The Southeastern states have always been thin on legal poker rooms. Once you get south of DC, only Harrah’s Cherokee breaks up the barren poker landscape until you get to the East Coast poker mecca of Florida. Sure, for a while there was Pop’s in Virginia and Little Kings and Queens in Georgia, but both have now been shut down by their respective states. However, thanks to changing laws in the state, there will soon be not one, but three different places to play poker in Virginia.
Casinos Are Now Legal in Virginia
In March 2019 the governor of Virginia signed a bill allowing residents of five cities to vote on whether they want casinos in their town. All five towns voted to allow casinos. Last summer, the state of Virginia awarded licenses for four casinos, all near the North Carolina border. After decades of fairly strict gambling laws, Virginia has opened the floodgates. They now allow slot machines, table games, poker, and sports betting. As well as, of course, the ever-present lottery. Four casinos are slated to open in 2023 in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and Norfolk. Three of the four casinos will host poker rooms.
Poker in Virginia
The Rivers Portsmouth poker room opened this spring and is Virginia’s first and currently only poker room. Located just 25 minutes from Virginia Beach, Rivers Portsmouth has 24 tables, automatic shufflers, cup holders and 9 handed seating. While the room does not currently run tournaments, Rivers’ sister rooms in Philadelphia, and New York both do, so hopefully tournament action will come in the near future. In any case, we now have poker in Virginia! You can find information about Portsmouth’s cash poker activity here.
Image Credit: Rivers Portsmouth
Next up, construction of Caesars Virginia has already begun in Danville Virginia. This casino will feature a 25 table branded WSOP Poker Room. A temporary casino opened in May (without a poker room), while the permanent casino is being built nearby. Current estimates are for the permanent structure to open in late 2023 or early 2024.
Finally, the Headwaters Casino & Resort will be built in Norfolk Virginia. This casino is owned by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. As this tribe does not own any other existing casinos, it is unclear what the poker room will look like, but the tribe has confirmed that there will be one. This will be the last of the new poker rooms to open for the time being, as construction has not yet begun. We are probably looking at late 2024 for this poker room in Virginia.
The Future of Poker in Virginia
Now that the floodgates have opened, it is quite possible that these three rooms are only the first of many to open in the state of Virginia. There are already discussions of a potential fifth casino in Richmond Virginia. While the original casino was recently voted down by residents, a second vote will come in November of this year. If a casino is approved, we can only hope that it will include a poker room. In the meantime, we are happy to report that there is now poker in Virginia.
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