Virginia, or the Commonwealth of Virginia to give the state its full, official title, is a state steeped in history. Its population of 8,654,542 ranks Virginia as the 12th most populous state. Many of those 8.6 million Virginians love nothing more than to bet on sports, gamble at the casino, and play poker. The question is: can they enjoy those activities legally and safely from the comfort of their homes?
Virginia online casino gambling exists. Betting sites accept Virginia players, but those sites are offshore operations. Players get paid at the whim of the online casino. Though they likely won't be prosecuted, it isn't safe. We recommend Virginia residents avoid online casinos until the Commonwealth's leaders approve legal and licensed online casinos.
Legal Online Gambling in Virginia
Virginia is one of the last states not to have a brick-and-mortar within its borders. That fact is set to change as early as July 2022, but we will cover that shortly.
Sweepstakes casinos are both widespread and popular forms of online casinos that are legal in almost all of the 50 states, including Virginia. They are strikingly similar to traditional online casinos in that you can win real money. However, they make this possible by using what the industry calls a double currency system.
Most sweepstakes casinos use Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins to operate their online slots and, sometimes, table games such as online blackjack and online roulette. Gold Coins are essentially "play money" and, as such, have no monetary value. You receive a bunch of Gold Coins when you sign up for a sweepstakes casino, and you can purchase more if you wish.
Sweeps Coins are the key to sweepstakes casinos. These Sweeps Coins work the same way as the aforementioned Gold Coins, except players can redeem them for cash prizes. You usually receive Sweeps Coins when purchasing Gold Coins. Conveniently, the bonus Sweeps Coins you receive are redeemable for the same amount of money you spend acquiring them!
Sweepstakes casinos are 100% legal for two stand-out factors. First, Sweeps Coins are not technically a currency, even though they are redeemable for U.S. dollars. In addition, you do not buy Sweep Coins because they are gifted to you for purchasing Gold Coins. Second, it is possible to send a request to the sweepstakes casino and request some free Sweeps Coins. The company will respond and give you a small amount of them, covering the "no purchase necessary" aspect of sweepstakes laws. As a result, playing at a sweepstakes casino is not considered online gambling in Virginia.
Some see sweepstakes casinos as circumnavigating gambling laws, but they are 100% legal and permitted across America.
Other Forms of Legal Gambling in Virginia
Virginia has a long history with gambling despite what its prohibitive laws suggest. A look at the Virginia lottery shows the Commonwealth's ambivalence towards gambling.
History of Legal Online Gambling in Virginia
Virginia's gambling ban came crashing down in early 2020 when the state passed the SB 1126 gambling bill.
Top Virginia Land-Based Casinos
Hard Rock Casino Bristol
HeadWaters Resort & Casino
Rivers Casino Portsmouth
Virginia's Brick-and-Mortar Casino Industry
Land-based casinos were outlawed in Virginia as recently as 2020 when a revised gambling bill opened the door for referendums to begin their construction. Virginia granted five cities the authorization to build a casino, although only four of those cities voted in favor of their construction.
Online Gambling Virginia FAQ
Can you gamble online in Virginia?
You can gamble online in Virginia in numerous ways, such as sports betting or playing at a sweepstakes casino. Virginia started to revise its gambling laws in early 2020, and while not all forms of online gambling are legal in the state as of yet, it is likely simply a matter of time.
Is online gambing legal in VA?
Online gambling in Virginia is legal for certain forms of gambling. It depends on what you are trying to do. Online sports betting, horse betting, and lottery are all legal and licensed.
Sweepstakes casinos exist, but they aren't licensed. Offshore online casinos are not technically legal. Players at these sites don't have the legal protections they would at licensed Virginia online gambling sites.
Can you play blackjack online for real money in Virginia?
The only way you can play blackjack online for real money in Virginia at the moment would be at an offshore casino. Offshore casino sites aren't based in the US and don't need to follow individual state rules around online gambling.
Virginia currently does not designate playing at an online casino as a legal activity. Players can play without being prosecuted, but such gambling isn't safe. Your payouts are subject to the site's terms and conditions, so you might never get paid.