Virginia Lottery Protests Could Linger as Skill Games Future Remains Uncertain

The ongoing debate over the legality and regulation of skill games in Virginia continues to be a contentious issue that could cost business owners, the state and the Virginia Lottery a lot of money. The Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Glenn Youngkin have been unable to reach a consensus on the matter, and the newly approved budget shows that the difficulties could continue for months.

Signs inside a Virginia convenience store supporting a ban on Virginia Lottery sales in protest of restrictions on skill games. (Source: Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition)

Listen to this news articleLISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:

The General Assembly and Gov. Youngkin agreed to a new state budget on Monday that does not account for revenue from skill games. This leaves the topic in limbo as convenience store owners continue to protest the stalemate.

Related: Virginia Convenience Stores Halt Lottery Sales over Skill Games Dispute

Hundreds of store owners have been refusing to sell Virginia Lottery tickets—a move that underscores their reliance on the income generated from skill games machines. The protest began late last week, with promises to continue until skill games regulations are relaxed.

Gov. Youngkin Lays Down the Law

Gov. Youngkin has laid out specific demands regarding the operation of skill games within the state. His administration seeks to impose stricter regulations than those previously passed by the General Assembly.

Among these demands is the limitation of skill games to certain areas, excluding them from being operated near schools, places of worship and casinos. This restriction aims to address concerns about the potential negative impacts of gambling and ensure that skill games do not encroach on sensitive areas.

It also means hundreds of convenience stores can no longer offer the machines, which have been a major source of revenue for them. The store owners hope the protest will drive their point home, potentially costing the Virginia Lottery as much as $12.5 million in sales each day.

More Business News

Additionally, the governor has proposed a cap on the number of machines allowed statewide. He set the limit at 20,000 to prevent an oversaturation of the market and maintain a level of control over the industry's growth.

Legislative Support Wanes

The governor's stance has been met with resistance from some lawmakers and many small business owners. They argue that the proposed regulations are too restrictive and would effectively amount to a ban on skill games, depriving them of a crucial revenue stream. The debate has highlighted the tension between the need for regulation and the desire to support local businesses.

The convening of lawmakers at the Capitol for a one-day special session on Monday underscores the urgency and complexity of budgetary discussions. The decision not to adjourn completely indicates a strategic move to keep options open for addressing fiscal matters that may arise.

Despite the open-ended conclusion of the special session, a lack of apparent enthusiasm for further debate on skill games suggests legislative fatigue or prioritization of other issues deemed more critical at this juncture. The Virginia Lottery, entwined with the skill games discourse, remains in a state of limbo, as well, with the protest by convenience store owners potentially crippling its sales until the impasse is broken.


Leave a Comment

user avatar
My Name United States of America
Your Comment

User Comments

Comments for Virginia Lottery Protests Could Linger as Skill Games Future Remains Uncertain