Legal Virginia Sports Betting

The status of legal Virginia sports betting is a bit of mixed bag. On the one hand, the Old Dominion’s gambling laws are pretty explicitly against most forms of gambling – you won’t find any land-based casinos in the Commonwealth and pari-mutuel wagering options are somewhat limited. However, the state’s legal code, which we will discuss at length later in our guide to legal Virginia sports betting, doesn’t have anything on the books relating to internet-based betting. That is why sports fans join the leading offshore sites that we recommend for legal sports betting – Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes.

That’s very good news for fans of the Old Dominion’s de fact pro sports franchises, who have powerhouse teams like the Washington Redskins in the NFL and the Washington Capitals in the NHL to pull for. Once you understand the legal ins and outs of sports betting in VA, you’ll see why the industry generates billions of dollars annually. All in all, legal sports betting in Virginia is within easy reach for Commonwealth bettors, and our guide will give you all the information you need to know to get started enjoying the best that the leading offshore sportsbooks have to offer.

Is Land Based Sports Betting Legal In Virginia?

Land-based sports betting, like other kinds of land-based betting in the Commonwealth, is expressly forbidden according to Virginia state law. That’s taking things a step past what most states do, as they often fall back on such federal anti-sports betting laws like the Wire Act of 1961, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) more wide-reaching bans.

However, legal sports betting sites do exist, and they operate overseas, outside the purview of federal law and, more importantly, outside of any potential for being considered illegal. This is before we even consider that these sites, Bovada.lv, BetOnline.ag, SportsBetting.ag and 5Dimes.eu, are licensed in their home countries (these are not illegal or unauthorized black market bookies who just happen to have made slick-looking websites here). That means they are subject to what are possibly some of the world’s strictest security requirements by their national gaming authorities, so Virginians interested in legal sports betting should have no excuse to look elsewhere or consider other alternatives.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Virginia?

Virginia, for all its other prohibitions on most forms of gambling, has surprisingly little to say about any kind of online gambling. Maybe the Commonwealth’s legislators think the state’s blanket bans on casinos, sports betting and so on are sufficient to stop players from winning real money on the Redskins online or making bets on the Capitals over the internet. Whatever the actual case may be, most gambling-focused legal experts around the country agree that there is enough wiggle room in the law to allow offshore sports betting sites to serve Virginia bettors.

Our top recommendations among legal Virginia sports betting sites avoid the usual pitfalls affecting domestically operated online sportsbooks for several reasons. Firstly, they are based outside the US, meaning that, although they are definitely 100 percent legal, being licensed and regulated according to the requirements of their home nations’ gaming authorities, they operate out of the reach of the US legal system’s jurisdiction. Secondly, they have other benefits in the form of a solid reputation for reliably paying their players and accepting payments from US bettors on all the sports that Virginians love, from Redskins football to Capitals hockey to Division 1 college sports from the UVA Cavaliers to the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Where To Bet On Sports In Virginia

Virginia does not have state laws on the books that expressly forbid betting on sports in the state. The absence of those laws, combined with federal laws (namely the Wire Act and the UIGEA) made just across the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. make betting on sports in the Old Dominion a distinct possibility. Legal Virginia sports betting could take place within its cities soon. For now, the best way to enjoy legal Virginia sports betting is at Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting and 5Dimes, our recommended leaders in the industry. We’ll go into more detail about those leading sites a little later in our legal Virginia sports betting guide.

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Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

No matter whether you live in Newport News or Norfolk, Richmond or Arlington, there simply isn’t anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia where sports betting at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook is legal. Complicating matters further is the fact that state law also prohibits sports betting sites based in Virginia from operating legally there as well. However, surrounding states such as Delaware and West Virginia have legalized sports betting. You could go to Wilmington Delaware or New Cumberland West Virginia. Also, our top recommended legal offshore sports betting sites fill this niche created by restrictive state and federal anti-gambling laws with aplomb, offering Commonwealth sports fans a legal Virginia sports betting platform. Our top picks in this segment of the online sportsbook marketplace include Bovada, the SportsBetting/BetOnline twins, and finally, 5Dimes.

