RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Amusement and Music Operators of Virginia (AMOV) have filed a brief with the Supreme Court of Virginia calling on them not to reinstate a ban on so-called “skill games” as a lower court deliberates on whether the ban is legal.
“Skill games” or “gray machines” are a type of electronic gaming system that has been at the center of a legal firestorm kicked off by a ban that went into effect earlier this year.
The ban drew protests and lawsuits from skill game operators, who said the ban was a violation of free speech.
One of those lawsuits eventually led the Greensville Circuit Court to issue an injunction suspending the ban and allowing the operation of the games to resume.
The issue revolves around whether skill games are meaningfully different from traditional casino “games of chance,” and whether the broad ban violates free speech rights.
Following the injunction, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring petitioned the state Supreme Court to reverse that ruling, arguing the Greensville Court’s decision to suspend the ban made it so that, “It is now legal in Virginia for a child of any age to go to a corner store and gamble on so-called video skills games.”
AMOV opposes the skill game ban, and called on the supreme court not to intervene in the case as the lower court weighs the ban.
“Skill games are an important lifeline for our industry and the countless restaurants, taverns and small businesses we serve,” said AMOV President Dan Switzer. “We urge the Supreme Court to allow skill games to continue operating as thousands of Virginia small businesses rely on this critical income.”
The injunction currently suspends the ban until May 22, 2022. In their brief to the court, AMOV argued the suspension alleviated some of the uncertainty felt by local restaurants and truck stops that rely on the games for income.