Virginia is one of the states in the US where the casino industry has taken too long to develop. The main obstacle to this development is legislation. The state lagged in legalizing casino gambling until 2019.
Legislators only approved five cities within the state where casino resorts would be built. The residents had to be involved and had the power to either reject or allow construction. The state legalized retail and online sports betting in 2021 after the senate passed SB 384 and SB 896.
Just like Virginia, Michigan online sports betting was legalized in 2021. The bill was passed in December 2019, but it took effect in January 2021. Residents are allowed to place bets from any place within Michigan borders as long as they have an internet connection.
New operators to launch casinos in Virginia in 2022
Virginia residents are expecting new casino products to be launched across various cities this year. Despite these developments, the state’s gambling laws are some of the worst due to their restrictive nature.
Online casino games are still prohibited in most counties, although there were recent approvals for land-based casinos. Each time there is a new entrant in the gambling market, it causes a celebration in Virginia’s residents.
What gambling laws are there in Virginia?
Already, there are established gambling laws in Virginia. Unfortunately, they don’t show a clear distinction between traditional and online gambling. Both forms of gambling have remained illegal for many years until recently. So far, only five cities are allowed to have casinos.
Although there is no prohibition in the five cities, the residents must hold a referendum to decide whether they want a casino built in their city or not. What the residents pass is final, no matter the value of the investment the casino investor wants to bring to the city.
It is true the laws are prohibitive, but they still have their good side. The regulatory laws are so concrete that it is not easy to hear any resident complain about fraud or theft. Any visitor from other states who love gambling can never regret it if they include gambling as one of the things to do in Virginia. The casinos are strictly monitored to make sure they follow all the rules.
Indian gaming casinos will soon open in Virginia
To date, Virginia is one of the few states in the US where you will not find any native casino. However, there is hope now because two Indian land-based casinos will begin operating soon. The Pamunkey and Seminole Indian tribes were allowed to start operations in July 2022. The Pamunkey Tribe signed an agreement with Norfolk City authorities to build a $500 million casino and hotel in the city. The agreement was approved by voters in November 2020, but it’s expected to open doors in 2023.
Definition of casino gaming in Virginia
The governor of Virginia signed into law legislation passed by the general assembly in 2019. The law allowed the building of casino facilities in the cities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Norfolk, Richmond, and Danville. According to the laws, the minimum gambling age in casinos is 21. Gamblers who are 18 years are allowed to play poker, bingo, or bet on horse racing. Sports betting is restricted to 21 years and above.
The law defines casino betting as slot machines, baccarat, roulette, blackjack, online gaming, poker, push cards, keno, sports betting, and roulette. The law authorizes the betting board to approve any other wagering activity or device. The legalization of sports betting was good news for baseball fans, although the law is not clear on the difference between online betting and land-based betting.
Can you place online bets in Virginia?
The signing of HB 896 and SB 384 by Governor Ralph Northam legalized sports betting in Virginia. All forms of betting are covered in this law. However, although online casinos remain prohibited in Virginia, the law allows online sportsbooks in a limited number of cities. Legislators have to change the law to legalize online casinos in the state.
The legislation has to put a clear separation between land-based casino laws and online casinos. A lot of construction is happening for land-based casinos in the five approved cities. Some of them will open within 2022, while others in 2023.