TouchPlay Turmoil Slowly Getting Resolved

The Iowa Lottery Board voted today to drop a claim of nearly $500,000 against a Cedar Rapids amusement company in anticipation of settling a lawsuit over the state’s ban on TouchPlay gambling machines.

Camden Amusements had sued the state in Linn County District Court after the Iowa Legislature in May 2006 pulled the plug on 6,700 TouchPlay machines statewide. The lottery responded with its own legal action, seeking $497,963 which Camden allegedly owed the state when its machines were shut down, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported.

Several other lawsuits involving the state’s ban on TouchPlay have been settled, but dozens of former TouchPlay operators, many of whom are convenience store operators that invested thousands of dollars in the banned machines, are still suing the state in a major case scheduled to go to trial on April 1. A second suit is set for trial in June.

Camden’s case was scheduled to go to trial later this month. The lottery’s board action is pending a general settlement of litigation of all parties and is subject to the approval of the State Appeal Board, said Mary Neubauer, an Iowa Lottery vice president.

TouchPlay operators across Iowa have said they borrowed millions of dollars to buy the machines based on promises of a five-year program run by the Iowa Lottery. Legislators voted to ban TouchPlay after widespread public criticism that it represented a major expansion of Iowa gambling and an intrusion of games similar to slot machines into neighborhood groceries, convenience stores and other retail shops.

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