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Virginia Governor Vetoes Skill Game Bill

Late last week Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin wrapped up the 2024 legislative session by vetoing a bill that would have permanently legalized skill games in the state’s convenience stores. The move was a massive disappointment for Virginia convenience store owners, who have relied on the games for extra income since the pandemic, but they were optimistic that Governor Youngkin would keep his word and revisit the issue.

Under the terms of Virginia Senate Bill 212, convenience store owners would have been allowed to keep the games operating, something that’s been part of their businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. While Governor Youngkin isn’t opposed to the games, he wanted much stricter regulation than was in SB212, which he expressed in a series of proposed amendments to the bill. Those amendments included a $9,000 licensing fee for the machines; a cap of 20,000 games statewide; as well as a 35 percent on skill game revenue. The Virginia Senate rejected Youngkin’s suggestions in a vote of 34-6.

Youngkin responded to the vote by vetoing the bill and telling ABC 13 News, “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. While it is regrettable that my recommendations were not adopted, I remain open to working with the General Assembly going forward on this subject.”

A spokesperson for the Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition told ABC 13 that store owners remain optimistic that Governor Youngkin will keep his word and revisit the issue. He also pointed out that the income from skill games helps small convenience stores compete with large chains, such as WaWas.