A proposed addition to the Video Gaming Act (VGA) aims to broaden municipal and county authority to regulate the number of video gaming terminals and location of terminals in its boundaries.

Currently under the VGA, municipalities and counties may either prohibit video gaming entirely or generally must allow video gaming at any location eligible to have a state license. The inability to regulate the number of terminals and location of terminals within the municipality or county has been a criticism of the VGA since it was enacted in 2009.

While the broader authority to regulate video gaming by local governments is seemingly a change for the better, some concerns and new questions arise under the language of the new section. First, any establishment that already has a state video gaming license could challenge the local government’s decision to not renew the local video gaming license if the sole basis is the overall reduction of municipal licenses issued.

Also, it is unclear to what extent a local government may “place restrictions on the locations of the video gaming terminals.” The proposed language states that location restrictions may include but not be limited to “the distance in feet between sets of terminals.” Whether location restrictions may allow a municipality to not allow video gaming in certain establishments, such as to allow video gaming in bars but not to allow it in restaurants or truck stops, or whether video gaming may be subject to zoning restrictions, or whether a minimum distance between establishments offering video gaming can be established, are questions not specifically addressed by the proposed language.

We will continue to track HB0259 as it makes its way through the legislative process.

Brad Stewart

Author: Brad Stewart