Virginia Gambling / Poker Laws

Virginia Legal Poker / Gambling Laws
Is Online Poker or Gambling Legal in Virginia?

Virginia is for lovers, or so goes the old tourism slogan for the state. It's also for American presidents (eight have been born there), those seeking education (more advanced institutions per capita than nearly any other state) and - of course - poker players. The population of the state is young, diverse and generally well-off, a demographic that generally enjoys high online poker participation rates. As the game's popularity continues to expand, more visitors contact us with questions about online poker in Virginia - questions that we'll cover in this always-updated Virginian's Guide to Playing Poker Online.

Virginia and Online Poker

Virginia: Best Options for Online Poker Sites

Choosing an online poker site doesn't sound like much of a task - until you set about doing it. That's when you realize how helpful it would be to have the perspective of other players who have already been in your situation, who have already compared all of the poker sites open to players from Virginia and assembled the best picks in a handy list. Good news: you do.  This real money Virginia poker page is continually updated and reflects operators with the top combination of promotional value, security and reliability:

How Do I Play Online Poker From Virginia?

There are certainly states in America - Washington comes to mind as one - where residents do face a real challenge finding an online poker site that will let them play real-money games. Virginia does not fall into that category, so playing poker online is just as easy as doing anything else online.

Once you choose a room and make an account, your only remaining hurdle will be depositing funds into that account.  The most popular methods for doing so for players from the state of Virginia: credit cards such as VISA and money-transfer services like MoneyGram.

Virginia Law and Online Poker Games

What view does Virginia law take of playing online poker for money?  Questions about gambling can be murky affairs, and questions about online gambling tend to be doubly so.  We don't pretend to have the legal background to offer absolute answers to such questions, but we can provide you with objective information about Virginia law and leave it to you to decide.

  • Virginia has a pretty standard definition of gambling provided via Section 18-2-325.  Basically, betting anything of value on anything that is "uncertain or a matter of chance" qualifies as illegal gambling in Virginia.
  • If you participate in illegal gambling as a player, you could face a misdemeanor charge (Section 18-2-326).
  • If you're on the business side of illegal gambling activity, there are a number of charges you could potentially face under Virginia law.  The primary charge for operators is "Conducting illegal gambling operation," which is a felony (Section 18-2-238).
  • Cheaters face an interesting punishment in Virginia.  Get caught cheating at gambling and you could be forced to a pay a fine equal to five to ten times the amount won via the cheating (Section 18-2-327).
  • Private gambling - commonly referred to as social gambling - is permitted in Virginia per the conditions set forth in Section 18-2-334.
  • Virginia law allows individual counties to come up with their own laws regarding gambling restriction, so players should check with their local law in addition to becoming familiar with state gambling law.

Read more: Virginia state code online [1].

Will Virginia Regulate Online Poker?

It's always tough to put a specific number on a state's chances of regulating online poker, but with Virginia it's safe to say that regulated online poker is, at best, an underdog. There simply isn't any indication that the state government intends to even look at the issue of online gambling. If regulation takes off in bordering states, then Virginia's chances improve - but they will still likely remain below average.

Virginia Gambling Facts

Overview of Regulated Gambling Options in Virginia

There are no casinos in the state of Virginia, and no tribal gambling facilities either. That leaves the Virginia Lottery, pari-mutuel betting and charitable gambling as the state's regulated gambling lineup. Social gambling also enjoys an exemption from Virginia gambling law.

What sort of activity is permitted under the charitable gambling exceptions to Virginia state law? The major forms are bingo games and raffles, with select additional activities available depending on the type and status of your organization. 

Does Virginia Offer any Regulated Online Gambling?

You won't find any Virginia-licensed online poker sites or casinos because they don't exist. The state of Virginia does not regulate any forms of Internet-based gambling - and it doesn't look they'll be getting into the business of doing so any time soon.

Recent Virginia Gambling Headlines

The talk in the year ahead will almost certainly be focused - possibly exclusively - on the potential for commercial casinos in the state. With a bill already filed that would legalize casinos [2] in Virginia, it promises to be an exciting few months ahead for advocates of expanded regulated gambling in the state. Right now it's too early to handicap the bill's chances, and any new casino in the region is certain to face stiff opposition from a variety of corners. As we've already discussed, advocates of regulated online gambling will probably face a much longer wait in Virginia.

Virginia Gambling Resources

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services [3]. The DACS is responsible for regulating charitable gambling in Virginia. Get all of the facts related to Virginia charitable gambling at the DACS homepage.

Casinos Near the DC Area [4]. This guide from About.com will walk you through all of the casino options in the region surrounding Virginia. While there aren't any casinos in Virginia, there are a number of options that are barely an hour away from most parts of the state.

Virginia Gambling Laws [5]. Complete text of the gambling and charitable gambling law on Virginia's books, along with text of all 50 state laws regarding gambling.

Sources & Citations For This Article on Virginia Online Poker