Virginia lawmakers remain committed to ban Skill Games next year

Virginia lawmakers remain committed to ban Skill Games next year

Virginia Senator Janet Howell, a democrat from Fairfax, has pronounced that she remains supportive of the state’s Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam, in their commitment to ban skill games next year. Earlier this year, lawmakers in Old Dominion State considered a plan to impose ban on the controversial gambling machines. But the onset and spread of the potentially lethal corona virus pandemic forced them to allow the machines to remain active in certain businesses to help compensate for the hefty revenue losses created by the health crisis.

The skill-based gaming machines obtained legal footing to continue for one more year through the House Bill 881 (HB 881), which was approved by the state’s General Assembly as well as Gov. Northam, skill-based gaming machines to stand. However, it is worth-mentioning here that the HB 881 granted the controversial machines legal status only through 1st of July, 2021.

Hence, the skill-based gaming machines will not be able to continue after the aforementioned date unless the state lawmakers extend their legal clemency. But, the odds for any such action are almost zero because state lawmakers have already announced that they have no such plans.

The measure allocates the a major portion of tax revenue generated by the controversial skill-gaming machines to Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is used for responding to the state’s needs related to the corona virus pandemic.

The plan to ban the machines has the support of the Republicans as well. Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, a republican from James City, has repeatedly referred to the machines to some extent as bandits.
Commenting on the controversial skill-based gaming machines, Norment said, “I have historically referred to them somewhat as bandits, and sometimes bandits are less than forthcoming with information.”

Each skill gaming operator is currently paying $1,200 per month per gaming seat to the government in form of a gaming tax. Multiplayer skill-gaming machines cost more to the operator. A 6-person table top machine, for instance, costs $7,200 per month.

As per latest data, the Virginia Department of Taxation collected nearly $12 million in tax payments from operators of skill gaming machines. Out of that money, nearly 84 per cent goes to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Of the remaining 16 per cent, 12 per cent goes to the local municipality, while 2 per cent is allocated to Problem Gambling Treatment & Support Fund. The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority also gets 2 per cent of the tax proceeds.

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