These sites are more than the only legal means of betting on sports in the Old Dominion, they are also the best – with more odds on more sports than any sportsbooks anywhere and better customer service reputations than any domestic operators – and the most convenient. Mobile sports betting, which we will take a closer look at in greater depth in an upcoming section of our legal Virginia sports betting guide, enables a user to take their sports betting experience with them anywhere they go. T
That, combined with the ease with which practically anyone can access reliable high-speed internet these days, makes our top recommended picks among legal offshore sportsbook a heck of a lot more convenient than driving to Delaware or West Virginia just to place a bet on the Redskins or the UVA Cavaliers. In the future, you may be able to find Virginia sportsbooks in the following major cities:

Potential Cities For Legal VA Sportsbooks

  • Virginia Beach
  • Norfolk
  • Chesapeake
  • Arlington
  • Richmond
  • Newport News

Virginia Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

Virginia’s state laws, as we have already mentioned, are on the restrictive side but contain some curious omissions that nevertheless allow legal Virginia sports betting to go on unimpeded at our top recommended legal offshore sports betting sites. However, we’ll go over some of the particulars of the Commonwealth’s gambling-related laws in this section in greater detail than we have up to this point.

First of all, Virginia Code 18.2-325 https://vacode.org/2016/18.2/8/1/18.2-325/ defines illegal gambling as “the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth.” That means that practically speaking, most kinds of gambling are expressly forbidden in Virginia, and the punishment for breaking this law, as outlined in Virginia Code § 18.2-326 is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries with it a fine of not more than $500.

All things considered, Virginia’s penalties for illegal gambling aren’t that bad (though this may be a relic of the past, as $500 was truly a lot of money a century or more ago), especially since there are no jail times associated with a guilty sentence for engaging in illegal gambling. However, the penalties for being an illegal gambling operator, particularly of a gambling operation that has been in continuous operation for more than 30 days or has a gross revenue of $2,000 or more in a single day are much stiffer. Individuals who fit that bill will be looking at fines of up to $20,000 and/or a yearlong stint in jail – a Class 1 misdemeanor as listed in Virginia Code § 18.2-328.

Some of the Old Dominion’s legal peculiarities include a provision in Virginia Code § 11-15 that allows any person who loses at least $5 on a bet may, at any time within three months after losing the bet, recover from the winner the amount that was lost. If the winner of such a bet pays back the amount illegally wagered to the individual who lost then he, that is, the winner, won’t be charged or punished under the law, as listed in § 11-16.

What Teams Can I Bet On?

Virginia has the unhappy distinction of being the most populous state in the nation without a major professional sports franchise in any of the four main professional leagues. This is due to several factors, not least of which is the Commonwealth’s close proximity to teams located in Washington, D.C. and the Carolinas, and the additional impediment of a lack of political will to finance the construction of sports stadiums using public monies. The situation among college teams in Virginia is a little different than that of professional teams, but Division 1 schools like the Virginia Cavaliers and the Virginia Tech Hokies are successful in the realm of athletics in spite of, not because of, politics at the statehouse. State funds are ineligible for use by collegiate athletics programs for either operational or capital expenses, so no new facilities can be built with taxpayer support.

Nevertheless, Virginians love their sports. They have good reason to be, being geographically situated near the home turf of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, who play in nearby Landover, Maryland close to the nation’s capital across the Potomac River. The Redskins’ two primary training camps, however, are located in Virginia, with the team’s headquarters and training facility being situated at Ashburn’s Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park and Richmond’s Redskins Complex. Aside from these, VA sports fans can place bets on any teams on websites such as Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and 5Dimes.

