Virginia Represents the State with Most Interest in Pokémon

Pokémon is still a thing? You bet it is. And in Virginia it’s a big thing.

The Old Dominion loves its Japanese “Pocket Monsters” according to, so as National Pokémon Day nears on Feb. 27, maybe it’s time to replace those statues of General Lee with statues of Ash Ketchum and Pikachu.

We took a break from VA sports betting to look at the states that still have the most interest in Pokémon, utilizing Google Trends to see the search volume in each state for “Pokémon.” 

Coming in at No. 1? You guessed it. Virginia.

States With Most Interest in Pokémon

Rank State
3New Hampshire
6New Jersey
9New York

Where It All Started

The Pokémon craze started in 1996, created by Satoshi Tajiri, who based it on his childhood love of collecting insects. It began as a Nintendo game for the Game Boy and expanded into a TV series, trading cards, multiple manga series, too many movies and more. The anime TV series has over 1,000 episodes and there are now more than 1,000 Pokémon characters. Pokémon trading cards are more popular than baseball cards, with more than 43 billion sold.

At first Nintendo didn’t think Pokémon would translate to the U.S. market, but through a partnership with 4Kids Entertainment and licensing deals with everything from fast food franchises to lunch boxes, they were sure proven wrong.

Pokémon has also had its “scandals.” Fundamentalist Christians have objected to the concept of Pokémon evolution. Jewish groups objected to use of a Buddhist symbol that resembled a reverse swastika. PETA has complained that Pokémon promotes animal cruelty. 

Two New York boys sued Nintendo, claiming Pokémon led them into a life of gambling. They were nine. 

An early episode of the Pokémon TV show sent hundreds of Japanese children to the hospital with seizures. And we all remember when goofballs were running around towns playing Pokémon Go and falling off curbs and bumping into trees and mailboxes.

On the other hand, a Stanford study showed that Pokémon stimulated a different type of brain activity. We can only imagine.

Mark Your Calendars

So how should one celebrate National Pokémon Day? Play the game, watch a movie, eat some Poké (Poké is not related to Pokémon, but it is tasty and healthier). recommends a Pikachu Martini made from mango puree, mango Absolut vodka, Campari and grenadine. “Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a triangle slice of mango (as a nod to Pikachu’s ears).” 

No wonder Pokémon Go players were stumbling all over the place. They were loaded on Pokémon cocktails.

Happy National Pokémon Day! Please celebrate responsibly.

And remember, for the best VA sportsbook promo codes, trust BetVirginia.


Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler is contributing writer to Gensler a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of

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