ROANOKE, Va – (WFXR News) – Representatives from Virginia Lottery rose concerns about “Gray Machines”, or slot-style gaming, during a presentation to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees Monday.
The presentation examined things like the growth of “Gray Machines” in lottery-licensed locations and how they hurt the lottery sales. Fewer people playing the lottery means less money will go to Virginia schools.
Bal Dahal works at a convenience store in Vinton that offers both the lottery and “Gray Machines”. He says he hasn’t seen a drop in lottery sales, but lottery officials say other stores have. They point out that the Virginia Lottery has a 30-year reputation for integrity and responsible gambling.
“They had a monopoly on that for a long time and now they are having a run for their money,” said John Hobson.
Hobson says the “Gray Machines are alright with him. He plays them 2 to 3 times a week and says he trust them more than the lottery.
“I know where my money is going, it’s going in the machine. When you play the lottery, why are these schools still complaining they ain’t got enough money for the education?” Hobson said.
There is a breakdown of where money from the lottery goes in the Virginia Lottery’s presentation.
Queen of Virginia Skill and Entertainment makes what they call “Games of Skill.” When asked about the Lottery’s presentation, a spokesperson gave the following response.
“We share the Virginia Lottery’s concerns regarding the proliferation of gambling machines masquerading as games of skill across the Commonwealth. Queen of Virginia Skill and Entertainment are working with the legislature to regulate the skill game industry. There must be rules put in place that ensure that businesses are compliant and are not operating what in essence are mini-casinos. Unlike some of our competitors, we have a true game of skill, pay taxes, do not place our devices in mini-casino environments and have contributed over $700,000 to local charities across Virginia.”Joel Rubin
According to the presentation, historic horse racing, like Rosie’s in Vinton, have had a minimal impact on overall lottery sales. Possibly because they appeal to a different type of consumers wanting a different type of experience.