One state senator who’s been involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations on the TouchPlay issue says he hopes lawmakers take a second look at helping the industry. Senator Tom Courtney’s comments come following a federal judge’s ruling Wednesday tossing out a lawsuit that claimed the state’s ban on the Iowa Lottery’s TouchPlay machines was unconstitutional.
“It sounds to me like we’re back to square one,” Courtney says. “(The TouchPlay industry) got no where in the court so they’re back to us.” Courtney says. The TouchPlay machines are to cease operations at 11:59 p.m. on May 3rd. The Iowa House has passed a bill that would extend the deadline to September 1st, and let the companies keep the state’s share of the profits after May 4th. That would amount to an extra 25 million dollars, according to estimates.
TouchPlay owners say they invested millions in the machines and many claim they’ll be forced into bankruptcy. “We need to do something to help those folks,” Courtney says. “I do not know how we cannot try to make these folks a little bit more whole. They came into this business legitimately with the state.”
But House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says it’s “unlikely” the date of the ban will be extended to September 1st. “I said before that if (TouchPlay owners) filed suit I thought it would be unlikely that there would be any some of compromises,” Rants says. “They took it to court. They lost. I guess it was a bad gamble.” Governor Vilsack’s staff says he has no comment on the outcome of the judge’s ruling.