Skill games might be allowed soon in all business districts in the town of South Boston, pending a vote on a change to the town code by South Boston Town Council members.

Town council members plan to consider the amendment along with several other items of business when they meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Washington Coleman Community Center at 1927 Jeffress Blvd.

Council’s meeting location is a change from council’s customary meeting place in Council Chambers on Yancey Street.

The reason for the change is to allow more residents to attend the meeting while following social distancing guidelines. All attendees are required to wear face coverings.

Town manager Tom Raab brought up the proposed change in the town’s code regarding skill games at an Aug. 27 council work session. Under the proposed change, the skill games would be allowed in businesses in all of the town’s business districts provided the business has an ABC license. Currently, the town code allows for skill games to be operated by special use permit only in B-2 (general business) districts and B-4 (downtown business) districts.

The amendment to the town code would define skill games to mirror state law. The General Assembly of Virginia recently amended the Code of Virginia exempting skill games from the definition of illegal gambling and allowing the operation of skill games until July 1, 2021. During the one-year timeframe, the skill games would be legal with a $1,200 monthly tax on each machine per month. Localities would receive 12% of the profits from the machines.

Mayor Ed Owens remarked in the August work session that skill games have popped up in a multitude of convenience stores in areas surrounding South Boston, and they are profitable.

“They’re in every convenience store outside of town, and here’s an opportunity for a revenue stream for at least eight to nine months,” Owens said.

Town council also plans to consider a proposed amendment to the town’s budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 at Monday’s meeting, following a public hearing on the matter. The proposed amendment adds funding for a new assistant town manager position and appropriate funding for CARES Act grant funds, North Main Street paving (VDOT funding), early repayment on the Imperial Lofts loan, a North Main Street Housing Project planning grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and a grant for the Riverdale Boat Ramp Project from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The amendment will increase the town’s general fund budget revenues and expenditures to $16,169,013.

Council is expected to consider the following additional items at the meeting:

w A resolution adopting the regional hazard mitigation plan of 2020, which identifies mitigation goals and actions to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property in the town of South Boston from impacts of future hazards and disasters.

w A request from town finance director Mickey Wilkerson to charge off delinquent real estate, personal property and vehicle decal taxes.

w An appointment to the town’s Industrial Development Authority board to fill a vacancy. Board member Mark Thackston resigned in early August after accepting a new job as city market executive for First Bank and Trust in the Lynchburg/Forest area.

Raab is slated to give an update on new and ongoing projects at the council meeting, as well.

The meeting will conclude with a citizen comment period.

All South Boston Town Council meetings are slated to be held at the Washington Coleman Community Center for the remainder of 2020.

The meeting schedule for the rest of the year is as follows: Council meetings are planned for 7 p.m. on Oct. 5, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14.

Council work session/joint committee meetings are planned for 5:45 p.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Nov. 30.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at