The gambling outlook in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia, a state steeped in history and tradition, has undergone a remarkable transformation in its approach to gambling. A landscape once characterized by restraint and conservatism has blossomed into a thriving hub for gamblers. With the legalization of various forms of gambling, including sports betting, casinos, and daily fantasy sports, Virginia has become a burgeoning market for gamblers.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 5 days ago

⏳ 23 mins read

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Gambling in Virginia image
Virginia coat of arms image

This article provides an in-depth look at the current state of gambling in Virginia as of 2023, exploring the legal framework, available options, and future prospects.

Virginia gambling laws and regulations

Virginia's rich history is a tapestry woven with threads of innovation, tradition, and evolution. Its approach to gambling is no different. Over the years, the state has gradually shifted from a conservative stance to a more open perspective towards gambling, culminating in the recent legalization of various forms of gambling.

The Virginia Lottery Board, a body imbued with the responsibility of overseeing the state's gambling laws and regulations, stands as a sentinel guarding the integrity of the industry. It ensures that all gambling activities are conducted fairly and transparently, protecting the interests of players while also promoting responsible gambling. This includes implementing measures to prevent problem gambling and ensuring that operators adhere to strict standards.

The Board's role is not merely regulatory; it's a stewardship of trust, a commitment to the principles of fairness, and a dedication to maintaining the delicate balance between entertainment and responsibility.


What is considered legal gambling

The tapestry of legal gambling in Virginia is rich and diverse, reflecting the state's progressive attitude towards this form of entertainment. Here's a closer look at what is considered legal gambling in the state:

  • Online sports betting: The year 2020 marked a watershed moment in Virginia's gambling history. The legalization of online sports betting opened a new frontier for residents and visitors, allowing them to place bets on a variety of sports events through licensed online platforms. The move has been well-received, with several operators now offering sports betting services in the state.
  • Horse racing and off-track betting: Horse racing, a sport with deep roots in Virginia's soil, remains a popular form of gambling. The thunder of hooves and the thrill of the race continue to captivate fans. The state allows legal and regulated horse racing and off-track betting, providing fans with numerous opportunities to engage in this exciting activity.
  • Lottery: the virginia lottery commission, a beacon of hope and dreams, operates the state lottery. Offering a variety of games to residents, the lottery contributes significant revenue to the state, with proceeds supporting public education.
  • Daily fantasy sports: In 2016, Virginia made history by becoming the first state to legalize daily fantasy sports. This form of online sports betting, a fusion of skill and chance, allows players to create virtual teams based on real players and compete against others based on the performance of these players in real games.
  • Land-based casinos: The opening of the first land-based casino in Bristol in 2022 was more than a milestone; it was a declaration of Virginia's commitment to providing a full-fledged casino experience to its residents and visitors. More casinos are planned, each promising to be a sanctuary of excitement and entertainment.


What is considered illegal gambling

While Virginia has made strides in legalizing various forms of gambling, some shadows linger in the landscape. Notably, online casino gaming is not regulated in the state. This means that while residents can access offshore online casinos, these are not licensed or regulated by the state and may pose risks to players. Engaging in unlicensed gambling activities is not just a breach of trust; it's a path fraught with danger and legal consequences.


Legal age to gamble in Virginia

In the Old Dominion, where history and tradition run as deep as the James River, the rules of the game are clear, especially when it comes to gambling. Virginia has laid its cards on the table, setting age restrictions that are more than just a roll of the dice; they're a carefully considered strategy to ensure responsible gambling and protect the young bucks who might be tempted to ante up before they're ready.

Horse racing and lottery: 18 Years Old

Now, let's talk horse racing and the lottery, where you can place your bets at the ripe age of 18. It's like a rite of passage in Virginia, where the thunder of hooves and the scratch of a lottery ticket are as American as apple pie. But don't think for a second that it's a free-for-all; the state keeps a watchful eye, making sure that those under 18 aren't trying to jump the gun.

Casinos and sports betting: 21 Years Old

When it comes to the high-stakes world of casinos and sports betting, Virginia plays it close to the vest. You've got to be 21, and no buts about it. It's not just about keeping the young ones from going all in too soon; it's about maturity, responsibility, and knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

You see, in the glitzy, glamorous world of casinos, where the chips can fall where they may, and fortunes can change faster than a New York minute, you need a cool head and a steady hand. And in sports betting, where the ball's always in someone's court, and the game can change as fast as the weather in the mountains, you need wisdom that often only comes with age.

