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Skill Game Machines Bill Vetoed by Virginia Governor

SBC AMERICAS (May 20, 2024) Virginia is no longer considering the regulation of skill game machines this year.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has vetoed Senate Bill 212, which aimed to authorize the distribution and regulation of skill game machines in Virginia after a statewide ban in 2021. SB 212, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Rouse, was introduced in January. Last month, the Virginia House and Senate passed SB 212 before amendments were made by Youngkin. The Senate rejected Youngkin’s changes by a 34-6 vote, which led to his decision to veto.

“When it comes to additional gaming options, such as games of skill, we must proceed with a robust set of safeguards. I sent over a package of amendments which addressed my many concerns with the bill,” said Youngkin after vetoing SB 212.

Youngkin’s amendments called for a maximum of 20,000 skill game machines to operate across the Old Dominion with local communities given the opportunity to vote on their integration. Machines were prohibited near schools, casinos, and places of worship.

Operators were required to pay a $9,000 licensing fee under Youngkin’s amendments before having to pay a 35% tax rate on gross receipts imposed by the Virginia Lottery.

Proceeds from the machines were to be allocated toward the PreK-12 Priority Fund.

A previous iteration of SB 212 prior to Youngkin’s amendments called for a 25% tax rate on gross receipts with oversight from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. Despite Youngkin’s changes being rejected by the Senate, the amendments garnered support fromVirginians Against Neighborhood Slot Machines, which campaigns against skill games.

Still a chance in Virginia

Youngkin has vetoed 201 bills in 2024, the most for a Virginia governor in the modern era. He has vetoed the latest skill game machines measure but could reconsider in the future.

“While it is regrettable that my recommendations were not adopted, I remain open to working with the General Assembly going forward on this subject,” added Youngkin.

The General Assembly can call for a rare summer session to reconsider skill games but is unlikely to do so causing Virginias to continue to wait patiently for the gaming machines.

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