FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2023
Virginia Supreme Court Reinstitutes Ban on Skill Games
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly enacted laws declaring so called “skill games” to be illegal gambling devices. These laws, which were amended by the General Assembly in 2022, made possessing, operating, or playing Skill Games a criminal offense and provided both civil and criminal penalties for persons operating such devices. During this time, a lawsuit was filed in Emporia Circuit Court challenging the Skill Games ban. That court entered an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ban until a trial could be held. Because of this injunction, many jurisdictions allowed the possession and use of these illegal gambling devices. Charlottesville was one of those jurisdictions. On October 13, 2023, the Virginia Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s decision and lifted the injunction that prevented enforcement of the relevant code sections.
In light of the Supreme Court’s October 13, 2023 ruling, enforcement of relevant provisions of law related to “skill games” will begin in the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle on January 1, 2024. Civil penalties include but are not limited to seizure of the gambling device and a fine of $25,000. Criminal penalties include but are not limited to confinement in jail for up to twelve months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the goal of the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney’s Offices. We hope and trust that local business owners will comply with the law now that clarity has been provided. Please do not hesitate to contact the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office at 434-970-3176 or the Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office at 434-972-4072 should you have any questions about the contents or effect of this release.
City of Charlottesville