Real money casinos in Virginia

The advent of real money casinos in Virginia marks a significant shift in the state's gambling landscape. These establishments offer a variety of games, including slots, table games, and poker, providing a comprehensive gambling experience.

Virginia gambling


Online casinos

Folks, online casinos in Virginia are like the Wild West, unregulated and full of surprises. Residents can saddle up for offshore online casinos, where a smorgasbord of games awaits, from spinning slots to thrilling poker. But beware, these offshore sites are not licensed by the state, playing by their own rules, and the protection isn't the same as with state-regulated sites. It's a gamble, akin to playing poker with an incomplete deck; the outcome is as unpredictable as a greased pig at a county fair. So, before you ride off into the digital sunset, remember that striking gold might also mean finding yourself up the creek without a paddle.


Land-based casinos

The times are indeed changing in Virginia, with the sound of slot machines ringing through the state. The opening of the Hard Rock Casino in Bristol in July 2022 marked a new era, bringing land-based casinos to the Old Dominion. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Other cities like Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth have received the green light for casino development, each planning a major attraction with diverse gaming options. It's like a carnival for grown-ups, with roulette wheels as rides and cash as prizes. Whether you're a high roller or just in for some fun, Virginia's land-based casinos are rolling out the red carpet, opening a new frontier in entertainment with possibilities as wide as the Shenandoah Valley.


Tribal casinos

When it comes to tribal casinos in Virginia, information is as scarce as hen's teeth, and we're venturing into uncharted territory. Tribal casinos are significant in the U.S., especially in states with a strong Native American presence. They're more than just casinos; they're symbols of heritage and tradition. In states like Oklahoma and California, they're as common as cornbread at a country fair. But in Virginia, the story of tribal casinos is still unfolding, with potential and interest keen as a fox in a henhouse. While details are elusive, the subject of tribal casinos in Virginia is far from closed. It's a chapter yet to be written in the ever-changing world of gambling in the Old Dominion, and the game's always worth playing.


Shipboard and floating casinos

Ahoy, readers! In Virginia, the waters of shipboard or floating casinos are as mysterious as a foggy night on the Chesapeake Bay. Information on these unique gambling experiences is hard to find, like looking for treasure without a map. Often found on riverboats or large vessels in other states, floating casinos combine the thrill of the game with the thrill of the open water. They're popular elsewhere, but in Virginia, the story of shipboard casinos is still a tale untold. It's a chapter waiting to be written, a voyage waiting to be taken. Until then, the idea remains a dream on the horizon, a glimmer of possibility in Virginia's ever-changing gambling landscape. In the world of gambling, where the unexpected is always just a card turn away, anything's possible.



Folks, if you're looking for a thrilling blend of horse racing and casino gaming, Virginia's racinos are the place to be. Colonial Downs is the star of the show, offering both horse racing and casino gaming in the heart of Virginia's countryside. It's like having your cake and eating it too, with the thunder of hooves meeting the jingle of slot machines. Imagine watching the horses charge down the stretch and then taking that excitement to the casino floor. It's a double dose of adrenaline, a fusion of two worlds, as American as a hot dog at a baseball game. Whether you're a fan of the Sport of Kings or a lover of Lady Luck, Virginia's racinos offer a one-stop shop for excitement, with action as hot as a summer day in Richmond.


Off-track betting

Hold your horses, Virginia! If the racetrack is out of reach, the excitement of the race can still come to you. With five off-track betting locations across the state, you can get in on the action without setting foot on the track. These locations are like a gambler's pit stop, offering pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, a window to the racetrack right in your hometown. Whether it's racinos or simulcast racing, Virginia's off-track betting brings the thrill of the race to your doorstep. It's a convenient way for horse racing enthusiasts to saddle up and join the race, even from afar. The race is on, Virginia, and the finish line's just a bet away.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "Virginia casinos near me":

