Virginia 2017-09-14T06:01:36+00:00

Gambling in Virginia

Virginia beach
(Credit: Photo courtesy of roseandwomble)
Virginia Virginia state flag


US State, abbreviated “VA

(Not regulated)

  • Population8.41 million
  • Legal Online Poker Age21
  • Legal Poker Room Age18
  • Capital: Richmond
  • GovernorTerry McAuliffe (D)

Although Virginia has had a popular history of gambling in the past, nowadays it is not the best of states for the activity. As it currently stands, there aren’t many options for players to gamble as most forms breach the gambling laws of Virginia.

With extremely strict gambling laws, Virginia does not permit poker, casino games, or other popular forms of gambling. There are basically no casinos in sight within state borders.

However, this does not stop Virginians that are willing to travel across state borders to neighbouring areas from gambling in their casinos or racetracks.

In summary, if you want to gamble while residing in this state, you are unfortunately restricted to the state lottery, pari-mutuel horserace wagering, charitable games and playing socially at home within the state rules.

Gambling Laws in Virginia

The definition of Illegal gambling in Virginia according to the statutes is…

“making, placing or receipt, of any bet or wager in this Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event, occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of this Commonwealth.”

In simple terms, the act of placing a bet on a game of chance is the core aspect of illegal gambling. As with other states, the punishment for players of these games of chance involving real money are not severe and likely sum up to a small fine. On the other hand if you are caught operating an illegal gambling venue then you could face a hefty fine and a prison sentence.

There have been a few cases of arrests in Virginia in the past years. Most notably the incident involving the “Dragon Family” took place in 2011 where the Vietnamese-American gang was shielding an illegal gambling operation inside a shopping center. The business was carried out across 17 coffee shops with over 70 connected computers which netted the group over $1,000,000 profits prior to being shutdown by the local authorities.

Operating an illegal gambling enterprise is a Class 6 felony. If the operator has been in business for at least 30 continuous days or had gross revenue in excess of $2,000 in a single day, they face up to a $20,000 fine and between one and ten years in prison.

Another case that was in the spotlight in 2013 was the shutdown of illegal activities taking place in a home game. The hosts were running more than what could be considered a friendly social event and made over $2000 profits every night. On top of this they used this medium to sell paraphernalia.

Again, most cases of busts and arrests usually concern the ones responsible for the illegal gambling operations rather than players.

Virginia Gambling Age

Players must be a minimum of 21 years of age if they want to play online poker but only 18 to participate in any other legal form of gambling.

Virginia Online Gambling

Although Virginia is strict with land-based gambling, as far as their legislation and federal law goes, residents are fortunately allowed to gamble online through several methods.

Legal Online Gambling Options:

  • ➤ Skill-based online games
  • ➤ Online horse and greyhound betting
  • ➤ Online fantasy sports betting

Once the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2016, traditional sports betting became strictly prohibited. However this also pushed online fantasy sports betting into a category of a “game of skill” hence being permitted on a federal level.

The only adamant law for online gambling is regarding the age of a player stating that those who play must be 21 years or older. As long as you follow this simple rule, you won’t be breaking any laws by betting online through the formats mentioned above.

Online Poker in Virginia

Finding and playing on online Virginia poker rooms on offshore sites is legal as long as the site you play on is fully licensed and regulated. When choosing a place to play, be sure to pick a reputable brand so you know your money and details are safe and secure.

All the sites listed on Online Poker America are 100% legal and have been reviewed by our experts so you can enjoy the best on the web.

The Future of Gambling in Virginia

At this moment in time, there is no movement or bills lined up to be passed regarding online gambling regulation or commerical casinos.

A comment was previously made by Senator Richard Salslaw stating that it would probably take all the states to approve of online poker before Virginia follows suit. So, chances are that there will not likely be any activity regarding the activity anytime soon but you can still enjoy offshore poker sites.

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Keep in Mind

We are not legal professionals so be sure to educate yourself on responsible gambling and consult a lawyer where necessary in applicable matters, using this page only as an opinionated guide.

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