Virginia was once one of only a handful of states without a casino of any kind. But on November 3, 2020, voters approved the launch of Virginia casinos in the cities of Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk. Richmond had a similar measure set, but Richmond residents ultimately voted against the plan in November 2021.
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 in early to mid-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 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:
The Horseshoe brand is run by Caesars Entertainment, and the Horseshoe 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 (including Caesars and Harrah’s properties).
The projected launch of Horseshoe Danville is early 2022.
Many Virginians are already intimately familiar with Horseshoe Baltimore, 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.
You can read more about the Hard Rock coming to Virginia in early 2022 directly on the Hard Rock website.
Pamunkey Resort and Casino in Norfolk
The Pamunkey tribe will open and operate a casino in the heart of Norfolk. The exact name is uncertain, but it will likely either be “Pamunkey Resort and Casino” or “Norfolk Resort and Casino.”
Either way, this casino is set to be a staple of the Virginia Beach area, as it will be situated in the heart of Norfolk 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 the Pamunkey casino in Norfolk is 2022 or 2023.
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. The earliest you can expect a retail sportsbook to open is sometime in 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 2023, whereas there could be over a dozen legal and high-quality sports betting apps and sites in Virginia by the end of 2021.
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
18. Right now, the gambling age in Virginia is 18 years or old. However, this applies to Virginia’s current (and limited) gambling options. These include 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 will be 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.
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.