Is Sports Betting Legal in Virginia?

Virginia’s sports scene is not anything special. They have a few biggish collegiate basketball programs, but they do not have any professional franchises to drive up interest any further. Instead, they piggyback off the sports teams from surrounding areas, mainly those located in Washington, D.C. Not surprisingly, Virginia’s approach to gambling laws isn’t very ambitious. They have no reason to be.

Virginia Sports Betting Law

The question in Virginia isn’t whether sports betting is legal. It’s whether any form of gambling is illegal. With no casinos, Virginia has no incentive to push the sports betting bill. Residents might be saved by the fact that nearby states—like New York and New Jersey—are trying to implement legalized sports gambling. The passage of new laws in either of those places might push Virginia to do the same. That’s a big might, but it’s something.

Sorry, No Casinos Here

Virginia remains staunchly opposed to opening casinos. Their resistance, in fact, is rivaled only by the super conservative state of Utah. The best shot residents have at seeing a casino lies on the tribal front. Big corporations have no chance.

And yet, even tribes will be hard-pressed to get a casino license. The Pamunkey tribe attempted to in 2015, but their unofficial interest nearly derailed their federal approval process. Indeed, most state officials over the year have come out against the erection of casinos within the state. They maintain these establishments are immoral, and that they wouldn’t help drive much revenue when there are more appealing casino options found within neighboring territories like Atlantic City.

Daily Fantasy Sports Have the Go-Ahead

Since Virginia remains so opposed to casinos, it’s only natural they…approve of daily fantasy sports?

This makes little sense, given the state’s positions on other gambling fronts, but they recognized daily fantasy sports as a legal activity back in 2016.

Companies like Draft Kings and FanDuel must pay a steep licensing fee and adhere to other regulations, but they have gladly obliged. And knowing how few options there are to satisfy betting fixes in Virginia, sports enthusiasts should be happy about this outcome.

OTB Dog and Horse Racing Only

In yet another against-the-grain development, Virginia allows its residents to gamble on horse and dog races. However, this applies to off-track betting (OTB) only. Wagers must be placed from a designated location, be it online or from an OTB establishment, which usually offers a lounge-style atmosphere in which you can watch your off-site bets unfold in real-time.

Faint Hope for Legal Sports Betting

One of the scant hopes for sportsbetting in Virginia lies with…the National Basketball Association.

The NBA has been talking about expansion for quite some time. They have 30 teams and, the thinking goes, want to add another two. Seattle is due to get a franchise again if that happens, while the second location is still up in the air.

Virginia might end up being that second choice.

Virginia beach is viewed as an untapped sports market—for basketball in particular—and the Association has specifically noted it as a possibility in the past. Why is this significant? Because current NBA commissioner Adam Silver is one of the strongest proponents for legalized sports betting. If and when the league decides to set up shop in Virginia, you can bet it’ll try making its placement contingent upon the state supporting a sports betting bill of some kind.


Virginia Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Virginia at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Not legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Not legal
  • Poker: Not legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: OTB only
  • Dog-Race Betting: OTB only
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Legal
  • Social Gambling: Legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

Virginia Sports Teams

Virginia Commonwealth Rams (College Basketball)

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams have only recently turned into one of the nation’s more recognizable college basketball programs.

They have made an NCAA tournament appearance in every year since 2011, when they shocked the entire country by making it all the way to the semifinal round.

Head coach Shaka Smart, who took the reins in 2010, is at the center of this transformation. His team plays mistake-free basketball, so to speak, and he’s often mentioned as a potential option whenever an NBA head coaching vacancy opens up.

Virginia Tech Hokies (College Football)

Twenty-four. That’s how many consecutive Bowl games the Virginia Tech Hokies have been to—which is, just so you know, an astounding number.

They’re a paltry 12-12 through these 24 competitions, and they haven’t factored into the big-time Bowl game equation since 2011, but this is nevertheless impressive.

Besides, the 2016 season may have marked a turning point for the 114-year-old program. Under new head coach Justin Fuente, the Hokies went 10-4, their best record since 2011. Tack on another victory or two in 2017, and they will receive some serious consideration for more prominent Bowl-game placement.

George Mason Patriots (College)

The George Mason Patriots are still living off their darling NCAA Tournament performance in 2006. They entered March Madness as a severe underdog, yet somehow made it all the way to the national semifinal. They have only made one tournament appearance since, in 2011, during which they threw brackets everywhere for an upside down whirl by once again making it past the second round. In no way are the Patriots one of college basketball’s biggest draws.

They’ve made just six tournament appearances through 39 seasons. But they hold a special place in the lore of Virginia’s otherwise barren sports market.

Virginia’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

Billed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” the Blue Ridge Marathon is one of the best under-the-radar races, according to multiple rankings. Participants slog through nearly 7,500 feet of total elevation, while enjoying some of the most gorgeous scenery America has to offer.

Don’t worry, racers don’t have to run all 26.2 miles to enjoy the view. The Blue Ridge Marathon offers half-marathon and 10K options.

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