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Gambling Laws of Virginia State Gambling Laws

Gambling in Virginia holds a diverse legal landscape, ranging from an age limit of 18 for activities like the state lottery, bingo, and pari-mutuel betting to the recent legalization of sports betting and commercial casinos. While the state has historically been cautious, recent legislative shifts signal a more open attitude towards modern gambling. CasinoLandia provides this comprehensive overview, highlighting the absence of current casinos catering to 18-year-olds and the anticipation surrounding the establishment of commercial casinos, signaling a potentially transformative phase in Virginia's gambling sphere.

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Overview of Online Gambling in Virginia

Virginia has seen significant changes in its gambling legislation in recent years, allowing for the legalization of certain forms of online gambling. The state permits online sports betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS). However, other forms of online gambling, such as online casinos and online poker, remain illegal as per current laws.

Online sports betting became legal in Virginia in July 2020 following the passing of SB 384. The state chose to regulate this activity through its Lottery Board instead of establishing a new regulatory body specifically for sports betting. The law permits up to 12 standalone licenses for online sports betting, with the possibility of issuing up to 19 licenses in total. Several reputable operators have launched their platforms in Virginia since January 2021, offering various sports betting opportunities to residents.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) were legalized in Virginia in 2016 through the Fantasy Contests Act. Currently, four major operators are active in the state: DraftKings DFS, FanDuel DFS, Fantasy Draft, and Yahoo Fantasy.

While online casino gambling and online poker are not yet legal in Virginia, the state is exploring the potential for five land-based casinos in cities like Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. However, the legislation around online casinos might take time to evolve, and it could potentially be introduced after the land-based casinos are established.

The Legal Gambling Status in Virginia

Statut

Virginia maintains a mixed stance on gambling, with an evolving landscape that's gradually opening up to various forms of wagering. Presently, the state permits participation in legalized gambling, such as the state lottery, bingo, pari-mutuel betting, and Daily Fantasy Sports, for individuals aged 18 and above. Recent legislative changes in 2020 have paved the way for the establishment of commercial casinos and sports betting, yet the specific age requirements for these newer forms of gambling are yet to be officially defined. Notably, online gambling remains illegal within Virginia, although the state is in the process of legalizing online sports betting, anticipated to roll out in early 2021. Despite the absence of physical casinos currently, the state's gambling landscape is progressively expanding, reflecting a dynamic shift in Virginia's approach to various forms of wagering.

Type of Gambling Legal Age in Virginia
State Lottery 18
Bingo 18
Pari-Mutuel Betting 18
Daily Fantasy Sports 18
Commercial Casinos Age not yet defined
Sports Betting Age not yet defined
Online Gambling Prohibited
Poker Prohibited

Virginia Gambling Jurisdiction

Virginia Lottery

In Virginia, the oversight and regulation of various gambling activities fall under the purview of different regulatory bodies. The Virginia Lottery stands as a prominent regulatory authority, responsible for the state lottery operations, setting regulations, and ensuring the integrity of lottery games. Moreover, the Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs governs charitable gaming events, issuing licenses and overseeing compliance with regulations to guarantee lawful conduct. For horse racing enthusiasts, the Virginia Racing Commission plays a pivotal role, regulating and supervising pari-mutuel betting on horse races at the state's lone racetrack and licensed off-track facilities. Each regulatory body operates within its defined scope, ensuring adherence to established rules, fair play, and the safeguarding of public interest across various gambling activities within the state of Virginia.

History and Timeline for Virginia Online Gambling

Virginia's progressive evolution in gambling legislation and regulation has seen a transformative journey from early endorsements of charitable gaming to the recent emergence of commercial casinos and sports betting.

Early Legalization Initiatives (1973 – 2016)

  • 1973: Virginia legalizes charitable gaming, including activities like bingo and poker.
  • 1987: The state legalizes its lottery, marking the initial foray into regulated gambling.
  • 2016: Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) receives legalization status, setting the stage for more modern forms of gambling acceptance.

Expansion and Recent Developments (2018 – 2023)

  • 2018: Virginia legalizes historical horse racing betting, broadening the spectrum of permissible wagering activities.
  • 2019: Colonial Downs reintroduces live horse racing and pari-mutuel betting, revitalizing interest in horse racing.
  • February 2020: Virginia's legislature passes an amended HB4 gaming bill, signaling the legalization of commercial casino gambling and sportsbooks, paving the way for significant future developments.
  • October 2020: The Virginia Lottery initiates the sports betting application period, aiming to approve up to 12 operators. NASCAR also joins the scene by partnering with WynnBet for a mobile sportsbook.
  • November 2020: Approval of the first land-based casino projects marks a significant step towards expanding Virginia's gambling landscape.

