Why buying a lottery ticket may be harder in Virginia today

Posted at 12:09 PM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-15 13:06:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Getting a lottery ticket in Virginia might be harder to do as hundreds of convenience stores in the Commonwealth protest the Governor's proposed skill game amendments.

Monday the Virginia Merchants and Amusement Coalition or VA MAC announced the protests saying they urge, "Governor Youngkin and members of the General Assembly to reverse the Governor’s amendments and keep the original version of SB 212, the skill game regulation bill, in place."

The amended bill,according to the group, would include a 45% tax rate for businesses that operate skill games and ban them within a half-mile of churches, daycares, and houses of worship. Skill games would also be banned within a 35-mile radius of gaming establishments.

The governor's office in response clarified the wording of the amended bill saying that the tax would be limited to 35%. They also sent CBS 6 a breakdown of how the gross profits would be split up:

  • 5% on gross profits goes to the Gaming Regulatory Fund
  • 5% on gross profits goes to the College Partnership Laboratory School Fund
  • The remaining 25% on gross profits is split as follows (to equal 100%): 
    • 15% to the Department of Taxation for distribution to the locality in which the host location operates
    • 2.5% to Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund
    • 75% to the Elementary and Secondary Education Fund
    • 2.5% to the Department of State Police
    • 5% to the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund

To protest the proposed changes VA MAC says that Monday, April 15, participating convenience stores across Virginia will stop the sale of Virginia Lottery tickets. The coalition says the protest will show, "the economic impact that the closing of convenience stores will have on the Virginia Lottery and the tax revenue they generate."
Krunel Patel, who owns a convenience store in Varina and took part in the protest, said the skill game machines served as a life-line when before going dark. If they remain that way, Patel said increased business costs and inflation will force him and other businesses to make difficult decisions.

"I’m going have to cut back on staff. If these machines are not back on, I don't know what I will do, but I'll have to survive somehow. So, it's gonna be tough, but we'll we'll have to fight," Patel said. "It’s going to hurt a lot of stores.”

And on Tuesday, April 16, participating convenience stores will also close from 3:50 p.m. till 4:50 p.m.

That the coalition says is a reference to the Governor's 35 mile radius ban and proposed tax rate.

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