Lynchburg to enforce ban on skill games starting Jan. 1


LYNCHBURG, Va. – Skill games in the Hill City will soon be a thing of the past, with city officials set to reinforce the ban on such devices at the start of 2024.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, Lynchburg residents could face criminal penalties for offering or playing gambling devices in city limits. Skill games are similar to slot machines and players are able to win cash prizes if they push the correct button.

For several years now, the question of whether or not to keep skill games in the Commonwealth has been wrought with controversy.

In fact, some businesses across Virginia, fought hard to prevent a statewide ban on the slot-machine kiosks, with many claiming that it could have a negative impact on revenue.

But in 2020, the Virginia General Assembly set laws in place that declared “skill games” to be illegal gambling devices. Although the laws went into effect in 2021, a lawsuit was filed in Emporia Circuit Court that challenged the ban.

Ultimately, the lower court’s decision led to an injunction that prohibited the enforcement of the ban in December 2021. However, on Oct. 14, 2023, the Virginia Supreme Court lifted the injunction preventing enforcement of the relevant code sections.

A civil citation on the place offering the game could add up to $25,000.

Depending on which city code a person is charged under, it could result in misdemeanors, felonies or fines up to $2,500.

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.