Recent Milestones in Casino Development (2021 – 2023)

  • November 2021: A referendum against establishing a casino in Richmond is defeated, affecting plans for a potential gambling hub.
  • July 2022: Hard Rock Bristol launches a temporary gaming facility, becoming the inaugural land-based casino in Virginia.
  • January 2023: Rivers Casino Portsmouth emerges as the state's premier full-fledged casino, adding another dimension to Virginia's gambling landscape.
  • May 2023: Caesars Virginia inaugurates a temporary casino in Danville, with plans for a permanent establishment by late 2024.
  • November 2023: Voters reject a casino in Richmond for the second time, further shaping the state's casino aspirations.

Legal Gambling Forms in Virginia

In Virginia, the landscape of legal gambling has seen gradual but significant evolution. Presently, the state permits various forms of betting, each with its own age requirement. The state lottery, Daily Fantasy Sports, bingo, and pari-mutuel betting set the minimum age at 18, while newer entrants like commercial casinos and sports betting are yet to determine their specific age thresholds. While casinos weren't historically part of Virginia's scene, recent legislative changes have opened doors for commercial casino gaming, adding to the state's betting repertoire. Despite the absence of online casinos, the legalization of online sports betting in 2021 showcased a potential shift in Virginia's stance on digital wagering. This blend of traditional and emerging gambling avenues reflects the state's gradual adaptation within the broader gambling landscape.

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Virginia Online Casinos

Currently, online casinos are illegal in Virginia. The state has yet to legalize online gambling beyond certain forms like sports betting and the lottery.
sports betting icon

Virginia Sports Betting

Sports betting has been legalized in Virginia, but the regulations and operational details are still being established. Online sports betting is expected to launch, offering various sports wagering opportunities.
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Virginia Online Poker

Online poker remains illegal in Virginia. Poker games are only permitted in private settings where no rake is taken by the organizers.
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Virginia Bingo

Bingo is legal in Virginia, and individuals aged 18 and above can participate in bingo games conducted for charitable purposes or in licensed establishments.
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Virginia Blackjack

Blackjack, typically found in casinos, is not currently available in Virginia as commercial casinos have only recently been legalized and are in the process of being established.
lottery

Virginia Lotteries

The Virginia State Lottery has been legal since 1987. Players aged 18 and above can participate in various lottery games, including Mega Millions, Powerball, and Cash4Life, with proceeds largely benefitting education.

Virginia Parimutuel Betting

Pari-mutuel betting on horse races is legal in Virginia for individuals aged 18 and above. It has been a favored form of betting in the state since 1989.

Virginia Prohibited Gambling Activities

Certain gambling activities remain prohibited in Virginia, including commercial casinos (until recently), most forms of online gambling, and poker unless conducted in private without any profit to the organizers.

Check Out These Online Casinos Available in Virginia

Discover various approved online casinos available in Virginia. These casinos offer different types of gambling for you to enjoy. When you sign up on these websites, they'll check your age to make sure you're old enough to gamble legally. You can pick from many kinds of gambling options on these authorized online casinos in Virginia. This check is important to make sure you have a safe and legal time while playing games.

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Legalization of Bingo in Virginia

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Bingo, a popular game of chance, received legal recognition in Virginia in 1973. The state took a significant step by legalizing charitable gaming activities, including bingo, marking the beginning of organized bingo events within Virginia's borders. This decision aimed to support various charitable causes and organizations by permitting them to host bingo games as fundraising activities. The legislation outlined specific guidelines and regulations for conducting these games, ensuring they remained in compliance with the law. As a result, bingo became an accepted and regulated form of entertainment, fostering community engagement while contributing to charitable initiatives across the state. This legalization paved the way for numerous bingo halls and events, offering residents an enjoyable pastime while supporting various charitable endeavors in Virginia.

Legalization of Blackjack in Virginia

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As of the latest update in Virginia's gambling landscape, there hasn't been specific legislation or formal legalization of blackjack within the state's borders. Virginia's gambling laws have evolved over time, permitting certain forms of wagering like the state lottery, pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, and charitable gaming such as bingo. However, commercial casinos offering table games like blackjack have yet to receive approval. Efforts to expand gambling options, including proposals for land-based casinos, have been discussed in the state legislature but haven't specifically outlined the inclusion of blackjack. Currently, Virginians seeking blackjack and similar casino table games often travel to nearby states where these activities are legally permitted. As of now, blackjack remains outside the realm of legalized gambling activities within Virginia.

