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Skill Game Industry Left in Limbo in Virginia

You are currently viewing Skill Game Industry Left in Limbo in Virginia
The skill games in the establishments are similar to slot machines.
  • Post category:News

Skill games, similar to those seen on a slot machine, have grown increasingly popular in Virginia. They can be seen in convenience stores, restaurants, truck stops, and all kinds of places. However, these machines have been a bit all over the place in the last few years, as their legality has gone back and forth. The machines were initially legal, then not, then legal again, and are now back to an illegal status. This has set them up to be seen in a lot of these business types but sitting disconnected and inoperable. There has been another rise in the fight for the legal status of these game machines, leading to the third possible time in which these were considered legal.

The biggest argument for these machines to be legal is the revenue stream they bring businesses.

Some smaller restaurants and stores that have these machines installed have argued that the business brought in by the machines is what has kept their business open. Since the machines were changed to illegal again back in November of 2023, many have been struggling to stay afloat. They hope that the Virginia lawmakers will see the economic benefits of the machines being in use and be swayed to re-legalize the games and keep it that way.

A formal bill has not yet been presented to reestablish the legality of the games but is expected to come soon. If we do not see the ban fully eliminated soon, we may see another suspension of the ban. Previously, due to the ongoing court battles over these machines, the ban was suspended for two years. However, late last year the ban was formally reinstated after the lower courts made their determination.

Due to all of the back and forth the machines have had legally, they have been nicknamed “gray machines.”

The gray areas of the machines are due to supporters arguing they are simple, harmless game set ups, boosting establishments’ profits. Opposers argue that the games are a form of gambling in a smaller, more individualized way. Gambling is heavily restricted in the state of Virginia, only allowing large establishments like casinos to allow for gambling.

The biggest supporter of the relegalization of the machines is Pace-o-Matic, which is the parent company of one of the most popular brands of skill game machines. They have garnered much support from lobbyists and are backed by some Virginia Assembly members.

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