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Online gambling in Virginia: A must-read guide for VA gamblers

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Checked by Geraldine S.Lorella F.

Online gambling in Virginia still has some ways to go, as real-money casino sites are yet to see the green light. But it’s not all bad for players in the Old Dominion State.

Since 2021, online sports betting sites have gone live and social casino gambling is steadily on the rise. We take a deep dive into the best Virginia online gambling options in this in-depth guide.

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To make life easier, above we’ve listed the legal, safe Virginia operators that passed the Time2play test with flying colors and some highlights from each site to help you decide which one works best for you. This list should help you find the best gambling sites in Virginia.

Warning: You must be 21+ years of age to gamble online legally in Virginia. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-522-4700.

Unlike with West Virginia gambling, the question ‘is online gambling legal in Virginia’, doesn’t come with a simple answer. Even though the industry is rapidly expanding across the US, Virginia online casinos are still not considered legal here.

The only way to play legalized real money betting without falling foul of gambling laws in Virginia is via online sportsbooks. So, players are free to place wagers on sports via the internet, but they cannot play real money games. However, social casino gambling is perfectly legal as the law states that as long as the house doesn’t take an edge from the process, you can go ahead and spin those wheels.

Like many other US states, Virginia laws lay down a minimum legal gambling age of 21.

Gambling verticalOffline legal ageOnline legal ageOnline since
Casinos21N/AN/A
Social casinosN/A212021
Sportsbooks21212021
Social betting apps21212021
Poker2121N/A
Lottery18182021

Online sports betting — legal since 2021

Even though not all types of gambling sites in Virginia are legal, sportsbetting is. Retail sportsbooks in this state were legalized on April 22, 2020, and online betting was launched in January 2021. Here’s how the state managed to greenlight betting sites.

After tons of efforts were made, the General Assembly and Senate of Virginia passed legislation to allow sports betting. The foundation for sports betting was thus laid down, making the Virginia Lottery the official sports betting regulator. After this form of gambling was given the green light, many of the most reputable sportsbooks in the US started applying for a license.

These days dozens of sportsbooks operate in this state, and statistics show that residents are pretty fond of placing online bets. For example, the total sports betting handle in May 2022 was $351.5 million, and the revenue reached $42.5 million.

One exciting development in the sports betting industry in the state took place on April 11, 2022, when Governor Glenn Youngkin signed yet another law that basically stops sportsbook operators from using the slogan ‘Virginia is for bettors’. The reason is that it coincides with the well-known slogan of the state, which is ‘Virginia is for lovers’.

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Sweeps — the best alternative to online casinos in VA

Still asking the question is online gambling legal in Virginia? Legalized gambling in the state only includes sports betting so far. Virginia online casinos are still not permitted in this state, which is why players looking for legal casino games turn to social casinos and sweepstakes.

Social casinos are allowed in Virginia. If you are wondering what’s the difference between sweepstakes and social casinos, we are more than happy to explain. Sweepstakes come with the opportunity for real rewards, while social casinos are basically ‘just for fun’ casino games. Think of it as a demo version of casino gambling. You’re there to play the casino games, but you cannot win any real-money rewards. If you’re keen on learning more about how these work, you’ll find more information on our sweeps cash casinos page.

Compared to real money online casinos, Virginia social casinos have fewer casino games to offer, but that doesn’t mean the quality is lower. You can still enjoy titles from some of the world’s most reputable providers, including NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, etc.

Online poker VA — available at social casinos

Poker is one of the most popular casino games because it requires a lot of skill and knowledge rather than just being focused on luck. Playing poker at real money casinos in the US from Virginia is not legal, but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy this casino game at social casinos.

To play it, you must make sure you know the rules. Since there are several variants of poker at social casinos (such as Casino Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Caribbean Stud, etc.), some of the rules may vary, so pay attention to the details.

One of the top-rated social casino gambling in Virginia sites is Fortune Coins, which impressed our experts with quality poker selection.

 

Other forms of online gambling in Virginia

When asking yourself is gambling legal in Virginia, you need to remember that actual gambling goes beyond online sportsbetting and social casino sites. Below, we have listed a few other forms of gambling.

Our experts also shared details about legality, available gambling types, and other questions that you may have. Let’s start breaking down the details.

Indiana Lottery

Lottery

Lottery games are one of the oldest forms of wagering money in the world. You will be pleased to hear that betting on the lottery is available here, as it is a form of Virginia legalized gambling. The Virginia Lottery is an independent agency that was created in 1987 after a successful statewide referendum. Daily draw games include Pick 3 and 4; they are drawn twice each day. Cash 5 has one draw per day. All profits from ticket sales go towar
bingo-card-and-numbers

Bingo

Bingo is also a legal type of gaming in Virginia, but here’s the thing. This type of gaming must be sponsored by non-profit organizations. Of course, in order for a certain organization to organize bingo games, it needs to be licensed. As for players, if they wish to participate in this activity, they need to be at least 18 years old.
horse-racing-betting

Horse racing

The horse racing industry and betting have gone side-by-side for as long as we can remember. This activity is available in Virginia, which is good for punters as they have far more betting options. Here’s the catchy thing about betting on horses, though. According to the Virginia online gambling laws, punters can wager on horse races in one of the three licensed operators – XpressBet, TVG, and TwinSpires. These operators also have a live stream
daily-fantasy-sports-betting

Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports betting has been legal in Virginia since 2016. This division is overseen by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the US Gaming Commission. There are tons of reputable operators that offer DFS betting services in Virginia, and all residents have to do is register an account at their preferred sportsbook and start placing bets.

