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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Limit on TouchPlay a good bet

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Legislature likely will restrict the number of splashy video lottery machines, but won't ban them entirely, a state lawmaker said Friday.

"I think that we'll compromise somewhere," said Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington. "I don't think we're just going to let it go and I don't think we're going to restrict it all the way."

There are roughly 5,000 video lottery games, known as TouchPlay machines, in 2,600 retail outlets in the state, with about 5,500 more on order. That's probably all the Legislature will allow, Courtney said.

"I will be terribly surprised if the Legislature doesn't limit it at least to that very soon," Courtney said during a taping of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program airing later in the weekend.

At the same time, a special task force named by Gov. Tom Vilsack met for the first time to review the issue. Task force member Michael Mahaffey, a Montezuma lawyer, pledged a recommendation by early March.

"We want to be fair to everyone and we're not trying to demonize anyone," Mahaffey said.

Critics led by the state's casino industry have pressured the Legislature to ban the video lottery machines, which they say are identical to slot machines. Casinos are worried about competition, and gambling opponents worry the proliferation of the machines has, in effect, put a casino in every town in the state.

Courtney also said he was worried about children playing the machines in areas where there is little supervision.

"There's a lot of concerns about minors, you need to limit the access," he said.

One way to do so would be requiring a player to swipe a drivers license.

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