A series of legal confrontations on skill-based and charity gaming have led to the regulatory regime currently in place in Virginia to become unclear with 2022 seeing more potential court cases on the horizon
This recent regulatory upheaval was noted even by figures as prominent as Virgina Senator Bill Stanley. In personal correspondence with GamblingNews, Stanley argued that the recent rulings on electronic skill gaming and charitable gaming have only created a more significant legal grey area that is harder to police. Rather than the courts finding in favour of the state, the deregulation of these forms of gambling have only reduced any potential state oversight with this spelling further legal conflict down the line moving into 2022. Quoting the interview by GamblingNews, Stanley stated that “These court rulings demonstrate a need for the legislature to fix the problems that it alone created.”
The ongoing situation began when state legislators temporarily legalized “skills games” before quickly backtracking and banning them. The aforementioned ban was challenged in court with a rural Virginia Judge ruling in favour of the plaintiff on the grounds that the ban was a violation of First Amendment rights. Following this outcome, Attorney General Mark Herring will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Virginia’s Deputy Solicitor General, A. Anne Lloyd, pushed to review the decision and wrote that the state was grateful for the regulatory scheme that was used on the gaming machines which generated over $130 million in annual revenue for the state. This being said, she asserted that the injunction blocking the law legalized the machines without addressing the current status of the regulation system. The regulatory authority of Virginia’s Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, which collected taxes and monitored the use of the devices, had its authority as a regulatory dissolved during the span of the ban. Lloyd argued that this decision makes it legal for children of all ages in the state of Virginia to gamble on skill-based video games.
The dispute surrounding charity gambling began when Cheers, a charitable gaming organization, initiated a court case against the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This was following the amending of the regulatory scheme to allow Texas Hold’em poker tournaments to be held to raise funds for charity. While this decriminalized the act, it did not allow the agency to oversee the proceedings. Cheers’ case was on the grounds that the Department had failed to respond to permit requests with the firm winning the case. While the case may not be groundbreaking, Senator Chap Parkersen stated that it just illustrated that charity games had the same issue as skilled based gaming, the fact that they were technically legal without falling under the oversight of a national agency. As more events and games pop up, we may see more legal activity until this legal lacuna is closed.
Story sourced from GamblingNews
SiGMA Asia 2022
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