All legal gambling in Virginia is regulated by the Commonwealth and is over a two billion dollar industry. Legal forms of gambling include scratch-off games, horse racing, off-track betting, bingo, lotteries, and pull-tab games. Gambling at charitable events is also legal, with some restrictions.
Virginians voted in 1987 to allow a state –operated lottery. At that time there was no official designated account for the proceeds of the lottery. Approximately 1/3 of the proceeds were to be used as determined by the General Assembly. In 1989, proceeds were dedicated to capital construction projects and then transferred to the state’s General Fund from 1990-1998. A budget amendment in 1999 sent proceeds to public schools to be used for educational funding. The creation of the State Lottery Proceeds Fund was voted for by 80% of voters in 2000. Since then proceeds go directly to educational funding.
Types of Lottery
- Mega Millions
- Win for Life
- Cash 5
- Pick 4
- Pick 3
- Fast Play Bingo
Charitable gaming is regulated by the Charitable Gaming Commission in Virginia. In order for charitable gaming to be legal, it must be used by a qualified organization and have a valid permit issued by the Commission. According to the Commission, the following are deemed legal organizations allowed to conduct charitable gaming:
- Volunteer fire department or other rescue squad
- An organization who operates solely for charitable, community, religious, or educational purposes
- An organization operating under a lodge system such as a fraternal association
- Chamber of Commerce
- War Veterans association
- A non-profit organization whose gross receipts from charitable gaming do not exceed $75,000
Prohibitions to Charitable Gaming
The proceeds from any organization’s charitable gaming shall not be used for anything other than reasonable gaming expenses, business expenses, any expenses for which the organization is chartered for, or expenses pertaining to the acquisition or repair of real property for that organization. The organization is not allowed to pay anyone or other organization to conduct or organize any charitable games. Assistance for the deaf and blind patrons wishing to conduct a charitable game may use proceeds for clerical assistance in organizing said game in order to raise additional funds for their organization.
No organization is allowed to pay or receive for use a location to conduct their charitable games in excess of fair market rental value. In addition, no premises can be used more than twice a calendar week for an organization’s bingo game.
Landlords of the premises provided are not allowed to participate in the management or sell of any bingo supplies or games. Only a person that has been a member of an organization for at least 30 days is allowed to participate in the organization and management of a charitable game for said organization.
Remuneration is only allowed under specific circumstances and with limitations. Persons hired by organizations composed of the deaf or blind are allowed to receive remuneration not to exceed thirty dollars per event. Nonmonetary rewards are allowed for individuals under nineteen who sell raffle tickets to benefit their youth activities. Off-duty law enforcement officers may be receive remuneration for their acts of providing security for bingo games as long as they are not involved directly with the management or organization of the event. Lastly, food and nonalcoholic drinks may be provided to members of the qualifying organization during the event.
Door prizes for Bingo games must not exceed $25
Regular bingo or special bingo prizes shall not exceed $100.
Instant bingo for a single card shall not exceed $500.
Single jackpot prizes must not exceed $1000, nor shall the total jackpot prizes in one calendar day exceed $1000
The exception to these provisions is a “winner-take-all” game where the gross proceeds shall not exceed $1000 and only one per calendar day is allowed.
No raffle prizes valued over $100,000 may be awarded by any organization.
Virginian Horse Racing and Pari-Mutuel Wagering
All legal matters pertaining to horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering are handled by the Virginia Racing Commission. A license must be issued to all parties wishing to own or establish a horse racetrack by the Commission.
Types of Wagering
Straight wagering-win, place, or show with a 8.0% purse.
Multiple wagering-daily double, quinella, exacta, trifecta, quinella double, pick (n), twin trifecta, and superfecta with a 9% purse
Class 4 Felonies
Anyone not obtaining a license and is caught conducting pari-mutuel wagering.
All persons found guilty of submitting racing results to illegal gambling operations or participating in illegal gambling
Bribery of a jockey or driver in any way
Any person who administers unnatural substances to a horse with the intent to alter the outcomes of a race
Racing under a false name.
Class 1 misdemeanor
Individuals who give advice to others on who to bet for and expects payment for his services.
Not providing a valid veterinarian’s prescription for all drugs used by a horse prior to a race.
Anyone wagering on a race who is under the age of 18.
All satellite facilities must be approved and given license by the Commission. Wagering forms are the same for satellite facilities as actual racetrack locations.
Illegal Gambling Consequences
Class 1 misdemeanor
Any owner of a facility knowingly allowing illegal gambling to take place and not informing law enforcement.
Aiding in any illegal gambling activity.
Illegal possession of a gaming device.
Class 3 misdemeanor
Anyone knowingly participating in interstate gambling.
Class 6 felony
Any operator of an illegal gambling activity or enterprise is guilty of a Class 6 felony. In addition, if that operator remains in operation continuously for over thirty days or has gross revenues over $2000 in one day, will also be fined no more than $20,000 and serve a prison sentence of 1-10 years.
The Wire Act, which prohibits all forms of gambling through telephone lines, has been amended to include Internet Gambling. The maximum prison time for violating this Act is 5 years. It is important to note that all the above restrictions do not make it illegal to participate in games of chance at a private residence as long as the private residence is not known for continuously operating games of chance and there is no operator.