Legalization of Lotteries in Virginia

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Virginia's journey into legalized lotteries commenced in 1987, marking a significant shift in the state's approach to gambling. The Virginia Lottery was established, becoming a pivotal avenue for generating revenue to benefit various state projects, predominantly focused on education initiatives. Over time, the lottery has gained immense popularity among Virginians, offering a range of games like Mega Millions, Powerball, and Cash4Life. Its proceeds have consistently contributed to education funds, aligning with the state's commitment to supporting educational programs. Furthermore, Virginia stands out as one of the few states in the U.S. to embrace an online lottery platform, allowing residents the convenience of purchasing tickets through an official website or dedicated mobile app. This progressive step has not only been widely embraced by the populace but also stands as a testament to the state's forward-looking approach in adapting its gambling landscape to modern technological advancements.

Virginia Parimutuel Betting

Horse Racing Icon

Parimutuel betting in Virginia has been a part of the state's gambling landscape since 1989, allowing residents to engage in wagering on horse racing events. This form of betting has remained a favored pastime, offering an avenue for enthusiasts to place bets both at the state's singular racetrack and licensed off-track facilities. The Virginia gambling age for parimutuel betting is 18, granting younger adults the opportunity to participate in this specific form of gambling. Over the years, parimutuel betting has retained its popularity, attracting both avid racing fans and casual bettors. While it stands as one of the limited legalized gambling options in Virginia, its longevity and consistent following underline its significance within the state's gambling culture, contributing to the diversity of wagering opportunities available to Virginia residents.

Virginia Prohibited Gambling Activities

Virginia strictly prohibits several forms of gambling activities within its borders. Among the activities expressly forbidden are commercial casinos, barring the state from hosting brick-and-mortar casinos with slot machines and table games. Online casinos, sports betting, and poker also fall under the prohibited category, making these forms of internet-based wagering illegal within Virginia. Additionally, any type of unauthorized gambling, whether for-profit or charitable, that involves games of chance or betting on uncertain outcomes outside of the approved and regulated gambling channels is prohibited by the state's laws. The restrictions on these various gambling activities underscore Virginia's conservative stance on expanding the gambling landscape and highlight the limited scope of permissible wagering options available to its residents.

Gambling in Virginia – Licensing, Tax and Fees

Tax and Fees Icon

Virginia's gambling tax structure necessitates understanding for any fortunate winners eager to calculate their winnings. Virginia imposes state tax rates varying from 2% to 5.75%, with the higher rates commencing at a surprisingly low income threshold of $17,000. Your gambling victories, including those from sports betting, slot machines, or the lottery, are taxable and regarded as part of your income. The federal tax on gambling winnings stands at 24%, with this amount automatically withheld if your winnings exceed specific thresholds. Our Virginia gambling tax calculator simplifies these calculations, ensuring a clear comprehension of your financial scenario post-win. Explore various betting apps and sportsbooks in Virginia while staying informed about tax implications through our comprehensive guide below.

Income Tax Rate
$3,000 or less 2%
$3,001 – $5,000 $60 plus 3% of excess over $3,000
$5,001 – $17,000 $120 plus 5% of excess over $5,000
$17,001 and higher $720 plus 5.75% of excess over $17,000

Important Questions for Gambling Laws of Virginia

Is online gambling legal in Virginia?

Yes, online gambling is legal in Virginia. The state allows various forms of online betting, including sports betting, online casinos, and poker. However, it's essential to engage only with licensed and regulated platforms authorized by the Virginia Lottery.

What is the minimum age requirement for engaging in online casinos, sports betting, and poker in Virginia?

In Virginia, the minimum age requirement for participating in online casinos, sports betting, and poker aligns with the legal gambling age, which is 21 years old.

How does parimutuel betting work in Virginia?

Parimutuel betting in Virginia involves wagering on horse racing, and it operates by pooling bets together. The odds are determined based on the total pool size and fluctuate according to the volume of bets placed on each horse. After deducting taxes and fees, the remaining pool is divided among the winning bettors.

What types of gambling are legally permissible in Virginia?

Virginia allows several forms of gambling, including sports betting, horse racing, parimutuel betting, online casinos, poker, and the state lottery. However, these activities must be conducted within the confines of the law and under the supervision of regulatory bodies.

Which regulatory bodies oversee gambling activities in Virginia?

The Virginia Lottery oversees and regulates various gambling activities in the state. It is responsible for licensing and monitoring online casinos, sports betting operators, horse racing, and other gambling entities to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations. Additionally, the Virginia Racing Commission regulates horse racing and parimutuel betting activities.

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Marina Kostadinova | Content Strategist

Marina Kostadinova serves as the Content Strategist for CasinoLandia, where she oversees the creation and implementation of content marketing strategies. With her expertise, she ensures that CasinoLandia's content resonates with its audience and drives engagement and growth within the online casino industry.
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