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Virginia Says You Can Gamble On This, But Not That

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Jason Russell | 6.30.2021 12:45 PM

Come Thursday, Virginians will be able to bet on sports from their phones, but not on electronic skill games at gas stations.

Once casinos open within a few years' time, people will be able to play video slots at the casino but not at the truck stop in the next town over.

Meanwhile, a "family entertainment center" can put the same games out and offer tickets that can be redeemed for prizes at ridiculous markups, but the bar next door can't put the same game out unless it rebrands itself as a family venue.

Of course, Virginians will still be able to gamble on a state-run scratch-off or lottery ticket bought at a convenience store.

If that sounds like a confusing standard, that's because it is. Even some Virginia legislators can't figure out what's legal and what isn't.

"If you read the bill, it is so vague and ambiguous to the point where I can't tell who's legal or not legal," State Sen. Bill Stanley (R–Franklin County), told Reason. "The law is so poorly written that its enforceability is suspect at best."

For decades, electronic skill games—any electronic gambling game that does not rely sheerly on chance—have been unregulated in Virginia. For the past year, they were regulated and taxed as part of a one-year deal "that allowed the state to collect more than $100 million in new taxes on the machines while protecting income for small........

© Reason.com

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