutdown of the TouchPlay program, beyond that, I can’t really speak to specifics. This is a situation that involves ongoing litigation, obviously.”
Neubauer says the Lottery has been moving forward with implementing the law passed by the legislature in March to end the TouchPlay program. She says “We have sent notifications to all of the private companies involved in the program that their machines need to be shut down by 11:59 PM on May 3rd because the legislation that was passed says the machines shall not be operated on or after the 45th day from enactment. That is May 4th.”
The suit names Governor Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Tom Miller, Lottery chief Ed Stanek, Public Safety commissioner Kevin Techau and the Iowa Lottery Authority. State leaders had feared such a suit, if declared class-action to represent all TouchPlay operators, could target the state for a billion-dollars in lost revenue.