Virginia State

It’s the birthplace of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, pop icon Pharrell Williams, movie star Sandra Bullock, and no less than 8 former US presidents. It’s the picturesque, south-eastern state of Virginia. Though the ‘Mother of Presidents’ has been home to many internationally renowned entertainers, it doesn’t really provide a wide variety of entertainment to its residents, especially where gambling is concerned. We’ve done some research to ascertain what gambling options would be available to locals living in Virginia. Read on to find out whether land-based casinos, online casinos, sports betting, poker, fun play casinos, mobile social casinos, Facebook casinos and social casino apps are deemed legal or illegal in this state.

Virginia’s Gambling History

Taking a look at Virginia’s view on gambling practices in the past sheds some light as to how far they’ve come today. The state’s charitable gambling laws were first put in place in 1973, making certain raffles and bingo games legal. This lead to the legalisation of the state lottery in 1987, and the first game going live in 1988. From the year 2000, the profits were exclusively channelled to the state’s education fund. In 1989, the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) was created to oversee the state’s future pari-mutuel horse racing betting practices. This lead to the opening of Colonial Downs in 1997, the state’s only horse racing track. In 2003 however, the VRC were also tasked to oversee off-track betting facilities, adding more betting options to the mix such as EZ betting terminals in 2004. Unfortunately, a proposed bill to make riverboat gaming legal in 1995 wasn’t passed – failing again during another attempt in 2013.

Land-based Gambling in Virginia

There are no actual land-based casinos or tribal venues found anywhere within the state lines of Virginia. This paints a pretty clear picture as to the state’s views on gambling. It considers ‘betting something of value on an uncertain, luck-based event’ as illegal. For a person placing such a bet, breaking the law is considered a misdemeanour, but if you operate such a gambling practice outside the law, it’s viewed as a felony. The state mainly focuses on cracking down on operators, rather than gamblers. But should you get caught, you could be forced to pay a fine amounting to as much as ten times your winnings.

Online Gambling in Virginia

Virginia’s gambling laws, however, don’t specify anything regards the online gaming environment. Therefore, players can assume it’s pretty safe to sign up at a reputable and legal online casino – as long as it’s not being operated from within Virginia. There are, of course, other forms of online gambling that can’t possibly be seen as illegal as no money is bet or won. Free play online casinos, for example, allow you to place virtual bets without using real money, but fun play credits instead. So players get to experience the thrill of gambling without having to wager actual money. They provide a number of free fun online slots to choose from, many of which you’ll find at real money online casinos. Alternatively, you can search online to find out how to play on Facebook casinos as they’re easy to access and abide by social media’s free play laws, making them 100% legal anywhere in the world.

Gambling Options in Virginia

As mentioned before, Virginia’s gambling entertainment options are pretty limited. We’ve outlined what you can expect to find when residing in or visiting the state.

Land-Based Casinos

Unfortunately, there are no bricks-and-mortar casinos in Virginia. It also doesn’t offer tribal venues like many other states do. So if you’d like to visit a land-based facility, you’d have to travel across state lines.

Online Casinos

The law doesn’t specify anything regarding Internet gambling. So your best bet for placing casino bets would be to sign up at a registered online casino, which isn’t operated within Virginia. There are numerous trustworthy online casinos, which have international player bases and adhere to strict industry standards, are fully secure and accept players from the US. We suggest you take your pick from popular virtual hotspots like Bovada Casino, Lucky Red Casino, Aladdin’s Gold Casino and High Noon Casino, to name but a few.

Live vs Online Poker

You won’t find a legal land-based poker room, or any other card room for that matter, in Virginia. You can, however, enjoy poker in the form of social home games, as long as nobody’s profiting by charging an entry fee or taking a rake. The state also doesn’t have any plans to regulate online poker. However, while operators aren’t allowed to run online poker sites in its jurisdiction, players are not prohibited from playing at offshore virtual poker destinations.

Sports Betting

Virginia has one horse racing track called Colonial Downs where pari-mutuel betting has been allowed for nearly three decades. Residents can also make use of satellite offices and electronic EZ betting terminals at bars and restaurants to place their sports bets.

State Lottery

If you like to chance your luck on the lottery in Virginia, you can. The state has its own lottery and also allows you to take part in inter-state combined lotteries. Good to know is that all proceeds go towards the state’s education needs.

Betting on Bingo Games

The charitable gambling laws of the state allow for real money bingo bets. These laws also make allowance for charitable raffles to take place in Virginia. 

Tips for US Players in Virginia

Living in Virginia and keen on gambling? Keep the following tips in mind before you get started:

  • If you’d like to play casino games, you’ll only have online casino options available to you in Virginia. You can, however, play social poker home games or bet on horse races at terminals or the state’s one track.
  • Whatever your gambling preference, make sure you’re of legal age. Bingo, poker, horse racing bets and the lottery have an age requirement of 18. But you’ll need to be 21 to take part in other gambling options.
  • If you’re new to gambling and don’t want to risk losing money, consider free play online casinos that don’t require any monetary transaction. There are various fun play casinos and Facebook casinos available online to choose from.
  • Alternatively, decide on a gambling budget before each session and stick to it.


Virginia might not be big on gambling, but that certainly doesn’t mean residents have to miss out. The Internet era has made multiple online casino, online poker and online sports betting channels available to players from all corners of the globe, including those residing in this beautiful US state.