Virginia Skill Games Conflict Heats Up As Stores Stop Selling Lottery Again

A boycott is brewing in Virginia. Hundreds of lottery sellers in the state are freezing lottery sales as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. The stores participating in the boycott are associated with the Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition.

The reason for the boycott? The stores want a “path forward for skill games” following the changes Governor Youngkin made to the skill games bill. His amendments would limit where skill games can be located, impacting many store owners across the state.

This isn’t the first time businesses stopped lottery sales in the state to show their displeasure. Many protested after the amended bill was first released, including a rally at the Governor’s Mansion and General Assembly building.

While many retail stores might not be an option right now, players can still find tickets through the Virginia online lottery.

Store owners halt Virginia Lottery sales once more

The stores plan to continue halting lottery sales until the state’s General Assembly and Gov. Youngkin protect skill games by keeping them available for most stores within Virginia’s budget. The budget vote in the state is expected to occur on May 15.

In a press release, representatives for the VA Merchants and Amusement Coalition said:

“By stopping Virginia Lottery sales, convenience store owners across the Commonwealth will show the economic impact that the closing of convenience stores will have on the Virginia Lottery and the tax revenue they generate. They will also show their continued support for legislative champions who continue to fight for small businesses.”

The Virginia Senate drastically rejected the governor’s changes to the bill in April. There is now a special session scheduled for May 13, where Youngkin and state lawmakers will attempt to rework the budget.

Issues with amended VA skill games bill

It’s been a tumultuous journey for skill games in Virginia over the past few months. Gov. Youngkin amended the proposed budget in April to legalize skill games, but with bans on the games at locations within 35 miles of a casino. The ban also included any locations within 2,500 feet of schools or places of worship.

Youngkin also wanted to increase taxes on the machines by 10%, a jump from 25% to 35%.

Shortly after Youngkin filed the amendment, VA business owners vowed to fight back, indicating the bill would keep many from reaping the benefits of the newly legalized games.

The current boycott could move the needle, but time is running short. Stay tuned to PlayiLottery for more developments.

 

Photo by John C. Clark / AP

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Contributor
Cole Rush is a contributor for PlayiLottery who spent six years working at Scientific Games, one of the world's leading lottery operators. He writes for a handful of Catena Media sites, covering online lottery, iGaming, sports betting, and more. A prolific writer in the US gaming market, Cole also has bylines at iGaming Business, ICE 365, and IGB North America. You can email him at [email protected].
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