State Supreme Court Ruling Makes Virginia Skill Games Illegal Once More

Last updated on: October 15, 2023, 01:29h.

The Virginia Supreme Court has made skill games illegal in the state once again, overturning a previous decision by a lower circuit court. This ruling has significant implications for sports betting enthusiasts who enjoy these gaming machines.

Virginia Supreme Court skill games lawsuit
A man plays a “Queen of Virginia” skill game at a convenience store. Virginia skill games are once again illegal after the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed an injunction on the controversial machines issued by a lower circuit court. (Image: 8News)

These skill games, commonly known as “Queen of Virginia” games, were temporarily allowed during the pandemic to help businesses offset their losses. However, this allowance expired on June 30, 2021, leading to a lawsuit against the state filed by Sadler Brothers Oil, a company operating these games at its gas/diesel stations.

In the lawsuit, Sadler Brothers argued that the state’s back-and-forth legalization and prohibition of the machines infringed upon their First Amendment rights. The case received temporary relief when Greensville County Judge Louis Lerner issued an injunction preventing law enforcement from seizing skill games.

However, the Virginia Supreme Court has dismissed this injunction, deeming it an “abuse of discretion.” As a result, skill games are now prohibited throughout the state, and law enforcement has the authority to seize any machines still in operation.

Pace-O-Matic, the leading manufacturer of these skill gaming machines, is evaluating the Virginia Supreme Court ruling and its impact on the industry.

The court also clarified that while these games may contain expressive elements, they are not protected speech and can be subjected to law enforcement seizures. The main focus of the ruling is on the prohibition of gambling and the wagering aspect of these games.


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