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Virginia Gambling & Online Poker Laws

Virginia PokerVirginia is a state that has tried to control gambling since the early 1600s. The online poker boom has brought forth questions for many residents of Virginia as well as residents of other states. Most states don’t have laws in place that specifically target online gambling, and Virginia is one of these states. It could be argued that the laws in place do pertain to online poker, and it also could be argued that they do not pertain to online poker. So, like many states in the US, online gambling falls into a grey area within the state of Virginia’s laws.

Can Players From Virginia Play Poker Online?

Yes! Residents of Virginia will have no problems finding a real money online poker site to play at. The most challenging part of playing at an online poker site for Virginian’s is depositing at the site. The US government has made it harder and harder over the years for players to deposit money at online poker sites, but it definitely has not made it impossible.

Players from Virginia log onto online poker sites every day and play real money poker games. If you are interested in playing poker online then we have partnered up with the best sites in the industry. You can sign up at one of these sites and begin playing for real money within a matter of minutes.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Virginia?

Is it legal to play online poker in my state is one of the most popular questions we receive. Unfortunately, for most states we can’t answer that question because the laws are broad and can be interpreted many different ways. Virginia laws do not address online poker or online gambling. What we can do is provide you with some of the regulations that may pertain to gambling online. You can see these regulations below:

  • Virginia defines illegal gambling as: Illegal gambling means the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth. (Section 18.2-325)
  • This definition of illegal gambling could be troublesome for online gamblers since it mentions that placing a bet on the result of any game is considered illegal.
  • Illegal gambling in the state of Virginia is considered a class 3 misdemeanor. (Section 18.2-326)
  • Home games are legal in the state of Virginia as long as no one is taking rake or charging a fee to participate in the game.
  • We have found no instance where an individual has been charged for gambling online in the state of Virginia. [1]

We encourage you to speak with a local attorney if you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in Virginia. We are not legal professionals, and we cannot answer the question of whether or not it is legal to play poker online in Virginia.

Virginia Gambling History

Virginia has been battling gambling for many centuries. The early settlers liked to gamble on just about everything. They would bet on athletic events, card games, dice games, and anything else they could bet on. Virginia passed laws in the early 1600s to try to curb the illegal gambling, but the laws did little to stop it. The law enforcement looked the other way when it came to illegal gambling in many instances they were involved in the gambling right alongside the so called criminals.

Virginia passed even more strict laws in the 1800s to try to stop the illegal gambling, but the outcome was the same. The laws did little to stop the gambling. Eventually in the early 1900s the lawmakers got a better hold on the illegal gambling.

The early 1900s brought some more changes to the state of Virginia. The state actually decided to legalize some gambling. They legalized pari-mutuel betting at the race tracks. This was very popular at that time, and it still continues to be popular to this day.

In November, 2000 the Virginia state voters approved a state lottery. The lottery includes instant scratch off tickets, and several big money drawing per week. This was a huge win for the gamblers within the state. [2]

Aside from betting on the races and the state lottery, charitable bingo games are about the only other form of gambling approved by the state.

Legalized Gambling Options in Virginia

Virginia definitely isn’t the most gambling friendly state. There are a few options for gambling within the state, though. Charitable gambling in the forms of bingo halls and raffles are permitted. Unfortunately the state does not allow casino nights, so big poker games are not permitted. Pari-mutuel betting at the horse tracks is another legal gambling option. Aside from that the only commercial gambling in the state of Virginia is the state lottery.

Will Virginia Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

Virginia is one of the states that really hasn’t said much about online gambling. I really don’t think that they will make a move to legalize online poker by themselves, but I think that it is possible that they will adopt it if the federal government chooses to legalize it.

I think that a lot of states are watching the states that have chosen to legalize online poker to see how it turns out for them. Hopefully, it will turn out good and we will see a lot more states follow suit.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Virginia Gambling Laws
  2. Jump up ^ Early Gambling in Virginia
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