RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WTKR) — A Virginia judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of a law that banned electronic betting machines that had proliferated in gas stations, bars and other locations around the state.
The injunction puts the so-called skill game ban on hold until a trial set for May. That's according to Bill Stanley, a GOP state senator and attorney representing former NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler.
Sadler's truck stop and gas station company brought the lawsuit.
The suit was filed against Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. News 3 asked Northam if he had a response on Tuesday. "No, I haven't been in the middle of that," he responded. "It's going to be up to the courts and future legislators about whether games of skill will be used in Virginia."
Local businesses have turned the games back on following the ruling. Tommy Posilero, the owner of Mona Lisa Restauant & Bar in Norfolk, described the ruling as a "miracle. It's about time, you know. Small businesses need this help."
The machines began popping up in Virginia a few years ago, mostly at convenience stores and restaurants. Restaurant owners say they were bringing in thousands of dollars a week for them, in some cases. Lawmakers voted to ban them in 2020, which took effect in July 2021.
Several lawsuits have been filed regarding the ban, including the Sadler case.
"With everything going on with COVID, this is going to get our businesses back where they need to be," said Posilero.