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium – Hampton
Rosie's Gaming Emporium – Hampton, located in Hampton, Virginia, is the ultimate casino for fun. Open 8am-4am daily, it offers a unique twist on your favorite classic casino games, with all games based on past historical horse races and the results seen on the "slot machine-type" reels for entertainment purposes only. So why wait? Visit Rosie's Gaming Emporium for the most enjoyable entertainment in Hampton, Virginia.
1996 Power Plant Parkway, Hampton, VA 23666
Phone Number:
(804) 557-5600
Rivers Casino Portsmouth
Rivers Casino Portsmouth, located in Portsmouth, Virginia, offers guests an entertaining and relaxing experience with its four restaurants, and variety of games such as Slots, Video Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Poker, Texas Hold 'Em, and Three and Four Card Poker. There's something at this casino for everyone, so why not come and visit Portsmouth's Rivers Casino and try your luck?
3630 Victory Boulevard, Portsmouth, VA 23701
Phone Number:
(757) 840-2100
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol is located in Bristol, Virginia and is the ultimate destination for entertainment and relaxation. The property features two bars and three restaurants, an expansive and luxurious casino and gaming area, several amenities and luxury spa treatments, and top-notch entertainment that can accommodate up to 600 people. For an overwhelming experience, you can call the toll-free number 844-490-4625. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol is the spot to stay and play in Bristol, Virginia.
500 Gate City Highway, Bristol, VA 24201
Phone Number:
(276) 696-3660
Rosie’s Gaming Emporium – New Kent
Rosie's Gaming Emporium - New Kent is located in New Kent, Virginia and is inside the Colonial Downs Racetrack. Open from 8am-2am/4am on Fridays and Saturdays, Rosie's offers entertaining ways to play. Instead of traditional slot machines, all games are based on past horse races and the results seen on the reels are for entertainment purposes only. The thrill of the race continues at Rosie's Gaming Emporium - New Kent.
10515 Colonial Downs Parkway, New Kent, VA 23124
Phone Number:
(804) 966-7223
Rosie’s Gaming Emporium – Dumfries
Rosie's Gaming Emporium in Dumfries, Virginia is the local favorite for a good time. Offering a classic gaming experience, the Emporium has 8am-2am (4am on Fridays and Saturdays) hours and plenty of old-school games to choose from. All games are based on historical horse races and the results on the entertainment-only slot machine-type reels provide big thrills - and even bigger wins! With old-fashioned hospitality and a friendly atmosphere, it's no wonder Rosie's Gaming Emporium has become the area's go-to spot for gaming fun.
18069-E Triangle Shopping Plaza, Dumfries, VA 22026
Phone Number:
(804) 557-5699
Rosie’s Gaming Emporium – Richmond
Rosie's Gaming Emporium – Richmond offers a unique twist on traditional casinos. Located in Richmond, Virginia, this gaming emporium celebrates the rich horse racing history of the state with its innovative game options. Here, all games are based on past historical horse races, and the “slot machine-type” reels are for entertainment purposes only. Open from 8am-4am/6am (Fri/Sat), Rosie's Gaming Emporium – Richmond is the perfect place for a night of Galloping Racing action. Try it out today and experience Virginia's most exciting gaming experience!
6807 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23225
Phone Number:
(804) 557-5500
Rosie’s Game Room – Collinsville
Rosie's Game Room in Collinsville, Virginia, offers 37 gaming machines located in an off-track betting facility, with hours 8am-2am (4am Fri/Sat). Perfect for entertainment purposes, Rosie's Game Room allows you to test your luck and take a break from the traditional horse races with "slot machine-type" reels. Come down and experience the thrill at Rosie's Game Room in Collinsville!
2360 Virginia Avenue, Collinsville, VA 24078
Phone Number:
(804) 557-5709
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Sports betting

Legalized in 2020, sports betting has become a thrilling new frontier in Virginia. With 14 betting options available, ranging from traditional establishments to online platforms, the state has embraced wagering on everything from football to soccer. Several more licenses are open for casinos and sports franchises, signaling a commitment to expanding the betting landscape. This expansion has boosted the local economy, creating jobs, increasing tax revenue, and fostering a competitive market. The legalization and regulation have also brought transparency and security, ensuring bettors can wager with confidence. In Virginia, sports betting is more than just a game; it's a thriving industry enriching the state's cultural fabric and offering sports fans a new way to connect with the games they love. It's a dynamic field, and Virginia is leading the charge, making sports betting an exciting part of the state's identity.

