Virginia gambling is about to get some new rules aimed at electronic games and Texas Hold’Em tournaments. The state’s gambling industry has expanded big-time since launching nearly five years ago. Virginia now looks to add a nearly $1 billion gaming option to its portfolio.
Following years of unregulated electronic gaming — to the tune of $964 million in 2019 — the Virginia General Assembly is now aiming to regulate the industry and generate additional tax revenue.
Newly regulated games in Virginia
Electronic games are chief among the newly regulated options. These machines are often available at fraternal organizations, veterans groups, and various charitable programs and are used to boost fundraising. The machines grew in popularity after members of such organizations grew tired of bingo and wanted more exciting forms of entertainment.
Liam Gray, spokesperson for the Virginia Charitable Bingo Association, supports the new regulations. He told the Richmond Times Dispatch:
“It is our hope that, just as VDACS was so receptive to public feedback in the crafting of electronic gaming regulations, these comments will be given serious consideration so that the final poker regulations will be shaped in a way that works best for the charitable organizations, the playing public and the commonwealth as a whole.”
Texas Hold’em is also covered by the new regulations. The state’s General Assembly actually authorized the poker game in 2020. In-person tournaments have yet to take place, though the new regulations could spur new activity in that sector.
New rules put 20% of revenue toward charity
The regulations propose 20% of adjusted revenue goes to charitable initiatives. In comparison, 10% of gross receipts from bingo or pull-tab games go to charity.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) will track the newly regulated games to ensure bettors and charities get their fair share. VDACS initially pushed for a 40% contribution, but operators fought back, saying a percentage that high would make the odds worse for players of their games.
Virginia’s gambling growth
These new rules and regulations are the latest step in a long line of gambling expansion in Old Dominion. Virginia massively expanded its gambling market in 2018. Up until that point, only horse race betting, charitable gaming, and lottery were available in the state.
In 2021, Virginia opened its sports betting market, becoming one of many states to capitalize on the 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Bristol opened the state’s first retail casino in 2022. Rivers Casino in Portsmouth followed, and two more are in the works: Caesars Casino in Danville and Headwaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk.
The former is hiring for more than 400 positions ahead of its temporary location’s grand opening, targeted for July 2023. Richmond’s casino project has been mired by community opposition and myriad other issues, and it may make way for a Petersburg casino. That saga continues to play out in real time.
In recent news, DK Horse launched in Virginia. The app is a partnership between DraftKings and Churchill Downs. It allows bettors to wager on horse races around the world and stream them live within the app.
The latest addition to Virginia’s gambling industry will bring new electronic games and Texas Hold’em tournaments to the state. In other words, Virginia gambling continues to grow.