Skill games lawsuit spurs First Amendment debate

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 7:37 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A lawsuit challenging Virginia’s ban on skill games is fueling a debate over the First Amendment.

Former NASCAR driver and truck stop owner Hermie Sadler filed the lawsuit, arguing the ban violates his constitutional rights. This week, his attorney Bill Stanley responded to the state’s claim that skill games and Sadler’s company are not entitled to free speech protections.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has always said that businesses have a first amendment right to free speech in their advertising,” Stanley told WDBJ7. “That’s how they bring customers in, whether they advertise on TV, radio or even just a sheet of paper that they put in the window. They have that right of free speech just as the individual does.”

The state has requested a change of venue, to move the trial from Emporia, where Sadler’s truck stop is located, to Richmond.

No trial date has been set, but Stanley says the court could schedule a hearing on pre-trial motions before the end of the month.

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