Virginia is at the top of the charts in terms of population. Here, the state has more than eight million people. With the large size, there is a smaller area of land. With just 42,000 square miles of land, their state comes in at 35th. The nicknames for Virginia include; The Mother of Presidents which is a pretty big title. The reasoning behind this nickname is George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and many others. Virginia is known to be the birthplace of the nation to some as well.
Virginia is a very conservative and religious state, and this is the reason why no casino gambling is offered to its citizens. Many want to play it, but not enough to make it approved. There have been attempts to legalize riverboat casinos, but these haven’t even reached the State Senate as the citizens and representatives don’t see the casino industry as fit for the state.
The same situation applies for Native Americans, as their tribes haven’t made any signs of progress toward building casinos on their lands. The Pamunkey tribe is trying to change this situation with plans to build a resort and casino in a $700 million investment, a huge project that still lacks support to move forward.
Even if the partnerships are established to build the casino, an agreement with the state is always still necessary. The regular incentive for the state to make it happen would the tax returns, something that happens in many states, but just not the case of Virginia yet which seems to be differently motivated.
Gambling in Virginia
The legal background makes it so that gamblers need to go to other states to play casino games. Unfortunately for the citizens of Virginia, there are zero land-based casinos within the state. Though land-based casinos are not found in Virginia due to the lack of votes that were submitted by the voters, some within the state still do want to play.
Fortunately for those, there are two exceptions: off-track betting and the state lottery. There are 36 states which offer a lottery. Many don’t know this, but Virginia was the first state to lead the pack on this very popular type of gambling. Like many states, players must be 18 to buy lottery tickets for; Pick 3, Pick 4, Scratchers, Decades of Dollars, Win For Life, Powerball and Mega Millions.
At the same time, it is somewhat strange that an anti-gambling state has a lottery, one of the games with the worst odds in terms of odds for gamblers, giving a bigger advantage to the house.
Horse racing was available in Virginia, but the racetrack Colonial Downs, located in New Kent County, that held races between 1997 and 2014, is no longer operating, and there are rumors that it will be converted in a golf course, confirmed by the fact that the racetrack site is no longer active.
Colonial Downs was the only live betting provider of the state, so all the gambling money from the citizens of the state will continue to flow to neighboring states.
Online gambling in Virginia is undefined, as there are no laws allowing it or forbidding it. Off-track betting does exist, as mentioned above, which somewhat qualifies as a sort of legal online gambling though, apart from having 5 physical locations: Richmond, Alberta, Hampton, Chesapeake, and Vinton.
This is all the legal gambling available in Virginia.
Curiosity: Despite the legal limitations of gambling in Virginia there are several proposals for new legislation. State senator Louise Lucas presented to the Committee on General Laws and Technology a full arsenal of casino legislation, but only the SB1400 poker bill survived, all the other bills were struck down by this committee.
The bill is now through the Senate to be voted in the state House of Delegates. If approved, it could establish poker as a game of skill and, therefore, totally legal in Virginia. The goal of the rejected bills would be to face the crossing of Virginia dollars to Maryland MGM National Harbor casino, but these efforts were unsuccessful, leaving the citizens of Virginia with one of the most limited gambling scenarios in the country.