Last month, the Virginia Supreme Court reinstated a statewide ban on games of skill. The Commonwealth’s Attorneys were left with discretion to decide whether or not to enforce it immediately, as recommended by Virginia Attorney General Jason Mijares.
For Finnigan’s Cove in Harrisonburg, skill games have been a welcome addition during the pandemic when business was slow. “It’s still helpful if you know the economy is bad, food is high, but it’s still very helpful,” said Donna Finnigan, owner of Finnigan’s Cove.
The games at Finnigan’s Cove require players to pay customers and buy food or drinks to play. “It draws them in, they come in to play, eat and drink and stay a while,” Finnigan said. With the ban, however, Finnigan has already noticed a difference in customers coming into her establishment.
“There’s definitely a difference in income for sure,” she said. “We only have two games now that we can no longer play, but even just having those two games makes a big difference.” She also pointed out that some of the people who came to play and buy food and drinks were regular customers who are no longer coming in due to the ban on skill games.
Finnigan understands why the ban was introduced but wishes there was more support for small businesses like hers. “It definitely needs to be regulated,” she said. “I think it’s a problem and that’s probably why we’re where we are.” She also believes that per square foot limits should be put on these mini-casinos rather than having them scattered all over town.
In addition to skill games, Finnigan’s Cove has other slot machines such as Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter. However, she noted that these machines don’t draw as many customers compared to the skill games which are more interactive and engaging for players.
Overall, Finnigan believes that while there may be concerns about gambling addiction or fraud associated with skill games