The Iowa Lottery says the process is underway to shut down the 6,400 TouchPlay machines in the state, while owners seek a last minute reprieve. Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Tina Potthoff says the four companies that own the TouchPlay machines began a process this morning that would shut down the machines. She says each of the companies have a central operating system that will send out a message to the machines to make them inoperable.
Pothoff says the shutdown will likely take all day — but will be completed by the Legislature’s deadline of 11:59 tonight. Pothoff says there’s some worry that a machine could shut down while someone is playing the machine, and that player would lose their money. She says they don’t think that will happen. She says the machine should cash the player out at the time it shuts down.
While the shutdown process is underway — the lawyers for three of the TouchPlay machine companies filed a motion today to ask a judge to reconsider his decision against their request for an injunction to stop the shutdown.
Craig Cohoon, the vice president of sales for Moss Distributing, says they’d like to see the shutdown deadline extended so they could get back more of the money they invested in the machines. Cohoon says they’re hopeful and he says there are some people that want to help them out and keep companies from going into bankruptcy. The Iowa House had approved a bill that would keep the TouchPlay machines running until September, but the Senate refused to act on the bill.
If the situation doesn’t change — Pothoff of the Iowa Lottery says the next deadline is for players to cash in their prizes. Pothoff says all prizes under 600 dollars must be claimed Thursday. Prizes over 600 dollars can be claimed at an Iowa Lottery office up until August 29th.
What happens to all the idle TouchPlay machines? Pothoff says they go back to the companies that own them. Pothoff says the Iowa Lottery is under the belief that the owner-operators should take care of the machines, although she says they’ve heard that some may be in financial trouble and unable to pick up the machines. Pothoff says the machines are spread out in some three-thousand businesses across the state.