In recent news, the Supreme Court of Virginia has reinstated a state-wide ban on skill games. While Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares recommended no enforcement of the ban until November 15th, discretion was left up to the Commonwealth’s Attorneys.
For Finnigan’s Cove in Harrisonburg, the skill games were a welcome addition during the pandemic when business was slow. Owner Donna Finnigan stated that while it was still helpful for the economy, it was particularly beneficial because food and drinks were expensive.
At Finnigan’s Cove, gamers are required to be paying customers and purchase food or drinks to play the skill games. According to Finnigan, this attracts customers and encourages them to stay for a while. With the ban in place, however, Finnigan has already noticed a significant difference in customers.
“It’s definitely made a difference in income,” she said. “We only have two games but even with that small number, we’ve seen a huge difference.” She also noted that some of the people who came in to play and buy food and drinks had not been seen again since the ban was put into effect.
Finnigan understands why there is a need for regulation but wishes there was more support for small businesses like hers. “It definitely needs to be regulated,” she said. “But I think they could do more for small businesses like ours.” Additionally, she believes that limits should be placed on how many machines can be installed in each establishment rather than allowing mini casinos everywhere.
Finnigan’s Cove offers other gaming machines as well, including Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter, but they don’t bring in as many customers as skill games do. Nevertheless, she hopes that lawmakers will consider other options for supporting small businesses during these challenging times.