Casinos for you
VirginiaCharity bingo is big in Virginia. In a state where there is so little interest, even horse racing died out, there is not much else going on here from a gambling perspective. But let’s see if we can rustle up a few more options.
Land Based GamblingAllowed in Bingo, Lottery, Horse Racing Online GamblingAllowed in DFS Min Age18 Pari-MutuelNo Smoking BanYes Estimated Tax Revenue from Gambling$487M Estimated Gambling Revenue$1.6B
Land Based Gambling
Regulated Since: 1973
Gambling Age: 18
Regulated Since: 1987
Gambling Age: 18
Regulated Since: 1997
Gambling Age: 18
Online Sports Betting
Regulated Since: 2016
Gambling Age: 18
OverviewCharity bingo is big in Virginia. In a state where there is so little interest, even horse racing died out, there is not much else going on here from a gambling perspective. But let’s see if we can rustle up a few more options.
Virginia hasn’t been on the forefront of gambling for real money, and it took a while before horse racing was legalized within the state. After charity bingo was legalized in 1973, it took another 15 years before the first state lottery ticket was sold. Horse racing followed in 1997 and Daily Fantasy Sports betting only joined the gambling landscape in 2016.
That said, Virginia was the first state to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports and given the discussions around the establishment of brick and mortar casinos towards the end of last year, the outlook for gambling in Virginia may well look very different within the next few years.
For now though, if you want to gamble in Virginia, the only real option you have for big wins is to try your luck at the lottery. While off-track betting online is legal and available on mobile devices, the only operational race track was closed for ages and only opened again recently.
After being in operation for over 30 years, the Virginia state lottery generates around $1,6000,000 per day for the public school system. With games like PowerBall and MegaMillions, players can also purchase scratch off tickets and have the option of playing the lotto online.
The state has a huge charity bingo market though with over 600 bingo halls scattered throughout the state. In addition, casino themed parties are a popular choice and it is possible to rent machines for your event, to play for fun.
When it comes to gambling online, the only requirement is that you are at least 18 years old and that you check to make sure that any off-shore casino sites you want to use are licensed and regulated.
While gambling in Virginia is illegal, the laws don’t specifically state that gambling at off-shore casinos online is included in that definition. So, feel free to gamble online at a casino out of state that is reputable and offers safe and secure payment options.
With the government currently addressing laws around casinos, there is still hope that more options will be available in the future however, there is no concrete information around dates at this time.
It is illegal to gamble in the State of Virginia and there are harsh penalties if you are caught and prosecuted. While playing games of chance illegally as an individual will get you a slap on the wrist, being found to be running a gambling business gets you in way more trouble:
The operator of an illegal gambling enterprise, activity or operation shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, any such operator who engages in an illegal gambling operation which (i) has been or remains in substantially continuous operation for a period in excess of thirty days or (ii) has gross revenue of $2,000 or more in any single day shall be fined not more than $20,000 and imprisoned not less than one year nor more than ten years.
As used in this section, the term "gross revenue" means the total amount of illegal gambling transactions handled, dealt with, received by or placed with such operation, as distinguished from any net figure or amount from which deductions are taken, without regard to whether money or any other thing of value actually changes hands. - Statute 18.2-328: Conducting illegal gambling operation; penalties.
If you are found to know about gambling taking place on a premises that you let, you could also be prosecuted and found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanour. The same applies if you have been found in possession of an illegal gambling device - Virginia State Statute 18.2-329 and 18.2-330.
Games of skill are an exception to this rule though so, sports betting is permitted. Another exception to this rule is playing games of chance in a private home so, while playing poker is illegal in Virginia, you won’t get busted for playing social games in your own home, as long as the organizer doesn’t profit from the game according to statute 18.2-334.
Pari-mutuel betting is also an exception to this rule per statute 18.2-334.4. Colonial Downs has opened again so this is good news.
Bingo games, raffles and duck races for charities are permitted as long as the non-profit organization has the necessary licenses to run such events - statute 18.2-334.2
Gambling with the State of Virginia has been limited to charitable gambling, betting on horse races and partaking in the state lottery. More recently, the state has legalized the use of Daily Fantasy Sports sites and is currently in discussions about land-based casinos.
When it comes to licenses, charities can apply for bingo and raffle licenses through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services if they anticipate receiving $40,000 or more in gross income from their bingo or raffle operations within 12 months. The application needs to be accompanied by a $200, non-refundable application fee.
Your choice of charitable games doesn’t need to be just limited to these though as you also have the option of offering paper pull tab, instant bingo and seal cards. In addition to these, electronic pull tabs and hand-held pull-tab machines are also permitted.
Applications to run Daily Fantasy contests also take place through the same department, but the application process is a lot more extensive and detailed. Aside from an in-depth investigation into your company, including your most recent financial audit, your personal history will also be scrutinized with any criminal convictions related to gambling, fraud or tax evasion counting against you. Your application will need to be accompanied by an $8,300 fee and your annual renewal fee is around $50,000 per year.
When applying to sell lottery products through your gas station or supermarket, your application will be processed by the Virginia Lottery and will require a $50, non-refundable fee. Aside from the disclosure of the business location, business sales tax certificate and confirmation by the Internal Revenue Service, the personal data form will also need to be signed by the owner, partner, officer, member or director, as well as by anyone else who has more than a 10% stake in the business.
Applying for a gambling license, no matter where you reside or plan to do business is a lengthy and often expensive process. Along with having your personal history scrutinized, it can mean that your past will be investigated on a federal level, which can hold anxiety for some applicants. In other words, do your research before starting the application process to ensure a smooth and seamless approval.
Casinos and Gambling Facilities in Virginia Gambling?
FAQWhere can I gamble in Virginia?There are no land-based casinos in Virginia so you can play lottery games, charity gambling, horse, and dog racing if you’re over 18.Are there casinos in Virginia?NoCan I play online poker in Virginia?No, but many residents play using off-shore casinos online.How old do I need to be to gamble legally in Virginia?18 years old.Is horse racing legal in Virginia?Yes.Where are the closest casinos to Virginia?Casinos are available across the border in West Virginia & Cherokee and North Carolina for those residing near the Appalachian area. Those closer to Washington D.C. make use of casinos in Maryland.Does Virginia have a state lottery?Yes.Can I play bingo in Virginia?Charitable bingo is a popular pastime.Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Virginia?Yes. Virginia is the first state to license daily fantasy sports.Does Virginia have gambling laws?Yes, and they are fairly restrictive. The state only currently allows charitable gambling like bingo and raffles, the lottery and pari-mutuel betting on horse races.