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Law enforcement officials to crack down on ‘skill games’

LANCASTER—Lancaster County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Spencer, in cooperation with the chiefs of police for Kilmarnock and White Stone, the sheriff of Lancaster County and the Lancaster County attorney, recently announced that beginning January 1, the state’s prohibition of “skill games” will be strictly enforced countywide.

The decision and announcement came following recent court action. On October 13, the Virginia Supreme Court vacated an injunction against enforcement of the Commonwealth’s laws prohibiting so-called “skill games.”

A joint statement from the local law enforcement community has been served on all area businesses with skill games, said Spencer.

Skill games are defined by the Code of Virginia “as 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, activate, or play a game, the outcome of which is determined by any element of skill of the player and that may deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the device to receive cash or cash equivalents, gift cards, vouchers, billets, tickets, tokens, or electronic credits to be exchanged for cash; or cash equivalents whether the payoff is made automatically from the device or manually.”

Among civil penalties, any person operating a “skill game” device 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.

• Seizure of the gambling devices.

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

Among criminal penalties, illegally possessing a gambling device used in the advancement of unlawful gambling activity, a Class 1 misdemeanor, may result in confinement in jail for up to 12 months or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Operating an illegal gambling enterprise, activity or operation, a Class 6 felony, may result in a jail or prison sentence of up to five years or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Playing “skill games” could result in criminal charges of illegal gambling, a Class 3 misdemeanor, may result in a fine of up to $500.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staffhttp://www.rrecord.com
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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