Popular VA Sports Teams

Washington Redskins – NFL Washington Capitals – NHL Virginia Cavaliers – NCAA
Virginia Tech Hokies – NCAA    

Horse Racing Betting In Virginia

Betting on horse racing in Virginia is legal, but its pari-mutuel sibling, greyhound racing, is not. Furthermore, off-track betting at licensed satellite facilities is also legal at any of the state’s local tracks. Legal horse racing betting sites are usually the most convenient option for horseplayers in Virginia. With these online racebooks, residents have instant access to major tracks all over the United States and across the seas. We recommend sites like SportsBetting and 5Dimes for legal horse racing betting in Virginia.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Virginia

With the signing of the Fantasy Contests Act, Virginia’s legislature could be said to have saved the entire daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry. This act outlined how DFS can legally operate in the state, becoming the first state in the nation to formally recognize DFS for what it is: a game of skill that, yes, allows players to win money for correctly picking the right lineup of athletes. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law in the face of attempts around the country to designate daily fantasy sports as sports betting, which would make it an illegal practice in many states.

However, Virginia was having none of that, and the voice of the people was heard, preserving DFS as a regulated industry which residents in the Old Dominion can freely enjoy. DFS operators have to pay a fee of $50,000 to operate in the state, ban employees of DFS sites from participating in public contests and ensure all players are 18 years old and up, among other common-sense consumer protections. The reaction from the fantasy sports industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel was understandably ecstatic, calling the Fantasy Contests Act a thoughtful and appropriate regulatory framework for the protection of fantasy players’ rights.

Legal Virginia Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Virginia?

You can absolutely bet real money on sports in Virginia, but the only way to do so without running afoul of the law is to do your wagering at what we think are the best of the best among legal offshore sportsbooks like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes. In order to get started betting on your favorite teams though, you will need to first deposit money in your account and to do that you will have to jump through a few hoops created by the passage of the UIGEA.

The UIGEA’s prohibitions against financial institutions processing transaction requests related to online gambling mean that even legal offshore sports betting sites like our top picks won’t be able to reliably accept all the major US credit cards all the time. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, but the best options for making deposits remain the faithful ole method of a check in the mail or the newfangled Bitcoin, which will discuss in a later section of this guide to legal Virginia sports betting.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Virginia?

Online sports betting is safe in Virginia thanks to the concerted effort of the top legal offshore sportsbooks to make security and internal systems integrity a major priority. They almost had no choice in this matter as, unlike their less than reputable unauthorized and unlicensed black-market counterparts, sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes are all subject to some of the strictest security requirements in the world. The gaming authorities in the home countries of our recommended online sportsbooks demand the highest levels of security for players’ personal and financial information, and the reputation for professionalism and integrity enjoyed by the best sites in the industry is well-deserved for this reason.

Will Sports Betting In Virginia Ever Be Legal?

Yes, federal laws have previously blocking Virginia legalizing sports betting has changed and as previously mentioned, there are several bills introduced by the state’s legislation that will soon legalize sports betting in Virginia. For now, sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes are your best options to place sports bets in Virginia.

Will I Get Arrested For Online Sports Betting In Virginia?

The simple answer to this question is no. There has never been an instance of a Virginia resident getting into trouble with the law for online sports betting because the Commonwealth doesn’t have any law on the books that relate specifically to online gambling. Who could be liable to land themselves in a mess of trouble are operators of unlawful sports gambling sites based in the US. Federal law does specifically target gambling operations it deems to be illegal and the operators of these businesses can face severe penalties including fines and prison sentences if found guilty. Nevertheless, individual players have nothing to fear from federal or state laws. Legal Virginia sports betting online is called “legal” for a reason – there’s no law to break, so you aren’t breaking the law.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Virginia?

The minimum age necessary to participate in any of the few forms of gambling that Virginia allows is 21, so we can only recommend that you follow that lead and wait until you are at least that old before betting on sports at a legal offshore sportsbook like the ones we recommend. Because these sportsbooks are based overseas where gambling laws only require that players attain a minimum age of 18 before gambling, our top recommended sites will accept players as young as 18. However, it would be a wise course of action to wait until you’re 21 just to be on the safe side. There’s nothing to be gained a much to be lost by tiptoeing around the line of legality.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Virginia?

