A representative of the TouchPlay machine owners today (Monday) told the Iowa Lottery Board the owners have good reasons for not paying millions of dollars due the Iowa Lottery.
Craig Cahoon, the vice president of Moss Distributing, says he doesn’t directly represent all TouchPlay owners. But Cahoon says he knows most of the owners well, and they have been trying to tie up loose ends since the TouchPlay ban went into effect in early May.
Cahoon says there are still two TouchPlay lawsuits pending, and there may be more. Cahoon says the operators had a five-year contract with the legislature, and the legislature ended the contract, so the operators want to explore the legal issues involving the contract.
Cahoon says TouchPlay owners were given a bad deal. He says, “I think there was a lot of people that were wronged here. I think the people of the State of Iowa were wronged here basically in the program. I think the lottery itself was wrong, I feel that the operators were definatley wronged. There was a five-year agreement with us and that was indeed how we returned our investment and made profit in this business, and we weren’t allowed to do that.”
Cahoon was asked if he thought the TouchPlay owners would eventually all pay up. Cahoon says he can’t speak to that because some of it will be decided by attorneys and the court. But Cahoon says he knows that, “Every member of our industry is a responsible bussinessperson and pays their bills.”
The Iowa Lottery Board met in a closed session after hearing from Cahoon. Lottery Director Ed Stanek would only say the board discussed litigation and has not made any decisions. Stanek says he’s not sure if the TouchPlay owners will pay up. Stanek says they don’t know and have sent out what they believe is their final accounting of money due and will give the TouchPlay owners until July to pay up.
Stanek says the money is overdue and they’ll have to determine what happens if the companies don’t meet the July deadline. Stanek says the money should’ve been collected prior to today, and he says if it isn’t paid by July, they’ll have to visit with the board and legal counsel to decide their next move.
Stanek sending overdue notices to the TouchPlay companies is an unusual step. Stanek says they normally don’t send notices, but instead electronically sweep the company’s bank account for the money. Stanek says in this case some of the companies didn’t have enough money in their accounts, or told their banks to not allow the Iowa Lottery to sweep their accounts.
There were 22 companies that owed some three-point-three million dollars at the start of the Iowa Lottery Board’s meeting today. Lottery officials say two of the companies paid their bills today, dropping the total owed the Iowa Lottery to two-point-nine million dollars.