Surprisingly, given its strict gambling stance, Virginia was one of first states to officially legalize Daily Fantasy Sports gambling when it passed a bill back in 2016. This means sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel can operate legally in the state.
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Virginia retains a proud colonial history and maintains some of that era's old-school philosophies when it comes to freedoms such as gambling. Will this change with the Supreme Court's ruling on sports betting and the continued pressure to legalize casinos? That time may come in the next few years. But for now, betting remains limited in the Old Dominion.
The state's gambling laws remain heavy-handed zone and generally outlaw any betting on the outcome of games or contests that are based on "chance." This means casino gambling and betting on greyhounds are strictly illegal. Horse racing bettors aren't much better off. They're permitted to gamble at licensed tracks and off-track betting outlets, but there are none open in the commonwealth as of 2018.
The other permitted betting options are charitable gambling such as bingo and raffles—and curiously, duck racing, which can be offered by not-for-profit organizations. The state also runs a lottery with games such as Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 3 & 4 and scratch cards. This means Virginia is happy to boost its own virtue of gambling, but won't give casinos and sportsbooks the option to create revenue by offering more gambling freedom in the state. Of course, if you cross the state line to Maryland or West Virginia, you can happily enjoy some legal casino gaming.
Thoug a trip to a gambling-friendly state isn't hard for some in the northern half of Virginia, there are still no online betting options of any kind.
That being said, things have begun to change in the commonwealth.
The shuttered Colonial Downs horse track is set to open as soon as 2019 and a the state's first-ever casino is poised to take its first wager by 2020. It also will be one of the few facilities in the nation to offer historic horse racing.
Meanwhile the Pamunkey Native Amerian tribe intends to build a casino in the southeastern portion of the state and another major casino is gaining support in Bristol in the far southwestern corner of the Old Dominion.
In even bigger news, legislators introduced sports betting legislation for the 2019 session, though it faltered in the commonwealth's shortened legislative calendar. Still, this positive momentum there there's a chance legal wagering could come as soon as next year.
It will still be a while until Virginia can rival it's northern neighbors in terms of gambling, but after centuries of oppostiion, gambling of all varieties is slowly picking up steam.
Online casino gambling isn't really covered by Virginia law but there are no legal avenues permitted. Players will have to travel to Delaware or New Jersey if they want to play blackjack, roulette or craps through the internet.
The push for legalization of land-based poker continues but whether it's going to happen anytime soon is debatable. Campaigners have been trying to get the game legalized by claiming poker is skill-based. For now, it's falling on deaf ears, meaning poker players need to either travel to casinos and tournaments in other states or play online poker.
The Supreme Court's ruling sports betting gives states the power to legalize sports gambling, but it's hard to know whether this will lead to regulated online and offline sports gambling coming from Richmond. Virginia has long been behind the curve for gambling and it seems unlikely it will take a legal sports bet anytime soon.