Chesapeake Police Department will enforce “Skill Games” ban

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The Chesapeake Police Department (CPD) says it will enforce the Virginia “Skill Games” ban.

The Virginia General Assembly enacted laws declaring “Skill Games” to be illegal in 2020, but due to a lawsuit challenging the ban, the law was put on hold. On Oct. 13, 2023, the Virginia Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s decision and lifted the injunction preventing the enforcement of the relevant code sections.

Virginia Supreme Court revives state’s ban on ‘skill game’ machines

The CPD stated that due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, they will resume enforcement of the illegal gambling code sections related to “Skill Games” immediately.

Virginia Beach gives 30-day grace period before ‘skill game’ crackdown

According the Virginia Code §18.2-325(6), a “Skill Game” is 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 or play a game.

“Skill Games” include both a device that contains a meter or measurement device that records the number of free games or portions of free games that are rewarded and a device designed or adapted to enable a person using the device to increase the chances of winning free games or portions of games by paying more than the amount that is ordinarily required to play the game.

This does not include any amusement device.

Possible Punishment for Violation

Civil Penalties:
Any person operating a Skill Game or devices may be subject to a civil proceeding seeking:

  • A civil penalty in the amount of $25,000 per gambling device.

  • An immediate injunction prohibiting operation of the gambling devices.

  • A seizure of the gambling devices.

  • Costs associated with investigating and bringing the lawsuit, including attorney fees.

Criminal Penalties:

  • Criminal charges under Virginia Code §18.2-331 for illegally possessing gambling devices and operating the devices for the advancement of unlawful gambling activity.
    – The punishment for violating this statute is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which may result in confinement in jail for up to twelve months or a find up to $2,500 or both.

  • Criminal charges under Virginia Code §18.2-328 for being an operator of an illegal gambling enterprise, activity or operation.
    – The punishment for violating this statute is a Class 6 felony, which may result in a term of imprisonment for up to five years, or confinement in jail for up to twelve months or a fine up to $2,500 or both.

  • Playing these “Skill Games” could result in criminal charges of illegal gambling under Virginia Code §18.2-326.
    – The punishment for violating this statute is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which may result in a fine up to $500.

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