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Virginia ABC > Licenses > Retail Resources > Skill Games

Skill Games

Registration Information

In accordance with Executive Directive Eleven (11) issued on May 18, 2020, each operator or distributor shall register all skill games with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. Updates on this regulation can be found on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website.

Required Documents

Please send all reports and correspondence to abcskillgames@abc.virginia.gov.

Due July 7, 2020

Skill Games Registration Statement Form (XLSX)

Skill Games Bond Form (PDF)

Due the 20th of each month

Skill Games Monthly Report (XLSX)

Skill Games FAQs

Where do I submit my Skill Game Registration Statement Form and Skill Game Monthly Report?
Please email both items to abcskillgames@abc.virginia.gov.

What is a “skill game”?
HB 881 defines a skill game as an electronic, computerized, or mechanical contrivance, terminal, machine, or other device that requires the insertion of a coin, currency, ticket, token, or similar object to operate, activate, or play a game, the outcome of which is determined by any element of skill of the player and that may deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the device to receive cash; cash equivalents, gift cards, vouchers, billets, tickets, tokens, or electronic credits to be exchanged for cash; merchandise; or anything of value whether the payoff is made automatically from the device or manually. The bill exempts family entertainment centers from the prohibition against the playing or offering of any skill game, provided the prize won or distributed to a player by the skill games offered by such centers is a noncash, merchandise prize or a voucher, billet, ticket, token, or electronic credit redeemable only for a noncash, merchandise prize that also meets certain other requirements.

Are “skill games” considered illegal gambling? 
No, illegal gambling means the making, placing, or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other consideration or thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake, or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest, or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest, or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth.

Why is Virginia allowing “skill games”?   
In the state treasury a special non-reverting fund to be known as the COVID-19 Relief Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All funds appropriated to the Fund and any gifts, donations, grants, bequests, and other funds received on its behalf shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used by the Governor solely for the purposes of responding to the Commonwealth's needs related to the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Governor or his designee.

What is the difference in coin-operated amusement games and skill games?
Coin-operated amusement games" means games that do not deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the game to receive cash; cash equivalents, gift cards, vouchers, billets, tickets, tokens, or electronic credits to be exchanged for cash; or merchandise or anything of value. Skill games on the other hand do have a payoff of something in value.

What businesses are authorized to have skill games?
3 VAC 5-80-40. The provisions of this Chapter shall only apply to ABC retail licensees in good standing that possess a valid Authority retail license issued by the Board pursuant to Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia and the regulations applicable to any such retail license and truck stops meeting the definition in 3VAC 5-80-20.

How many skill games can I have at my business?  
No distributor or operator shall locate more than eight (8) skill game machines at any ABC retail licensed establishment or more than twenty-four (24) skill game machines at any truck stop

How do I register my skill games in Virginia?
By July 7, 2020, to officially register the devices, a Registration Statement Form must be filed listing all the locations and number of machines distributed throughout the Commonwealth. This must indicate the number of machines in all Active ABC Licensed establishments or truck stops as of June 30, 2020. Finally, proof of the posted bond is required before issuing required skill game labels.   

What if my device allows for multiple players? 
Is that considered one game? No, each terminal of a skill game machine where a player may play a game shall constitute a game made available for play, regardless of whether it is a standalone terminal or a terminal that is part of a skill game machine that has multiple terminals. If your device allows for 6 terminals or players then that would count as 6 skill games and taxed accordingly.  

How much will I be taxed to have skilled games?
All skill games initially registered by a distributor pursuant to 3VAC 5-80-50 shall be subject to the taxation requirements of the second enactment of Chapter 1217 and 1277 of the 2020 Virginia Acts of Assembly, i.e. $1,200 for each skill game located in the Commonwealth during the previous month by a distributor, which tax shall be remitted to the Department of Taxation no later than August 20, 2020.

Note: All initial games registered by July 07, 2020 will have due a tax of $1,200 per machine on August 20, 2020. 

Is it possible to move gaming devices from one location to another?
3VAC 5-80-80. Skill game machines may be relocated from one qualified location to another qualified location or warehoused and subsequently placed in a qualified location, provided however, from July 1, 2020 through September 1, 2020, a distributor may not relocate skill game machines in excess of 20% of the total number of skill games initially registered and available for play on June 30, 2020. Additionally, from September 2, 2020 through July 1, 2021 a distributor may not relocate skill game machines in excess of 20% of the total number of skill games initially registered and available for play on June 30, 2020 by any distributor. 

Can a store owner or location owner register as a distributor?
Yes, if you have purchased the skill game from a manufacture and are responsible for onsite data collection and accounting you can register as a distributor.

Will I still be able to use skill games that are not registered after July 7, 2020?
No, 3VAC 5-80-50, each operator or distributor shall file a registration statement with the Authority, Bureau of Law Enforcement.  After this date any device not registered shall be considered an illegal gambling device  

When do I have to pay the tax on each skill game? 
All skill games initially registered by a distributor pursuant to 3VAC 5-80-50 shall be subject to the taxation requirements of the second enactment of Chapter 1217 and 1277 of the 2020 Virginia Acts of Assembly, i.e., $1,200 for each skill game located in the Commonwealth during the previous month by a distributor, which tax shall be remitted to the Department of Taxation no later than August 20, 2020. Note: All initial games registered by July 07, 2020 will have due a tax of $1,200 per machine on August 20, 2020.

When do distributors turn in the skill game monthly reports? 
3VAC 5-80-50. Each distributor shall, no later than the 20th of the succeeding month file with the Authority, Bureau of Law Enforcement on such form prescribed by the Authority the following requisite information.

Do all skill games need to have a label or sticker? 
Yes, 3VAC 5-80-60. No later than July 20, 2020 the distributor of each skill game placed in an ABC retail licensed establishment or truck stop which they have registered pursuant to 3VAC 5-80-50 shall cause to be adhered to each skill game a label as prescribed by the Authority, Bureau of Law Enforcement. The Authority shall provide the required labels.  All labels shall be adhered on the side of all skill games in a conspicuous and visible location to the Authority, its law enforcement agents, and players of the game. Any skill game without the requisite label adhered to the skill game machine by July 20, 2020, shall be in violation of this chapter. Each distributor shall provide a monthly report on July 20, 2020 certifying the location of each label and machine.

If I have a multi-player game and dismantle the ability for it to function in this way or lower the number of players.  For example removing the money dispenser.  How will I be taxed? 
The $1,200-dollar tax will be required for each terminal that provides a game for play.  If that terminal is dismantled then payment should only be for the number of terminals that allow for playing the game. For example, you have a 6 person table top game. You remove or dismantle the ability of two of the terminals or payment ability. This leaves 4 remaining functioning terminals, so the tax will be 4x$1,200 that is owed each month.   

Do all skill games that are registered by July 07, 2020 have to have been available for play in an active Virginia ABC Retail licensed establishment or truck stop on June 30, 2020?
Yes, all skill games that are registered have to have been available for play in an active Virginia ABC Retail Licensed establishment or truck stop on June 30, 2020.

How old must a person be to play skill games? 
No person under the age of eighteen (18) shall be eligible to play any skill game.  

If a skill game is only in operation for part of a month, will I still be required to pay the monthly tax of $1,200?
Yes, if the game is in operation for any part of any day within a month you will be required to pay the $1,200 tax.

 
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