Virginia is one of only a handful of states without a casino of any kind. However, that is set to change very soon. On November 3, 2020, voters approved the launch of Virginia casinos in the cities of Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk. Hard Rock plans to open a temporary casino in Bristol in July while they finish their permanent structure. Rivers Casino in Portsmouth will also be coming soon, in February 2023.
The capital city of Richmond could also house a casino, but the situation there is, well, messy. Richmond residents voted against the plan in November 2021. New referendums have been suggested for ballots, but those referendums have been delayed. Time will tell what ultimately happens.
For now, the best source of legal, regulated gaming for Virginians is online sports betting, which is accessible anywhere within state boundaries.
Best Online Sportsbooks in Virginia 2022
Did Virginia Legalize Online Gambling?
Yes, voters in Virginia voted to legalize online sports betting as well as land-based casinos. However, online casinos and poker sites are still considered illegal in the state.
While brick-and-mortar casinos, which will also house retail sportsbooks, are projected to open as early as July 2022, online sports betting became available in January 2021.
With the legalization of online gambling and the launch of online sports betting apps in Virginia, anyone over the age of 21 is able to register and make a deposit. But you need to be physically in the Commonwealth to place a bet.
Once casinos and their retail sportsbooks open, bettors in Virginia will be able to wager on sports in person and online.
Casinos Coming To Virginia
The following cities have approved a land-based casino:
Casinos in both Norfolk and Portsmouth means there will be the greatest concentration of casinos in the most populated part of Virginia: the Chesapeake Bay area.
Here are the four casinos we know will open within the next few years:
Caesars Virginia (Danville)
Caesars is a name synonymous with gambling. However, Caesars Entertainment also runs Harrah’s, Horseshoe Casinos, online apps, and more. The Caesars Danville location is set to be a new addition to the Caesars Rewards network. That means you can take advantage of your rewards points in over 50 different resorts and casinos.
The projected launch of Caesars Virginia is in early 2024. Unfortunately, however, the launch has already been pushed back several times, so we will see if they can
Many Virginians are already intimately familiar with other Caesars Entertainment properties. Horseshoe Baltimore, for example, is the second largest casino in Maryland. There are also two Harrah’s branded casinos run by the Cherokee nation in North Carolina that are popular destinations for folks in Virginia.
Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino
Now, this is an appropriate casino brand and city combination, if ever there was one. The Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino will be situated just down the street from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Move over, Memphis and New Orleans, because Bristol is getting back to its roots as an up and coming destination for fans of gambling and music.
Hard Rock is opening a temporary casino, called “Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock” on July 8. The full Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol is expected in the summer of 2024.
You can read more about the Hard Rock coming to Virginia in early 2022 directly on the Hard Rock website.
Headwaters Resort and Casino (Norfolk)
The Pamunkey tribe will open and operate a casino in the heart of Norfolk. This casino is set to be a staple of the Virginia Beach area, as it will be situated on the banks of the Elizabeth River. Its proximity to Chesapeake and even Richmond position it perfectly for a huge number of guests.
The expected launch of Headwaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk is summer or fall of 2024, with a temporary casino opening before then.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth
The Rivers Casino Portsmouth is another that will be situated in the heart of Virginia’s most populated and touristy areas.
But long before Rivers Casino Portsmouth opens their doors in 2023, bettors in Virginia will almost certainly have access to the BetRivers Sportsbook. This is one of the most popular sports betting brands in several states.
The brick-and-mortar Rivers Casino brand—which has locations in Pittsburgh, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Des Plaines, IL; and Schenectady, NY—is a quality choice that’s worth looking forward to as well.
Retail Sportsbooks In Virginia
In-person sports betting outlets will be located inside Virginia’s brick-and-mortar casinos. And because Virginia doesn’t have existing casino properties, the sportsbooks will open when the casinos do, beginning in July of 2022.
However, online sportsbooks are a totally valid, legitimate, and safe way to bet on sports. You get the same odds as you would going in person, and you’ll have a lot more choices because you can join as many as you want from your mobile device.
Even if you could teleport to each physical location, there will only be five by the end of 2024, whereas are over a dozen legal and high-quality sports betting apps and sites in Virginia right now.
Still, the atmosphere of a retail sportsbook—with the walls of giant TVs, screaming fans and bettors, and a full food and drink menu—can be a lot of fun.
But online sportsbooks should do a decent job of scratching the itch in the meantime. In fact, you could bet on sports from your phone while at a sports bar and grill, which is pretty close to a retail sportsbook atmosphere.
FAQ About Virginia Casinos
It depends. Right now, the gambling age in Virginia is 18 years or old for the Virginia lottery, betting on horse races, and daily fantasy sports (DFS). The age requirement for commercial casinos and online sportsbooks is 21 years old. The tribal casino in Norfolk run by the Pamunkey tribe will likely be 18 and up.
The Virginia Lottery is the government oversight agency that regulates all forms of gambling in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Beyond operating lottery gaming, they are in charge of setting regulations for both online sportsbooks as well as retail casinos and sportsbooks.
Four cities in Virginia have approved the opening of a casino. These are Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk. Richmond could potentially open a casino at some point in the future as well.
The DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app launched in 2021 as one of the first sportsbook apps available in the state. DraftKings’ DFS platform is legal in Virginia as well.
FanDuel Sportsbook—like DraftKings—launched in Virginia in 2021. Virginia residents also have access to FanDuel’s DFS offerings.