In the southern American state of Virginia and a local judge has reportedly issued a temporary injunction to prevent law enforcement officials from shutting down the retail operation of popular slot-like electronic gaming machines.
According to a report from the Associated Press news service, these ostensibly skill-based units have proliferated across the jurisdiction’s many bars, gas stations and restaurants since the turn of the century but were outlawed by the Virginia General Assembly via contentious legislation passed in 2020. The source detailed that this proscription came despite the considerable efforts of machine manufacturers and at the same time as ‘The Old Dominion State’ was clearing the way for other types of legalized gambling including online sportsbetting and a collection of up to five Las Vegas-style casino resorts.
The news service reported that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam later asked local legislators to delay the enactment of this ban for one year so that the state could use tax revenues from the machines to help fund a range of coronavirus relief efforts. This temporary reprieve nevertheless expired in July and purportedly prompted businessman Hermie Sadler (pictured) to file a lawsuit seeking the complete retraction of the incoming prohibition on grounds that it was unconstitutional.
A former NASCAR driver, Sadler is the man behind a chain of gas stations and truck stops and is reportedly also set to argue that the ban on the popular gaming machines, which look and play much like retail slots, has adversely impacted small businesses. The legal action from the 52-year-old entrepreneur purportedly names Northam in addition to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority as defendants and will furthermore question the ability of the state to properly regulate gaming owing to confusion as to the precise definition of a ‘skill game’.
In the meantime, Sadler reportedly filed a motion asking that Virginia permit businesses to continue running their electronic gaming machines until his lawsuit gets underway in May. In a controversial decision and Greensville Circuit Court Judge Louis Lerne has now purportedly consented to this request despite objections from Northam and Herring to give such enterprises at least a five-month reprieve.
The Associated Press reported that the injunction request was heard by the Greensville Circuit Court despite an unsuccessful effort on behalf of Herring to get the whole matter moved to Richmond. For his part and Sadler disclosed that he now intends to visit his many retail locations in the company of Virginia State Senator Bill Stanley, who is additionally working for the plaintiff in this matter, so as to turn machines back on.
Sadler reportedly told the news service…
“All we’ve ever wanted was to be treated fairly and tonight’s ruling gives us a feeling that we’re going to get that.”