Gary Adams, Brooke Archambeau, Bob Conway

We are state leaders of three of Virginia’s largest and most charitable volunteer-led service organizations: the Virginia Moose Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of Virginia and Virginia Elks Association. Combined, Virginia has more than 210 local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, Moose lodges and Elks lodges where our more than 120,000 members gather. Our members and local posts and lodges are in every region of the commonwealth.

Though our missions differ, we are all dedicated to serving our members, their families and charitable organizations in Virginia communities. Each of our groups has contributed millions of dollars and dedicated hundreds of thousands of volunteer-hours over many years to help charitable efforts serving Virginians in need. Organizations such as ours have raised funds for charitable causes across the commonwealth including providing support to our veterans, volunteer fire departments, local law enforcement, youth sports leagues, booster clubs, cancer research, scholarship programs and church-affiliated groups.

Much of our charitable work has been funded using Virginia’s legal and state-authorized charitable gaming regulatory framework.

We feel compelled to speak out against the practices of “skill” or “gray” gambling machines that have exploded seemingly everywhere in the commonwealth in the last eight years. These unregulated, unauthorized slot machines have operated in the shadows of the law for years while our VFW posts and Moose and Elks lodges, and other local charitable organizations, have played by the rules and been heavily regulated.

To be clear, our organizations do not oppose gaming that has been approved by the Virginia General Assembly, is regulated by the state government and contributes in a meaningful way to the commonwealth and its citizens. While we do not believe gambling machines should be in every convenience store, gas station, bar and restaurant in Virginia, if legislators do approve these “skill” games, they should be heavily regulated and finally pay their fair share.