HomeVirginia Sports Betting NewsGovernor Youngkin Rejects Proposal to Legalize Skill Games in Virginia

Governor Youngkin Rejects Proposal to Legalize Skill Games in Virginia

In various convenience stores in Virginia and across the country, one might find what looks like a slot machine. For some, this could immediately raise red flags, as slots and other gambling games were only legal in casinos and were seen as taboo.

Image: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Nowadays, though, with the legalization of sports betting and online gaming across the country, this pro-gambling wave has rippled across the United States and into other unforeseen areas. For Virginians, the movement has leaked into these convenience store slots, although their manufacturers and many of their patrons would argue that they’re games of skill not chance, and it’s taken a serious hold over the state’s governing bodies.

General Assembly Closes Without Concrete Movement Regarding Skill Games

Even after the conclusion of its most recent General Assembly, lawmakers worked overtime debating the merits and possible repercussions of legalizing these so-called skill games in the state of Virginia.

These games aren’t without their support, from the general public, lobbyists, and some of the officials in Virginia’s governing bodies. Due to the popular and loud support for these skill games, Virginia lawmakers are determined to find a way to tax and regulate this new activity.

Unfortunately, despite the determination, it appears that there won’t be any major movement for a while, as Governor Glenn Youngkin ultimately rejected the latest version of the bill that would have legalized skill games in Virginia. Youngkin himself had made amendments to the same bill earlier in the year, but the Senate wasn’t impressed with his desired changes, either.

Long Road Ahead for Supporters of Skill Games in Virginia

It’s been an uphill battle so far, and it’ll continue to be that way, even with legislators working around the clock to try to push it through. One of the proponents of the bill, Senator Aaron Rouse, acknowledged the work that he and other supporters of skill games had in store for them:

“There’s more work to do. We’ll make sure that we do put in that work so that by the time we come back we can be in a good place to have agreement on the bill.”

This skill games measure was brought to the forefront of Virginia’s legislative sessions in part by small business owners in the state who were led by Pace-O-Matic, a manufacturer for these controversial skill games. The company is based out of Georgia but has made hefty donations on both sides of the aisle in Virginia in hopes of getting legislation passed to legitimize their business in the state.

Of course, there are also dissenters to this movement, led by Virginians Against Neighborhood Slot Machines, a group funded by Virginia casinos that believe skill games could siphon off of their business. In a written statement, the group officially expressed their disdain for the idea of legalized skill games in the state:

“The amount of oxygen being wasted on convenience store slot legislation is truly embarrassing for our commonwealth.”

VANSM may be adamantly against the idea, but many of the supporters of skill-gaming are still hoping that legislation will be passed in July to legitimize their cause, including Delegate Terry Kilgore.