Sports betting virginia

Social casinos

In the world of gambling and entertainment, social casinos offer a unique, risk-free experience. However, information about social casinos in Virginia is as elusive as a winning streak on a tough night. Social casinos are platforms that offer free-to-play casino games like slots, poker, and blackjack, without the financial stakes of traditional casinos. Accessible through online and mobile applications, they allow players to enjoy the thrill of the game without opening their wallets. While specific details about Virginia's social casinos may not be available, the concept is gaining traction nationwide. Social casinos appeal to a wide audience, from seasoned gamblers to newcomers, democratizing casino entertainment. It's a new frontier in gaming, blending social interaction with classic casino fun, and a trend likely to continue to evolve and expand.

Daily fantasy sports

Virginia has emerged as a trailblazer in the world of daily fantasy sports, becoming the first state to legalize this popular form of entertainment. Unlike traditional fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports contests allow participants to create virtual teams based on real players and compete in daily or weekly contests. Virginia's decision to legalize and regulate has provided a secure and transparent environment, ensuring fairness and confidence for players. This legislation has allowed the industry to flourish, attracting major platforms and players from across the country, and contributing positively to the economy. Virginia's success in daily fantasy sports is more than a local phenomenon; it's a national trendsetter, turning a niche hobby into a mainstream pastime. It's a vibrant part of the sports landscape in Virginia, a bold step into the future, and a celebrated and integral part of the state's sporting culture.

DFS Virginia


Bingo, a game often associated with community gatherings and social enjoyment, has an elusive presence in Virginia. Traditionally played in community centers, churches, and social clubs, Bingo is more than just a game; it's a social event and often a means to raise funds for charitable causes. Specific local regulations may apply, but details in Virginia are not readily available. Despite this lack of information, Bingo's appeal lies in its simplicity, camaraderie, and the thrill of the chase. Its universal appeal resonates with people of all ages, from the young to the seasoned players. While the specific landscape of Bingo in Virginia may remain a mystery, its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless charm. In Virginia, Bingo is a cherished tradition that continues to enrich the social fabric of communities across the state.


Poker in Virginia thrives in both land-based casinos and online platforms, offering a blend of skill, strategy, and luck that resonates with enthusiasts. Venues like Rivers Casino Portsmouth have become hotspots for live poker action, providing a range of games and a thrilling environment. While online poker is not regulated within the state, offshore sites are accessible, offering a convenient way to play from home. The combination of live poker and online platforms creates a rich tapestry of options for poker enthusiasts, catering to various preferences. Though the lack of state-regulated online poker may limit some options, the overall landscape is vibrant and dynamic. In Virginia, poker is more than just a card game; it's a passion, a hobby, and a social experience that continues to attract players of all ages. Whether a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, Virginia's poker scene welcomes all.

Gambling tips

In the exciting world of gambling, Virginia offers a diverse array of options, from land-based casinos to online platforms, horse racing to poker. While the thrill of the game is undeniable, it's essential to approach gambling with caution, responsibility, and an understanding of the legal landscape.

Here are some general tips for those looking to engage in gambling activities in Virginia:

  • Know the legal age requirements: Different gambling activities may have varying age restrictions. For example, the legal age for horse racing and lottery is 18, while casinos and sports betting require individuals to be at least 21. Always ensure you meet the age requirements before participating.
  • Understand the legality: Not all gambling options are regulated in Virginia. While land-based casinos are legal, online gambling is not regulated, and offshore sites may carry risks. Always verify the legality of the platform or establishment you are engaging with.
  • Gamble responsibly: Gambling should be viewed as a form of entertainment, not a way to make money. Set limits on time and money spent, and never gamble more than you can afford to lose. If gambling becomes a problem, seek professional help.
  • Consult the rules and regulations: Whether playing at a casino, participating in sports betting, or engaging in other gambling activities, always consult the specific rules and regulations of the game or establishment. Understanding the rules enhances the enjoyment of the game and ensures fair play.
  • Be Aware of local regulations: Gambling regulations may vary across different localities within Virginia. Always be aware of local laws and ordinances that may apply to the specific gambling activity you are engaging in.
  • Stay Informed: Stay up to date with the latest developments in Virginia's gambling landscape, including new laws, regulations, and opportunities. Knowledge is power, and staying informed ensures a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Seek professional guidance if needed: If you have questions or concerns about gambling laws, taxes, or other legal matters, don't hesitate to seek professional guidance. Legal and financial professionals can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific situation.

