Gov. Youngkin’s Amendments Do Not Sit Well with Skill Gaming Supporters

Supporters of skill gaming in Virginia believe that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s latest amendments to the General Assembly’s recent legislation will hurt small businesses. For context, the governor rewrote a significant portion of the measure.

Under the amended law, skill games would be prohibited within 35 miles of commercial casinos or sports betting facilities. Additionally, Youngkin wants to prevent skill games from being offered within 2,500 feet of educational or religious institutions.

However, supporters of skill gaming were quick to point out that this law would effectively make the larger part of the state inaccessible to skill gaming companies, with the exception of secluded rural areas.

In addition, Senator Bill Stanley, a fervent backer of skill games, questioned the governor’s decision to prohibit skill games from being offered near schools and churches, considering that he removed a similar restriction for methadone clinics.

Stanley slammed Youngkin’s amendments, accusing him of treating heroin addicts with more respect than small business owners.

Small Businesses Are Protesting Youngkin’s Amendments

Speaking of small businesses, small business owners are just as concerned about Youngkin’s amendments. Skill games have been a lifeline to such businesses since 2020 and have been providing extra revenue to thousands of restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.

In an interview with 8News, Munir Rassiwala, an owner of a gas station in Virginia, expressed disappointment in the government’s priorities, saying that the state leaders treat expensive casinos with more respect than small business owners.

Rassiwala and over 500 other businesses have joined forces to protest Youngkin’s crackdown on skill gaming. The protest is also backed by the Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition.

For reference, skill games have been a point of contention for a while. Despite being similar to slot games, skill games actually allow players to select a winning payline. This adds an additional element of personal involvement that differentiates them from slots, at least according to their backers.

Adding insult to injury, Youngkin’s amendments would also increase the tax on skill games from 25% to 45% and would only allow Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority licensees to offer such products.