Friday, May 05, 2006 "Appeal lost, TouchPlay gets yanked
The shutdown began early Wednesday; some people were still playing as the machines were turned off.


May 4, 2006

Despite 11th-hour maneuvering by Iowa businesses facing bankruptcy, the Iowa Lottery's controversial experiment with TouchPlay gambling machines appeared to end late Wednesday night.

Businesses that had invested millions of dollars in TouchPlay games in a partnership with the Iowa Lottery were turned down by a judge Wednesday in a last-ditch court appeal, while lobbying efforts for a reprieve from the Iowa Legislature stood little chance of success.

By 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, all 6,400 TouchPlay machines statewide were to be silenced because of action overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers in March. Many Iowans had angrily complained about TouchPlay games, which were nearly identical to slot machines. The games were at 3,000 locations, including neighborhood taverns, grocery stores and convenience stores.

Des Moines lawyer Bret Dublinske, who was involved in Wednesday's court appeal, said it appeared the TouchPlay ban would go into effect late Wednesday night, but he planned to continue to seek a solution to help his client. He represents TouchPlay businessman Bob Lentz, owner of Bob's Amusement Co. of Altoona.

'There are obviously some other legal options that we will have to consider,' including lawsuits seeking damages, Dublinske added.

Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said the remote, electronic shutdown of the games began Wednesday morning.

At the News Depot in downtown Des Moines, a video screen on a TouchPlay game read, 'Machine Disabled"
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