All the legal sports betting sites we recommend every so often in this guide have mobile sports betting apps available in Virginia and everywhere else in the world too. The apps are free to download, but due to Google and Apple policies on gambling, the apps can’t be found on either operating system’s app store. In order to download our top recommended legal Virginia sports betting apps, you will have to go to the respective website – Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline or 5Dimes (or all of them, because you should definitely consider having more than one legal sports betting account), and follow the instructions there.

These mobile sports betting apps replicate the desktop version of each site 1:1, meaning there is no new interface or unfamiliar menus to navigate. The only difference is that you can do all your sports betting directly from your phone, and that includes other cutting-edge sports betting options like live in-game sports betting. Mobile betting lets you take your hobby with you anywhere and makes sports betting available to you anytime, so it’s almost a must-do if you plan on betting on sports at our leading legal offshore sportsbooks.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Virginia?

There isn’t anywhere in Virginia that you can legally bet on sports, but you can drive to Delaware Park Casino in Delaware or Hollywood Casino at Charles Town West Virginia and place land-based bets there. A much better solution on multiple levels is to simply head over to Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes, the industry-leading legal offshore sports betting sites. Those are our highest-recommended sites for legal Virginia sports betting because they combine reliable payouts, tight security for your personal information and tons of odds on all Virginia’s favorite sports with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are doing so legally. All our top picks among sports betting sites based overseas are regulated and licensed by their home countries’ gaming authorities, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In Virginia?

There is no situation imaginable in which you should even feel somewhat slightly tempted to use a local bookie in Virginia. It’s illegal according to the state’s laws against most forms of gambling and according to all-pervading federal prohibitions on sports betting in all but four states – of which Virginia isn’t one. But what’s more, there is simply no need to use a local bookie for any reason, not given how easy it is to place bets on sports legally at offshore sports betting sites like the ones we’ve recommended throughout this guide.

The sports betting sites we think best represent the ultra-competitive segment’s virtues are far more reliable than any shady local bookie and they even have more options when it comes to odds available on a Redskins or Hokies football game than do many of the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks out in Las Vegas. If you’re interested in legal Virginia sports betting, don’t even give a local bookie a second thought.

Do Any Casinos In Virginia Have Sports Betting?

There are no casinos in Virginia per state law, so there couldn’t be any casinos in Virginia that have sports betting either. However, the legal offshore sports betting sites we recommend – Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline and SportsBetting, all have the very best in available moneylines on the sports Virginians love, from football to NASCAR. Additionally, all our leading sportsbooks picks have got casino sections on their sites as well, so you can enjoy legally playing table games, card games and even slots – all for real money and all perfectly legal.

Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In Virginia?

Betting on sports with your friends in Virginia is easy due to mobile sports betting apps available to be downloaded for free at our leading legal offshore sports betting sites, but it’s good to know that the Commonwealth doesn’t have a single law on the books to stop you from betting with sports in the privacy of your home either. Virginia Code § 18.2-334 makes a provision for participating in any game of chance so long as it is conducted in a private residence (and one that “is not commonly used for such games of chance”) and if there is no “operator” as defined in Virginia Code § 18.2-325. According to that section of the legal code, an operator is “any person, firm or association of persons, who conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs or owns all or part of an illegal gambling enterprise, activity or operation.”

When Will Sports Betting Become Legal In Virginia?

Virginia has taken the necessary beginning step to bring legal sports betting to the state. In 2019, the state lawmakers approved a measure that would introduce an entire gambling industry in a handful of cities within the state. But first, the voters must approve the idea in the upcoming election ballot. If approved, the legislature would have to meet again to introduce rules and regulations surrounding the industry. With this, don’t expect to see Virginia sportsbooks until 2021 at the earliest.

How Many Sportsbooks Are In Virginia?

Virginia is one of the few states that has zero gambling establishments from sportsbooks to casinos. Their mindset is soon to change, as legislators have agreed to begin the discussion of gambling expansion. Still, there are no sportsbooks in Virginia and those looking to wager at a brick and mortar venue will have to travel into Washington DC, West Virginia, or take the even longer trip to Pennsylvania or North Carolina. If these aren’t legitimate options, using an offshore sports betting site remains to be the best situation.