Pittsylvania County, VA to Shut Down Skill Game Operations

A county in Virginia is gearing up to take out all forms of illegal gambling – starting with “skill game” machines which have been enjoying a sort of regulatory break over the past few years. Now, this is about to change as Pittsylvania County attorney, Bryan Haskins, has given operators of such machines a deadline to phase them out in the next 15 days and shut them down completely.

Game Machines Must Leave Pittsylvania County

Haskins said that there was a growing misunderstanding among Virginian residents that such machines are actually legal and that they are allowed on the territory of the state. “This is simply not the case,” Haskins wrote in an address in which he urged operators of such establishments or individual machines to stop their activity.

Haskins clarified that a temporary injunction enforced by the Greensville County Circuit Court has created some confusion as to what machines are deemed illegal. He specifically argued that any machine outside of the ABC regulatory framework was not allowed to operate.

The skill-based market though is not the only type of machine that is in fact unregulated in the state. This extends to “fish tables” as well,  as they have never actually been exempted in any quality. The injunction de facto allows certain machines – those named in the ABC framework – to continue operating, but Haskins is adamant to pursue any illegal operators all the same.

Toe the Line or Face the Consequences

Haskins has already begun sending letters to operators that he suspects are non-compliant. Those who fail to comply will have to face a possible fine of $20,000 and the far costlier ten years of jail time. There would also be a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each game machine, which could potentially lead to some serious implications for anyone found to be guilty of not complying with the ruling.

Skill-based games and machines have long been a thorn in the way gambling is regulated in the state. While Virginia allows lotteries and sports betting, casino gaming is shunned as a rule of thumb. However, there has been some movement on that front as well, with a previous attempt to block a casino referendum failing in February. Gaming machines, though, seem to be facing mounting challenges by the day.

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