Virginia’s ban on skill games has been set to take effect next week, but an Emporia business owner is going to court to stop the measure.
Emporia Business Owner Is Not Happy with the Ban
Virginia’s ban on electronic skill games would take effect next week but an Emporia truck stop owner, who is also a former NASCAR driver, rushes to court to stop it with a senator as his attorney. On Monday, Sen. Bill Stanley from Franklin County filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sadler Travel Plaza’s owner, Hermie Sadler. According to them, the law is unconstitutional, and it wants to take away a significant revenue source. They state that this revenue allowed them to survive the pandemic.
The lawsuit targets the General assembly leaders even though it mentions Attorney General Mark Herring, Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. General Assembly leaders pushed for the ban in 2020.
Senator Stanley Says That the Measure Is Wrong
The General Assembly decided to ban skill games last year instead of regulating and taxing them. However, it approved gambling legalization at up to five casinos, one of which is in Richmond. It allows mobile sports wagering, internet sales by the Virginia Lottery, and fewer rules for charitable gaming.
On Monday, in a news conference outside the Capitol in Richmond, Stanley stated: “What we did in the General Assembly was wrong.” Stanley said that the assembly chose to pick on the small businessman. He said that according to assembly members, the skill games are “unseemly,” but they are not. They helped small businesses to survive the pandemic.
Skill Games Could Have a Loophole to Continue
Although skill games may have served their purpose during the pandemic, generating more than $70 million for the fund and keeping struggling companies in business, the legal fight against the ban has just started. The plan was to keep skill games for one year from July 1, 2020.
However, there is a bill redefining the prosecution of illegal gambling in the state. The bill includes a loophole that allows any regulated gambling activity, which was legal on February 1, 2021, to continue. Skill games were legal at that time and, therefore, they could become an exception. The skill game story in Virginia is far from over, and the fight for electronic skill game machines has just begun.