Gov. Youngkin Vetoes Skill Games Bill, But Door To Legalizing Them Remains Open

Written By Phil West on May 21, 2024
A door cracked open signifies Gov. Youngkin vetoing skill game bill, but door is still cracked on possible passage

As expected, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed a pile of bills stacked on his desk just hours before last Friday’s midnight deadline. This included Senate Bill 212, which would have legalized skill games in the commonwealth.

Though Youngkin delivered a bill that the General Assembly approved in March, he wrote in several amendments that lawmakers immediately rejected. They included prohibiting skill games from being within 35 miles of a casino or a racetrack and restricting their proximity to schools, daycares, and places of worship.

Left with the choice to accept or reject the bill he initially amended, Youngkin rejected it.

Youngkin’s Skill Game Veto May Not Be The End of the Road

In its Monday coverage of the story, the Virginia Mercury reported,

“Its failure could mean the machines remain banned for at least another year, unless General Assembly leaders agree to call lawmakers back to Richmond in a few weeks or months for what would be an unusual summertime session on a gambling issue.”

Proponents of SB212 hoped that Youngkin would approve it, which would have made the machines legal to operate as of July 1. Youngkin did indicate last week that he’s willing to work with the General Assembly on a bill that satisfies the concerns of multiple stakeholders, including those affiliated with casinos and racetracks throughout the state.

For now, skill game machines will continue to sit dormant in convenience stores and other locations where Virginia business owners used them to bring in revenue and, in some cases, to keep those establishments afloat.

There is no telling if small business owners will continue to protest the Governor’s decision.

SB 212 Sponsor Not Opposed To Summer Session For Skill Game Bill

Sen. Aaron Rouse, one of the bill’s sponsors, has voiced his willingness to bring the General Assembly back for the summer.

The Mercury noted, “Youngkin has now vetoed a total of 201 bills from the 2024 legislative session, a record-setting number for a modern governor that reflects Virginia’s divided government and the dueling priorities of the state’s Democratic legislature and Republican governor. Nearly 850 bills won final approval.”

Bills vetoed Friday included a right-to-contraception bill that was, like the skill games bill, amended by Youngkin in a manner not to the General Assembly’s liking.

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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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