In Virginia, as in all gambling jurisdictions, the key to an enjoyable experience lies in understanding the rules, playing within your means, and approaching the games with a sense of fun and responsibility. By following these general tips and always being mindful of the specific context in Virginia, players can enjoy the excitement of gambling while minimizing risks and maximizing enjoyment.

The history

The history of gambling in Virginia is a tapestry woven through time, reflecting the state's evolving attitude toward this form of entertainment and its integration into local culture.

Modern gambling in Virginia began to take shape with the introduction of the lottery in 1988. This marked a significant step in the state's embrace of regulated gambling, providing a legal avenue for residents to engage in this popular pastime. The lottery's success laid the groundwork for further expansion and acceptance of gambling within the state.

Horse racing followed closely, with legalization in 1989. This brought the excitement of the racetrack to Virginia, reviving a tradition that had deep roots in the state's history. The establishment of racinos, combining horse racing with casino gaming, further enriched the landscape, offering a unique blend of sports betting and casino entertainment.

The recent expansions in sports betting and the opening of land-based casinos have marked a new era in Virginia's gambling journey. Sports betting, legalized in 2020, has quickly become a thriving industry, attracting players from all over the country. The arrival of land-based casinos, such as the Hard Rock Casino in Bristol, has added a new dimension to the state's gaming options, providing a wide variety of gaming experiences for both residents and visitors.

Throughout this rich history, Virginia's approach to gambling has been characterized by careful consideration, regulation, and a commitment to responsible gaming. The state has navigated the complex world of gambling with a balanced approach, recognizing its potential for economic growth while also implementing measures to ensure fairness, transparency, and protection for players.

The story of gambling in Virginia is a reflection of broader social and cultural trends, mirroring the state's changing values and its willingness to adapt and innovate. From the early days of the lottery to the modern landscape of casinos, sports betting, and online platforms, Virginia's gambling history is a dynamic and evolving narrative.It's a story that continues to unfold, with new chapters being written and new opportunities on the horizon. As Virginia looks to the future, its rich history of gambling serves as both a foundation and a guide, pointing the way toward continued growth, diversity, and responsible enjoyment of this timeless form of entertainment.


The future

Folks, the future of gambling in Virginia is shining brighter than the stars over the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the opening of the first land-based casino and more in the pipeline, the Old Dominion is rolling the dice on a new era of entertainment.

But that's only a small part of the whole picture. There's talk in the wind about potential considerations for online gaming, and that could open doors wider than the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Imagine logging in from the comfort of your home and joining a poker game or spinning the roulette wheel. It's a tantalizing thought, and it's got folks buzzing like bees in a clover field.

The landscape of gambling in Virginia is changing, and it's changing fast. It's like a river that's burst its banks, flowing into new territories and bringing with it a wave of excitement and opportunity.

So whether you're a high roller or just looking to have a little fun, keep your eyes on Virginia. The future's as promising as a winning hand in a game of blackjack, and it may see a further expansion that'll make the state a gambler's paradise.

Get ready, Virginia; the game's just getting started, and the stakes are about to get even higher. The future's calling, and it's a bet worth taking.

Virginia gambling

Responsible gaming in virginia

While specific information on responsible gaming programs in Virginia is not available, it is crucial for players to be aware of their gambling habits and seek help if needed.

In conclusion, Virginia's gambling landscape has evolved significantly, offering various legal options for residents and visitors. The state continues to explore new opportunities, reflecting a progressive approach to gambling regulation and entertainment. The future may hold further expansions, solidifying Virginia's position as a key player in the American gambling industry.


Is online gambling legal in the state of Virginia?

Online gambling is not regulated in Virginia. While residents can access offshore online casinos, these sites are not licensed or regulated by the state, and players may not have the same level of protection as they would with a state-regulated site.

How does the state of Virginia oversee online gambling platforms?

Virginia does not currently regulate online gambling platforms, including offshore online casinos. As such, there is no oversight or licensing by the state for these sites, and players are advised to exercise caution when engaging with them.

Is it permissible to use a VPN for online gambling while in Virginia?

The information provided does not specifically address the use of VPNs for online gambling in Virginia. However, since online gambling is not regulated in the state, using a VPN to access offshore sites may carry risks, and players should be aware of potential legal implications.

Are there any state-regulated online casinos operating legally in Virginia?

As of the information gathered, there are no state-regulated online casinos operating legally in Virginia. Residents can access offshore online casinos, but these are not licensed or regulated by the state, and players should exercise caution when using them.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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