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Major events in Virginia gaming history


Charitable gaming is legalized and regulation begins at the local level


In November, voters approve a state lottery


The Virginia Lottery begins ticket sales in September
In November, voters approve pari-mutuel wagering on horse races


The Lottery launches Pick 3 in May


Lotto is introduced in January


Pari-mutuel wagering debuts with a one-day steeplechase meet
The Lottery launches Pick 4 in September


Off-track wagering is legalized


Cash 5 sales begin in January


Legislation establishes the Virginia Charitable Gaming Commission


State regulation of charitable gaming begins July 1
The Lottery is one of the founding members of The Big Game (now Mega Millions) and sales begin in August
The first off-track wagering locations open in Chesapeake and Richmond


Colonial Downs opens for live racing in September
Two more off-track wagering facilities open in Hampton and Brunswick


Lotto is replaced by Lotto Virginia in September


In September, Lotto Virginia is replaced by Lotto South, a game played with Georgia and Kentucky


An additional OTW facility opens in Richmond
Charitable gaming regulation is restructured and the Charitable Gaming Board replaces the Charitable Gaming Commission


The Racing Commission begins licensing and regulating advance deposit wagering companies
Colonial Downs launches EZ Horseplay, an advance deposit wagering system
In October, Virginia’s sixth OTW facility opens in Vinton


In August, an OTW facility opens in Martinsville
A second Chesapeake OTW facility opens in October


In January, an OTW facility opens in Scott County
Win For Life replaces Lotto South in February


In February, Fast Play Bingo is the Lottery’s first instant game printed through the terminal
The Lottery introduces its first raffle game in April


The original Chesapeake OTW location closes in November


Powerball sales begin in January
Two additional OTW locations open inside existing restaurants in the greater Richmond area


The Lottery introduces Decades of Dollars in February
OTW is discontinued at one of the Richmond-area restaurant locations


A new OTW facility opens in October inside a Chesapeake restaurant


Colonial Downs ends live racing in October


Colonial downs closes the remaining off-track betting facilities in April
The Lottery joins the multi-state Cash4Life game in May

Online gaming

The Virginia Lottery offers in-state players the ability to purchase subscriptions for Mega Millions through its website. The Web-based service began in August 2005 and uses bank transfers (credit cards are not allowed).



The Virginia Lottery began ticket sales on September 20, 1988, with an instant game. The current game offerings include instant tickets, Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, Bank a Million, Cash 5, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Fast Play, instant games offered through the lottery's terminal system.

Lottery proceeds public education in Virginia, for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Virginia Lottery
900 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone (804) 692-7000


Pari-mutuel facilities

Colonial Downs, the state's only major racetrack, closed its doors in 2014 and closed its OTB facilities the following spring. The track, which had last offered Thoroughbred racing in 2013 and harness racing in 2014, applied for dates in 2016 but was denied by the Virginia Racing Commission. In late October 2016, a new OTB facility was to scheduled to open in Richmond, with a second location in the works.

In 2015, "country fair" racing (flat and steeplechase) was held at Great Meadow in The Plains, and harness racing was held for a few days at Oak Ridge in Arrington. More dates are planned for 2016, and additional locations are in the works to bring back horse racing in the state.

Advance deposit wagering began in 2004, and is now the primary source of pari-mutuel revenue in Virginia, with three ADW companies licensed.

Colonial Downs (closed)
10515 Colonial Downs Parkway
New Kent, VA, 23124
Virginia Racing Commission
5707 Huntsman Road, Suite 201-B
Richmond, Virginia 23250
Phone: (804) 966-7400


Charitable gaming

Eligible non-profit organizations may operate raffles, bingo, instant bingo and pulltabs. Charitable gaming was regulated at a local level before the legislature created the Charitable Gaming Commission in 1995 (effective July 1, 1996). The Commission was replaced by the Charitable Gaming Board in 2003.

Charitable Gaming Board
Virginia Office of Charitable Gaming
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street, Terrace Level
Richmond, VA 23219


Last updated on October 17, 2016