Virginia gambling — land-based casinos

Online gambling in Virginia may be illegal, but the land-based gambling industry is legal and thriving. Several brick-and-mortar casinos are currently operating or are under construction in the state.

In November 2020, voters decided in favor of having 4 additional casinos in Virginia – Hard Rock Casino Bristol, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, Norfolk Resort & Casino, and Caesars Virginia, which will be located in Danville.

Hard Rock Casino in Bristol recently opened its doors, but the rest of the three casinos are still under development. Rivers Casino Portsmouth is set to open up in 2023, Norfolk Resort & Casino is slated to open in early 2023, whereas Caesars Virginia will likely open its doors in mid-2023.

According to the legislation of the state, a massive casino resort can be built in each of the following cities: Bristol, Portsmouth, Richmond, Norfolk, and Danville. As mentioned earlier, the residents in Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Norfolk voted in favor of having a casino back in 2020, but the residents of Richmond voted against having a casino during the elections on November 2, 2021. As a side note, the legal Virginia gambling age at these properties is also 21.

RetailLaunch dateLocation
Hard Rock Casino BristolJuly 8, 2022500 Gate City Hwy, Bristol, VA 24201, United States
Rivers Casino PortsmouthTBAPortsmouth, VA 23701, United States
Norfolk Resort & CasinoTBATBA
Caesars VirginiaTBA1100 West Main St. Danville, Virginia

How to choose online gambling sites Virginia

If you are looking to find the best gambling sites Virginia that are legal, wasting time on research can be a pain. We’ve done all the work for you, but we’d also like to explain how we reach our review scores and what our criteria are. In this section, we’re going to list the most important features that our experts take into consideration when reviewing a Virginia online gambling site should have. Our Time2play methodology is based on uniform and consistent criteria!

License and security

As an absolute minimum, for a real money online casino to be even considered by our experts, it needs to be licensed. The license indicates that the site can offer gambling games and conduct online transactions while safeguarding the rights of the player.

To check for a casino’s license, all you have to do is access the official website of the operator and scroll to the bottom of its homepage. This is where all operators display their license information. Double-check the information with the regulator. If there is a green light, then you can kick off the next steps.

Products

The goal of our reviews is to help players in Virginia enjoy the best gaming experience. The games themselves are at the center of this quest; hence, the operator needs to have a quality game library. Here’s what that means for us. First, the library should be supplied by the world’s best and most reputable providers. Secondly, games need to be mobile-friendly, because nowadays most of us prefer to play on our mobile devices.

Finally, the game library should be as diverse as possible with a good variety of online slots, roulette games, poker, blackjack, and live casino games. In this regard, few platforms beat BetRivers casino for fun, which offers top software and a massive library of over 450 games.  For sports, the site should offer a variety of different markets and sports to bet on, like SugarHouse sportsbook, for example.

Bonuses and promotions

Apart from the secure and entertaining gaming experience, one of the reasons why players are fond of online gambling in Virginia is the fact that they can claim tons of quality bonuses and promotions. Terms and conditions should be fair, and wagering requirements not too high. With social casinos, daily no deposit bonuses are par for the course, so it takes a lot to impress us. It takes a site like Gambino Slots, in fact, with its daily offer of free virtual money.

Available payment methods

Speaking of payment methods, Virginia legalized gambling sites should provide you with an array of payment methods through which you will be able to deposit and withdraw funds. The more payment methods are featured, the merrier.

However, you should pay extra attention to the banking policies, so make sure that you get familiar with minimum and maximum deposits/withdrawals, the processing times of each withdrawal, as well as whether fees are charged for any type of transaction. Sites like Borgata sportsbook, for example, are known for offering a very high number of deposit and withdrawal options (12 when we last checked) and for their transparent T&Cs.

Customer support

If you ever encounter a problem, the best gambling sites Virginia should have a responsive and efficient customer support team. This team must provide multiple channels through which you can get in touch with them (email, live chat, phone). The more responsive and effective solutions they provide, the better it will be for you.

One additional matter here is that the gambling sites in Virginia should have a FAQ/Help Center page. This is where you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding your account, deposits, withdrawals, games, bonuses, etc.

Mobile compatibility

Research shows that by 2025, over 70% of people will only use their mobile devices to browse the net. Hence, it is likely that Virginia legalized gambling industry will potentially feature special legislation concerning mobile gaming.

If mobile gaming becomes legal, then being mobile-friendly will be a must for casino operators. They will either have to be powered by HTML5, meaning that you will be able to access their sites via your mobile browser or have a special dedicated app that will enhance the mobile gaming experience.

