Virginia Police Set Up Tip Line, Online Form To Report Illegal Gambling

Written By Phil West on December 11, 2023
Man talking on phone with Virginia and gambling logos on shirt on story about illegal gambling tip line in the state.

To crack down on illegal gambling, Virginia State Police has established two ways for the public to report any suspected illegal gambling operations they learn about.

According to a news release, the new phone tipline and online form were established for “anyone needing to report criminal violations of gaming laws associated with Virginia lottery games, sports betting, casino gaming, fantasy contests, and/or horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering.”

Law enforcement is cracking down on illegal gaming machines in the commonwealth after an injunction was removed on Nov. 15 that allows the ban on skill games to resume.

Reporting can be made anonymously

Tips reporting suspected illegal gambling practices can be made anonymously. The online reporting form, however, encourages people to leave contact information when reporting.

“Please note, while you may report a crime anonymously, the Virginia State Police may require additional information to complete its investigation. A lack of contact information may impede our ability to conduct a thorough inquiry into any alleged criminal activity. Please note that we are not able to comment or provide any information regarding an investigation.”

Most illegal gambling infractions are misdemeanors, according to Virginia law.

“Any person who illegally gambles or engages in interstate gambling as defined in § 18.2-325 shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. If an association or pool of persons illegally gamble, each person therein shall be guilty of illegal gambling.”

Should the gambling involve horse racing not sanctioned by the Virginia Racing Commission, it’s counted as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the highest tier of misdemeanor crime.

Police have already received hundreds of reports

According to a story last week from WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginians are already responding to the tip line. More than 100 tips about suspected illegal gaming machines have come in so far.

After the ban on skill games was lifted, leaders in several Virginia cities have set dates when police will begin enforcing the ban by raiding suspected adult arcades. Lynchburg, for example, has set Jan. 1 as the date when police will begin enforcing the ban.

The skills game ban initially went into effect in 2020, with “each jurisdiction [deciding] when to begin enforcement.” Efforts to go after illegal gambling operations have intensified, according to state police, “as the options and opportunities for legal gaming in Virginia expand.”

That includes more than a dozen legal online sportsbooks and three casinos: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol Casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth and Caesars Danville Casino. A fourth, Headwaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk, has been delayed, and no opening date has been set.

To report suspected illegal gambling activities, call the tip line at (833) 889-2300 or fill out the online form at

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayVirginia
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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