Virginia Senate Republican Caucus

Obenshain and Reynolds' "Sweepstakes Store" Bill Passes

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Wed, 2011-02-23 19:00 -- ajohnston
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SB 1195 Goes to the Governor for Signature

RICHMOND--Today, large bipartisan majorities in the General Assembly passed legislation (SB 1195) offered by Senators Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and Roscoe Reynolds (D-Martinsville), designed to crack down on gambling operators who have attempted to exploit a perceived loophole in Virginia's gambling laws.

The bill, on which Senators Obenshain and Reynolds served as chief co-patrons after Reynolds' SB 1164 was incorporated into SB 1195, has passed both chambers, and with today's Senate action on House amendments, goes to the Governor for his signature.

"With the passage of this legislation, Commonwealth's Attorneys will be able to crack down on so-called 'sweepstakes stores' offering casino-style gambling across Virginia," said Obenshain. "These 'sweepstakes stores' try to get around our laws by bundling an insignificant product with their games. People are spending a small fortune on a few minutes of internet access or a cheap phone card so that they can play slots or video poker. It's a clear end-run on our gambling laws, and this will help put an end to it," he added.

The companion bill in the House of Delegates, HB 1584, has passed both chambers as well, with the House approving the Senate's amendments, which conformed the bills, yesterday. The House bill was patroned by Delegate Glenn Oder (R-Newport News) and incorporates legislation introduced by Delegate Clay Athey (R-Front Royal).

"This bill has undergone a number of changes since it was introduced," said Reynolds, "but the constant has been a desire to shut down these casinos without impeding legitimate businesses. We have succeeded, and I look forward to having the Governor sign SB 1195 into law."

"This has been a group effort every step of the way," Reynolds added. "Republicans and Democrats, members of the Senate and the House - we all came together to find a way to address the issue." The bill passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support, clearing the Senate 36-2 (with two abstentions) before passing in the block (98-0) in the House of Delegates. "When it comes to upholding Virginia's gambling laws, we stand together," said Obenshain.

Senate Bill 1195 and House Bill 1584 now head to Governor McDonnell for his signature.

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate.  The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock, and Rockingham (part).

Senator Reynolds represents the twentieth district in the Virginia Senate. The district includes the Cities of Galax and Martinsville and the counties of Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Henry, Patrick, and Wythe (part).

ON THE WEB:

Senate Bill 1195: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?111+sum+SB1195