Next week, a ban on electronic skill games will take effect in Virginia. However, Hermie Sadler plans on fighting the change. The truck stop owner and former driver in NASCAR has filed a lawsuit in the state, claiming the law would strip him of a major revenue source, in an unconstitutional manner.
Sadler has the backing of Senator Bill Stanley, who filed the lawsuit for him in Greensville County Circuit Court. The truck stop owner has eleven retail stores that offer the electronic games. In the suit, Governor Ralph Northam, the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, and Attorney General Mark Herring are named as defendants.
However, the lawsuit mainly targets the leaders within the General Assembly. They are the ones who pushed for the electronic game ban in 2020. They agreed to a deal with the governor to postpone the ban by one year in order to allow the state to tax the games and help small businesses that rely on the machines for revenues.
Senator Stanley said in a news conference that the General Assembly has chosen to pick on small businesses because they think that skill games are unseemly, and they are not. The games are actually what has held small businesses together during the pandemic.
In 2020, the General Assembly voted to ban all skill games instead of regulate the option and tax them. At the time of the ban, the General Assembly also decided to legalize gambling in five locations as well as mobile sports betting, lottery online sales and relaxed the rules for charities to offer gaming.
To Sadler, it appears as though the small business operators are being unfairly targeted. He says the lawmakers are doing away with the skill games to make room for the casinos that will be opened in a few years. He feels that is not fair to the small businesses who have offered these games and thrived from it.
It has been estimated that Sadler’s businesses would lose over $750,000 in annual net revenues from 41 skill games. Within the past year, that income has helped the company to cover the losses due to its normal operations amidst the pandemic.