In the last few months, the issue of Skill games in Virginia has come to a boiling point. After being deemed illegal on July 1st of this year, major players in the skill game industry have been lobbying and sending money to politicians in Virginia with the intention of bringing these machines back online. These unregulated gambling devices not only jeopardize the integrity of gaming in Virginia but also pose serious risks to economic impact of the racing industry and safety in the Commonwealth as a whole.
Key concerns regarding gray machines in Virginia:
- Unregulated Gambling: Gray machines operate outside the purview of existing gambling regulations, creating an environment ripe for illegal activities. This not only undermines the legal framework but also allows these gray machines to operate without either the local or statewide referendums that were previously required for all casinos and OTB’s (Off Track Betting Parlors) in the Commonwealth.
- Revenue Loss: The horse racing industry is a vital contributor to Virginia’s economy. The infiltration of gray machines threatens to divert potential revenue away from legitimate racing operations and the HHR machines that help fund the races in Virginia. Unlike other forms of gaming in the Commonwealth the “Skill-Games” are currently not obligated to pay any taxes and do not support any of the programs mandated with other gaming in the state (Gambling Addiction and Retired Racehorses programs). This could lead to money being taken away from everyone involved in the industry from Veterinarians, Truck Drivers, Racetrack Personal, and beyond.
- Potential for Criminal Activities: Unregulated gambling environments often attract criminal elements. The unchecked growth of gray machines could open the door to money laundering, fraud, and other illicit activities that can further harm the overall safety of the locations these machines would be installed in all across the Commonwealth. Furthermore, these machines lack of accountability allows children much younger than the required 21 years of age to play to have the opportunity to participate in their local gas stations. This could lead to an explosion in underage gambling in the Commonwealth.
Here are couple of Articles from local outlets that have come out recently discussing the dangers of these games.
As stakeholders in the Virginia horse racing community, it is imperative that we join forces to address this issue promptly. Here’s how you can help:
- Complete the form at the bottom of this email to Contact your Legislator!
- Spread Awareness: Share this information with fellow horse racing enthusiasts, industry professionals, and anyone else dedicated to protecting the “Sport of Kings” in the Commonwealth. Increased awareness is key to fostering a united front against the threat of gray machines.
- Advocate for Regulation: Support efforts to regulate and monitor gambling activities, urging policymakers to take decisive action to address the proliferation of gray machines.
Let us work together to safeguard the future of Horse racing in Virginia. By addressing the risks posed by gray machines, we can ensure a fair, transparent, and thriving environment for all involved. Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.
Please contact your legislator here.