Small business reacts to ban on skill games in Virginia

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Last month, the Supreme Court of Virginia reinstated a state-wide ban on skill games.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares recommended no enforcement of the skill games begin until Nov 15, with discretion left up to the Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

For Finnigan’s Cove in Harrisonburg, the skill games were something they brought in during the pandemic when business was slow.

“It’s still helpful you know the economy is bad, the food is high it’s just still very helpful,” Donna Finnigan, owner of Finnigan’s Cove said.

At Finnigan’s Cove, gamers must be paying customers, and purchase food or drinks to play the skill games.

“It draws them in, they come in to play and they do eat and drink and they stay for a while,” Finnigan said.

With the ban in place, Finnigan said she’s already seeing a difference in customers.

“It’s a difference in income that’s for sure, we only have two games but it’s still a huge difference in income and I’ve noticed some of the people that came in to play and bought food and drinks, we haven’t seen them,” she said.

Finnigan said she understands why they put the ban in place, but wishes there was more support for small businesses.

“It definitely needs to be regulated, I think that’s a problem and that’s probably why we’re where we’re at,” she said. “Plus per square footage, they ought to tell you you can only have so many instead of having little mini casinos everywhere.”

Finnigan’s Cove does have other gaming machines including Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter, but she said they don’t bring in as many customers.

“I just think if they’re saying they want to help small business, that’s what they should do,” Finnigan said. “I mean you cant have people from the lottery coming in and saying ‘oh you can put our machines in’ well that’s gambling too, make a decision, you want it in an establishment or you don’t.”

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