Beach Poker Room Closes As VA Untangles Charitable Casino Games

Posted on October 11, 2022

Operators behind Beach Poker Room didn’t go into specifics. But, there’s a hold on Texas hold ’em for there now.

Its Facebook page confirmed its temporary closure on Oct. 4. In addition, the Beack Poker Room website calls on supporters to sign a petition to “help us take this fight to the Supreme Court.” The phrasing suggests the Virginia Beach venue faced legal consequences if it continued to host card games.

Beach Poker Room’s Facebook post said:

“Due to many unfortunate circumstances, Beach Poker Room is temporarily closed. We are all very grateful for the support you have shown us over these past few years. Now we ask you to stay in contact as we work toward a solution.”

The post told supporters Beach Poker Room staff would continue “our path to create a fun and safe environment for the 757 community.”

“So many great friendships and memories were made at our tables. We have all seen the flop, hung in on the turn but the river is still coming.”

Beach Poker Room is a standalone charity poker operation. That status has always been a little murky in Virginia.

Beach Poker Room background: Charitable gaming isn’t new

As PlayVirginia previously explained, the Charitable Gaming Board is part of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). VDACS and the commercial gaming board agreed on charity regulations at the end of 2020. But many charities were already moving forward with fundraisers by then.

Plus, state regulators and the industry don’t agree on how to interpret the rules. The lack of clarity opened the door for unlicensed charitable poker rooms to operate. Most of them shut down when they faced a $50,000 fine. VA lawmakers made that threat over the summer.

Disputes may be new, but charitable gaming laws date back to the 1970s. The state formed strict rules with bingo in mind. Legislators prohibited poker and other card games under previous laws.

The 2020 changes — which allowed select cities to vote on casinos — also made charitable gaming legal. But the expansion passed without a clear set of rules for organizations to follow.

Poker is coming to three more cities in the near future. Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all have state permission to build casinos. A Richmond, VA casino is in limbo however. That’s because voters there rejected gambling in a 2021 referendum.

Card games are already underway at Bristol Casino — Future Home of Hard Rock. It was the first casino to open.

Photo by Shutterstock Image
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell covered news and sports in Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most decorated community newspapers in the state. He joined PlayIA as a lead writer and managing editor in 2021. He anxious to explore the growing Virginia gaming industry.

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