Gambling regulators

Gambling regulators are in charge of making sure that the best Virginia online gambling sites meet the standards and operate according to the laws and regulations of the state. They license and oversee gambling sites in the state, providing players with a sense of security.

How? State-owned regulators are independent bodies whose sole purpose is to ‘force’ sites to work according to the laws. That way, the chances of a scam are brought to a bare minimum.

In Virginia, there’s just one regulator for gambling activities – the Virginia Lottery. The Virginia Lottery is an independent body whose executive director is appointed by the Governor. Apart from licensing and overseeing operators, the lottery is also responsible for equipment manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and employees within the gambling sector.

The regulator was established in 1987 and all of its profits are used to fund the education sector. It organizes multi-state and Virginia-specific lottery games in which players over 18 can participate via retail or online channels.

All winnings in Virginia are subject to income taxes. Prizes over $5,000 come with a 24% federal tax and 4% state tax. The lottery issues federal form W2-G to winners who snatch a prize higher than $6,000.

Finally, the Virginia Lottery has a few programs under its belt – Thank a Teacher Art Contest, Made in Virginia, Making a Difference, and Super Teacher, which ran from 2008 to 2017. So far, the regulator has given more than $10 billion to public education.

It is worth noting that the horse racing industry is under the wing of the Virginia Racing Commission, which was established in 1989. The Virginia Racing Commission, or just VRC, was put in charge of sustaining, regulating, and growing the horse racing industry, together with the pari-mutuel betting services that come with it.

Virginia gambling laws: a brief history

The history of gambling laws in Virginia dates back to 1973 when the local authorities legalized charitable gambling. Before that, residents were known to participate in various gambling activities, but they were considered criminal activities as the industry wasn’t regulated.

Everything changed with the creation of the Virginia Lottery. This was when the gambling industry started to flourish. With that being said, we’ve listed all the significant dates that led to the gambling expansion in Virginia.

Virginia Lottery
1987

Virginia lottery is founded

Virginia’s independent regulator was created in 1987. In a referendum, residents voted in favor of legalizing a state lottery, and the first ticket was sold a year later, in September 1988.

Virginia Horse Racing
1989

The Virginia Racing Commission is created

After the success of the Virginia Lottery, the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) was established in 1989, and it was in charge of overseeing the horse racing industry and pari-mutuel betting.

Virgina Racetrack
1997

Virginia’s first and only racetrack opens its doors

After an unsuccessful attempt to create a riverboat gambling commission in 1995, the efforts turned towards the horse racing industry. These efforts were successful as they led to the opening of Colonial Downs, which conducted races between 1997 and 2014. In 2018, the racetrack re-opened its doors to host Thoroughbred races.

Virginia Slot Machines
2004

EZ terminals arrive in Virginia

As the wagering industry continued to expand in the state, EZ terminals breached the market in 2004. These proved to be a massive success as many residents were fond of wagering on the machines.

Virginia Riverboat Gambling
2013

Failed attempt to legalize riverboat gambling

A second attempt at riverboat gambling was made almost 20 years after the first failed attempt. But just like its predecessor, the 2013 effort into trying to legalize riverboat gambling did not materialize.

Virginia Sports Betting
2020

Sports betting is officially legalized

After several attempts to legalize the sports betting industry, the effort finally paid off. SB384 and HB896 were passed in March 2020, and after a few weeks, lawmakers approved the amended versions. On April 22, 2020, sports betting was officially legalized in Virginia.

Virginia Online Bets
2021

Virginia receives its first online bets

A few months after the sports betting industry was legalized, online sports betting also took off. The first online bets were made on January 21, 2021, and by the end of the month, several operators were greenlit by authorities. Now, there are over a dozen online sportsbooks in Virginia.

Latest updates — new gambling venues are on the way

The Virginia legalized gambling industry is looking to expand as there are several efforts to make sure that the experience is boosted. New land-based casinos are being built, and online sportsbooks are looking to enter the market to offer their services.

In this section we take a closer look at some of the latest developments.

FAQs

Is online gambling legal in Virginia?

The only form of gambling that is legal in Virginia is online sports betting for now. If you’d like to learn more, on this page you’ll find our experts’ top picks of the best Virginia sports betting sites.

Can you gamble online in Virginia?

What is the legal Virginia gambling age?

The minimum legal gambling age in Virginia depends on the nature of the gambling. Online sports betting and retail sports betting carries a minimum age of 21; lottery games, bingo and DFS games are open to 18 years old and over. For more information check our Virginia gambling laws section.

What are the best online gambling sites in Virginia?

There are a number of online sports betting sites and social casinos available in Virginia. On this page we recommend those that have passed our experts’ tests with respect to a number of important criteria. To find our top recommendations, check our best Virginia gambling sites

What types of games can I play at social casinos in Virginia?

Social casinos are Virginia legalized gambling sites where you can gain access to pretty much every type of casino game – slots, poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, etc. However, they are free-to-play, which means that you won’t be able to win any real money rewards.

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