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HB 881 Illegal gambling; definitions, skill games.

Introduced by: David L. Bulova | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles


Illegal gambling; skill games; exception. Includes the playing or offering for play of any skill game in the definition of "illegal gambling." The bill also includes skill games within the definition of "gambling devices." The bill defines a "skill game" as an electronic, computerized, or mechanical contrivance, terminal, machine, or other device that requires the insertion of a coin, currency, ticket, token, or similar object to operate, activate, or play a game, the outcome of which is determined by any element of skill of the player and that may deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the device to receive cash; cash equivalents, gift cards, vouchers, billets, tickets, tokens, or electronic credits to be exchanged for cash; merchandise; or anything of value whether the payoff is made automatically from the device or manually. The bill exempts family entertainment centers from the prohibition against the playing or offering of any skill game, provided the prize won or distributed to a player by the skill games offered by such centers is a noncash, merchandise prize or a voucher, billet, ticket, token, or electronic credit redeemable only for a noncash, merchandise prize that also meets certain other requirements.

The provisions related to the prohibition of skill games have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021. The bill provides for a one-year phase-out of currently existing skill games. Each distributor, defined as a person who distributes skill games to Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) licensees and truck stops, would pay a monthly tax of $1,200 for each skill game provided for play during the previous month. Revenues would accrue two percent to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, two percent to the ABC for administering the bill's provisions, 12 percent to localities in which the skill games are located, and 84 percent to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, created by the bill. The COVID-19 Relief Fund would be used by the Governor solely for the purposes of responding to the Commonwealth's needs related to the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 pandemic.

Distributors would be required to report monthly to the ABC the number of skill games provided for play. Distributors would be prohibited from increasing the number of machines above the number provided for play as of July 1, 2020 and would be prohibited from operating new skill games. Distributors would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for violations the provisions of the bill.

The remaining provisions of the bill, which prohibit skill games, would become effective on July 1, 2021. This bill is identical to SB 971.