NORFOLK, Va. - A ban on skilled gaming machines in Virginia is scheduled to take effect on July 1, shutting down an industry that has popped up in the last few years at many restaurants, convenience stores and other businesses.
"The money we've made off of these has paid my rent, has paid my electric," said Tommy Posilero, the owner of Mona Lisa's restaurant in Norfolk, who has joined with other local businesses in suing to prevent the ban from taking effect. Similar efforts are going on throughout the state.
Mona Lisa's has four of the machines.
"It's really going to hurt us if we lose these gaming machines," said Posilero. "I'm kind of scared."
Businesses pay taxes on the machines, but state lawmakers have cited reasons like negative impacts to the Virginia Lottery has reasons for banning them.
"They help us, we help them. That's why I look at it. Everything is legal," said Posilero.
Queen of Virginia, the owner of thousands of the machines in Virginia, says they will begin to collect them and move them to areas where the machines are legal.
Business owners are hoping for a stroke of luck, but as of now, the ban goes into effect on Thursday.
"This place is built off of mom-and-pop places," said Posilero. "If we lose these machines, we're going to lose a lot of family-owned restaurants."