Skill games operators in Virginia can turn their games back on for now, while a lawsuit over Virginia’s skill games ban proceeds. On Monday, Greenville Circuit Court Judge Louis Lerner issued a temporary injunction in Sadler v. Northam.
“We had a great victory yesterday, but our fight is not over. The injunction allows skill game operators to turn their machines back on immediately. It is now up to elected officials in Virginia to craft a permanent solution that supports small businesses like Mr. Sadler’s,” said Stanley Law Group spokesperson Autumn Johnson.
Voters in Emporia City and Amherst County are voting on local referenda about whether or not to allow the Colonial Downs Group to bring slots-style pari-mutuel gaming with new Rosie’s Gaming Emporium locations. Proponents say the facilities will bring local jobs and revenue for the locality, but opponents say that profit could come at the expense of locals.
“Voters approving pari-mutuel wagering in Amherst County will allow a Rosie’s to open. That means that dozens of new jobs will need to be filled. 100 new jobs will be created as a result, offering at least $15/hr and a $47,000 average annual salary with benefits,” Amherstwins.com states.
A Greensville County Circuit Court judge declined to dismiss NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler’s lawsuit over Virginia’s recent skill games ban. In a hearing Tuesday, the court denied a demurrer from the Office of the Attorney General and ordered an expedited discovery process so that a hearing on an emergency injunction can be held in early December.
“We are grateful the Court was able to see through the Attorney General’s latest and last-ditch attempt to avoid a trial in this case,” said Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), attorney for Sadler and Sadler Brothers Oil Company. “Mr. Sadler’s lawsuit seeks to protect his constitutional rights and the rights of hundreds of Virginia’s small and family-owned businesses. We’re looking forward to December 6, when we hope the injustice and inequity of the skill games ban will be seen by the Court for what it is.”
Delegate Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth) is representing plaintiffs in another lawsuit seeking an end to a ban on skill games in Virginia. On September 1, Roanoke-area convenience store operator Falu Patel filed suit claiming that the recently-enact ban violates his constitutional rights; Patel is represented by Heretick and Virginia Beach attorney Mike Joynes.
“It is appalling to me that here in the year 2021, we are still seeing affirmative acts of discrimination through the legislative process. It is clear from the statements made by the legislators who pushed the skill games ban agenda that SB 971 had one purpose – to discriminate against Asian American and African American convenience store owners who had these legal gaming devices in their establishments,” Joynes and Heretick said in a press release.
Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Virginia) is calling for Attorney General Mark Herring to investigate alleged civil rights violations associated with Virginia’s skill games ban that took effect in July.
“Last session, the General Assembly banned skill games while at the same time they authorized casinos to be built, they expanded historical horse betting, they authorized online sports betting. But the people who were left out are these small business operators that represent the fabric of Virginia,” Morrissey said in a press conference Monday morning.
A lobbyist flew four Virginia state legislators to Illinois on Tuesday to pitch video game terminals (VGT) as an alternative to the recently-banned skill games popular in the Commonwealth’s convenience stores.
“I was wildly impressed with the regulations and control that the Illinois gaming board has on VGT machines. It is impossible to game the system,” Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) told The Virginia Star.
Skill games in Virginia remain closed as two lawsuits fighting to allow the slot-like electronic games despite a recent law banning them. On Friday, Norfolk Circuit Court Judge Junius Fulton III denied a request for an emergency injunction in one of the lawsuits that would have temporarily allowed the games to reopen while the lawsuit proceeds, according to Courthouse News.