(Population 8,260,405 as of 2013)
Despite other states on the east coast making iGaming strides, Virginia isn’t a state much mentioned. However, one spot it did pop up was late last year when Sheldon Adelson commissioned a series of polls to gauge iGaming sentiments in four states, one being Virginia. Surprisingly, the study revealed that 54 percent of voters approved of legalized gambling “as a way to generate revenue for the state,” though they did lean negatively when it came to Las Vegas style games.
Even though Virginia residents favored gambling, they didn’t feel the same way toward iGaming, at least according to the study. In fact, there was a 55-33 margin favoring a ban on iGaming.
Virginia also made headlines in early 2013 when the Virginia Supreme Court decided not to rule on whether poker was a game of skill or chance. It stemmed from a court ruling against poker club owner Charles P. Daniels, who had his establishment shut down in 2010 as part of Virginia’s anti-gambling laws.
Portsmouth Circuit Judge Thomas S. Shadricko originally ruled that Virginia’s anti-gambling statute applied Texas hold 'em because “the outcome of any one hand is uncertain,” making it a game of chance. Daniels’ appealed, the State Supreme Court heard it, including testimony from 2004 World Series of Poker champ [PLAYER="greg-raymer"]Greg Raymer[/PLAYER], and then upheld the ruling saying “it provides fair notice and an individual of ordinary intelligence can discern its meaning.” They declined to touch the “skill vs. chance” aspect of poker.
Virginia seems to lean conservative, which doesn’t bode well for iGaming’s chances. Don’t expect them to enter the fry anytime soon, though if other states take up the cause, there could very well be a paradigm shift among lawmakers.