The Supreme Court of Virginia recently reinstated a state-wide ban on skill games, with Attorney General Jason Miyares recommending no enforcement until November 15th. Small businesses like Finnigan’s Cove in Harrisonburg, which brought in skill games during the pandemic to increase revenue, are already feeling the impact.
Donna Finnigan, owner of Finnigan’s Cove, said that gamers must be paying customers and purchase food or drinks to play the skill games. “It draws them in,” she said. “They come in to play and they do eat and drink and they stay for a while.” With the ban in place, Finnigan has already noticed a decrease in customers. “It’s a difference in income that’s for sure,” she said. “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.”
Finnigan understands why the ban was put in place but wishes there was more support for small businesses like hers. She believes that regulation is necessary but also feels that there should be limitations on how many machines can be placed in an establishment. “Plus per square footage, they ought to tell you you can only have so many instead of having little mini casinos everywhere,” she said.
Finnigan’s Cove also has other gaming machines such as Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter but they don’t bring as many customers as the skill games do. She believes that if the state wants to help small businesses then they should allow them to have these machines rather than gambling ones from the lottery being allowed into establishments without any restrictions or regulations put in place beforehand.