Virginia Gambling Laws

Virginia is a wonderfully rich historic and cultural state.  There’s plenty to do; many activities in which to participate but gambling cannot be counted on that list.  While the state conducts a lottery and allow pari-mutuel betting, other forms are prohibited.  The state, however, does permit charitable gambling as a means of ensuring that philanthropic entities are able to use gambling for the well-being of society.  Social gambling is also permitted and is a popular source of entertainment for Virginians.  Permitted forms of social gambling (per Section 18-2-334) include playing bingo and raffles.  Per state statute, Virginal defines (illegal) gambling as making a bet on some of value for which the expectation of winning is “uncertain or a matter of chance.  While legal gambling allows for people to play games of chance, that is under the provision that they do not wage anything or put anything of value up to win a bigger payout or prize.

Illegal gambling is a misdemeanor offense pursuant to Section 18-2-326.  Players are treated less harshly than operators with respect to illegal gambling because operators engage in the practice to make profit rather than have a good time and make profit.  Operators believed to be involved in illegal gambling can be charged with “conducting an illegal gambling operation.” Unlike misdemeanors directed at play, this charge is a felony.  Ultimately, the state permits local legislators to decide how best to deal with gambling ordinances to deal with local issues although, for the most part, the activity is illegal throughout the state.

Online Gambling

The state of Virginia does not have online gambling and it does not have any laws on the topic.  One way or the other, the state has not addressed the recent trend.

Recent Developments

Starting in 2012, a movement to legalize gambling (more options) and bring in casinos began.  This year, a bill sponsored by state senator L. Louise Lucas stalled when the senator asked for it to be shelved a year so as to allow her time to gain more conservative support for the measure.  This hiatus can be viewed favorably if it does, in fact, lead to the senator getting the votes needed for passage or disfavorably if the bill ultimately fails.

Casinos in Virginia

There are no casinos in the entire state.



  • Weiner, R. (2014, February 5). No Casino Gambling Bill in Virginia this Year. Retrieved from
  • Virginia Crimes and Offenses. Retrieved from

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