A big development in the on-going battle over the Iowa Lottery’s TouchPlay machines. An out-of-court settlement has been reached with Royal Financial — a company connected to the Kum ‘N Go chain. The state will pay the company nearly 1.7 million dollars to settle the company’s lawsuit against the state.
Bob Brammer, a spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, calls it a "fair and reasonable" settlement. The state’s Appeal Board approved the settlement Monday afternoon. "The appeal board is made up of the State Auditor, the State Treasurer and the director of the Department of Management," Brammer says. "They have the authority to approve settlements. The attorney general has the authority to reach settlements in litigation and that’s what we did in this case."
Just over a year ago state lawmakers pulled the plug on the machines, which dispensed lottery tickets. Critics had complained the devices were too much like slot machines. Many of the companies that owned or leased the TouchPlay machines sued the state, arguing the lottery had breached its contracts with the companies who were to be paid a share of the profits from TouchPlay sales.
"One of the several lawsuits against the State of Iowa regarding TouchPlay was by a partnership company called Royal Financial," Brammer says. "They were the largest operator of TouchPlay machines in Iowa." There were about 16-hundred TouchPlay machines in Kum ‘N Go stores — just about a quarter of the machines that were operating when lawmakers ended TouchPlay.
The settlement releases the state from any liability, according to Brammer, who says the agreement denies any wrongdoing on the part of state officials. There are three other lawsuits pending against the state of Iowa over lawmakers’ decision to shut down TouchPlay machines last year.