Virginia tried to crack down on unlicensed poker. It’s still happening in the open

Poker table
Poker table(Caspar Benson & Virginia Mercury)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:47 AM EDT
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When a Hampton Roads-area kitten rescue lost its lawsuit challenging a new state law cracking down on unlicensed charitable poker, it seemed like the end for the handful of poker rooms that recently opened in Virginia.

But a poker room in Virginia Beach is back up and running, advertising on Facebook despite the new law that threatens civil fines of up to $50,000. The Facebook page for the Beach Poker Room went quiet when the law took effect in July, but the facility now says it’s opening daily and running tournaments three days a week with buy-ins ranging from $120 to $160.

Whatever’s happening at the Beach Poker Room could be against the law, according to legislators who led the push to shut down poker rooms until the state can get a better handle on overseeing them.

If it’s charity poker, said Del. Paul Krizek, D-Fairfax, it’s the same type of unlicensed activity the General Assembly wanted to stop by creating civil fines of $25,000 to $50,000 per violation. If the Beach Poker Room is avoiding charitable poker rules by dropping the charity aspect altogether, Krizek said, it’s no longer the type of poker Virginia legalized.


NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)