Virginia is a sleepy state in terms of casino gambling. The Old Dominion state seems hesitant yet slightly intrigued by gambling entertainment, slowly dipping its feet into the water while remaining unsure. After seeing the success of neighboring states, new legislation seems quite promising for the legalizing sports betting in Virginia. If 2019 is any indication of how things will go in 2020, it looks like sports betting may be a legalized quite soon.
Virginia Legal Gambling History
Virginia legalized charitable gambling in 1973, allowing for bingo and raffles. The next move for Virginia came to a decade-plus later when the state legalized a lottery in 1987. The first lotto game to take place happened the very next year.
The state formed its Virginia Racing Commission in 1989, which allowed for pari-mutuel betting. However, the state didn’t get its first race track until 1997. This lone racecourse was Colonial Downs, which recently closed its doors. In 2003, the Commission allowed Virginians to take part in off-track betting. The very next year, in 2004, EZ betting terminals landed down in Virginia.
Even with Colonial Downs no longer with us, track betting remains popular in Virginia with betting terminals and facilities housing track betting machines that operate almost like slots. The state is home to 5 such facilities with a 6th in the works.
Throughout this time, attempts were being made to bring riverboat gambling into Virginia. None of these attempts were fruitful, the last one being made in 2013 with bill SB1363 which did not pass.
In 2016, Virginia became the first state to legalize daily fantasy sports.
In 2019, SB 1116 passed on the Senate floor. This senate bill would have allowed for legal sports betting in Virginia. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time left in the session for its advocates to do much else with it. Hopefully, during the 2020 sessions, we will see legislation go through to bring sportsbooks to the state in the same year.
Virginia Gambling Legal Status
As it stands, Virginia is not home to any land-based or online casinos. Attempts have been made to get riverboat casino gambling going, but with little progress made. There are no online gambling casinos in the state either. Although, there is no law against Virginians placing online bets. You are welcome to wager online at off-shore sites without breaking the law.
Sports betting is illegal in Virginia. Though, it looks like sports betting could be made into a reality by 2020.
Virginia became the first state to legalize daily fantasy sports in 2016.
Virginia has had a state lottery since 1987 and race track betting, as well as off-track betting, is legal. Players must be 18 and up to play.
Virginia Land-Based Casino Options
Since there are no casinos in the state of Virginia, residents will have to look elsewhere. This isn’t too difficult if you’re in the DC area since Maryland casinos are just a short drive away. Those close to the North Carolina border have access to the Cherokee Harrah’s Casino.
Virginia Legal Sports Betting and Daily Fantasy Sports
Sports betting is not allowed in Virginia for right now, but it’s coming. SB 1116 passed on the Senate floor in February 2019, which would have allowed for legal sports betting. Unfortunately, backers didn’t have enough time to legalize sports betting. Its illegalization will be most likely, if not positive, during the 2020 legislative session.
Daily fantasy sports are legal in Virginia, the first state to legalize it back in 2016. Virginians have access to the full offerings made by FanDuel and DraftKings.
Virginia Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in the state of Virginia?
The following are legal in Virginia:
- Track betting, off-track, and electronic gaming terminals
- State lottery including scratch-offs
- Charitable gaming such as a bingo
Daily fantasy sports
Players must be 18 and up to gamble in Virginia.
Will online gambling or sports betting ever come to Virginia?
It looks like sports betting will. During 2019 legislative sessions, a bill was passed that would have permitted for legal sports betting in Virginia. However, there wasn’t enough time to legalize it. If 2019 was any indication of how 2020 will go, we should see sportsbooks hit the state by next year.
Online gambling is legal in Virginia. Or, it’s legal for you to place a bet. There are no online casinos in Virginia, but residents can play legally at off-shore sites.