Virginia Online Poker | Virginia Poker Rooms
With the FBI’s shutdown of major online poker sites on April 15th there is a lot uncertainty going forward about poker legislation. While there are still some sites open to United States based players the biggest rooms have been forced to close their doors and cash out player’s accounts. This leaves the future of online poker in the United States up in the air. There are many different possibilities including intrastate and/or interstate regulation, national legislation, or ultimately the end of poker as we know it. A likely result is each individual state either creating their own gaming regulations or being able to “opt-in” to new national laws and regulations. Depending on where you live this could be a good or bad thing for your poker player future. Those wanting to play Virginia Online Poker might be facing an uphill battle however there has been some recent legislation that is quite promising.
Virginia does not exactly have a rich history in poker. There have been some successful online pros from the Old Dominion state including Dan “djk123” Kelly who won a bracelet in the 2010 World Series of Poker. The Fairfax native is one of the most successful online tournament grinders of the past few years winning millions of dollars online in some of the highest buy-in events around. Virginia Online Poker may not be as big as other states making it difficult for intrastate regulation. In order for poker sites to be viable there has to be a large enough player base to support multiple rooms. With a population of more than 8,000,000 it does seem there are enough players if intrastate poker were to come about. The question becomes will Virginia be for or against online poker?
There have been a few pieces of legislation coming out of Virginia online poker affecting their future in different ways. First of all, at this time there are not any legal casinos operating in Virginia. Without much revenue coming in from gaming as well as the economy not showing signs of life it could be a great time for online or live gaming in Virginia. At this time the only state sponsored gambling comes in the form of lotteries and horse racing. In 2010 a state judge ruled poker as a game of luck, not skill, forcing Portsmouth poker halls to shut down. Over half a dozen poker establishments had been in operation but were quickly put out of business once Earle C. Mobley suddenly and abruptly changed his stance to a staunch opposition of poker. What remained in Virginia were home poker games as long as the house did not take any rake. This is the case in other states such as Texas and seems to be the only way to play live poker in Virginia at the moment.
While the shutdown of poker halls appeared to be the end of online poker in Virginia there was recent movement in the state legislature deeming games of skill legal. One of the games falling in the skill category was in fact poker. Unfortunately the bill gained little momentum before being quickly shut down. Ultimately it appears lawmakers in Virginia are just not too comfortable with the idea of gambling unless it immediately impacts them, i.e. the lottery. Going forward it will be interesting to see the fate of Virginia Online Poker. There are clearly plenty of people wanting to play the game but will the lawmakers allow them to do so? It seems they will be taking their cues from the national scene as online poker was never technically ruled illegal over the past few years. In the wake of April 15th it seems everyone is playing a waiting game. However, state residents might be waiting much longer than everyone else when it comes to playing online poker in Virginia.