North Carolina has a rich history with sports in its state, especially when it comes to college sports. When it comes to gambling, however, the laws do not match up with the general feeling around sports or other gaming. This page will serve as a reference point on all the gambling laws in North Carolina today and what changes if any residents could see in coming years.
Sports Betting in North Carolina
There is a rabid sports fan base in North Carolina, which is not entirely surprising when you realize that it is a hotbed for college sports. With this in mind, it is no surprise that there was a lot of excitement when PASPA was repealed in May 2018. Early indications were that the state would be one of the first o pass regulations allowing sports betting. However, the North Carolina government took a more measured approach, preferring to wait until 2019 to start on any legislation.
The end result of the conservative approach was a two-pronged approach to sports betting. First, the governor signed off on a bill in July 2019 that would allow the Cherokee Tribe, which has a monopoly on casino gambling in the state, to be able to open sportsbooks on their properties. The state then also approved a study into a full expansion of gambling across the state, including adding more sports betting options.
As of December 2019, the two Cherokee casinos had not yet opened their sportsbooks, but with college sports in full swing and March Madness coming up quickly, it is anticipated that both will be open by the latest in early 2020.
Online Sports Betting
As part of the Cherokee sports betting approval, there was no accommodation made for online sports betting. One would have to assume this would be part of the expansion of gaming statewide that the government is looking into. However, with no timeline for a bill of that nature being introduced and passed, sports bettors in North Carolina will not have any regulated mobile options anytime soon.
This leaves gamblers with only the option of offshore sportsbooks as a refuge for making their bets. While we don’t recommend these types of sites here, we do recognize that they have been in business since the late 1990s and have given players from across the U.S. a way to gamble on sports before the repeal of PASPA. These sites do come with some risk attached, as they are not bound to any U.S. laws by being based in other countries. If you are thinking of using an online sportsbook that is not regulated by your state, we always suggest that you make only small deposits just in case the worst happens, and your money disappears.
Horse Betting in North Carolina
Well here is an interesting twist – it is legal to race horses in North Carolina, but you aren’t allowed to bet on them. This does seem as though it is a bit confusing of a stand to take on the sport – why run the races in the first place if there isn’t going to be betting on them? At any rate, this is how it sits for now, and it doesn’t look like there is any chance of that changing.
Online Horse Betting
Most states do not have online horse betting regulated for their own tracks, but in those cases, players can find solace in one of the many online sites that are licensed in Oregon and still are able to take players from other states. However, given the stance of the North Carolina government on horse betting, companies like Twinspires and DRFBEts do not allow residents of this state create accounts and wager with them. So for now, North Carolina horse racing fans are out of options for places to bet.
Casino Gambling in North Carolina
The state has taken a very conservative approach to casino gambling as well, despite the fact that other states hurried to make compacts with tribal nations so that hey could offer casinos. This didn’t happen in North Carolina until the mid-1990s, and even then the first “casino” parlor wasn’t allowed to have table games. It took all the way until 2012 before there was an agreement to extend the gaming laws to include table games, and finally, there is a full casino in the state.
Online Casinos in North Carolina
The planned expansion of gambling as a whole in North Carolina gave some hope to those who like to play online casino games. With only two licensed casinos in the state, getting to them to play slots and table games isn’t easy for many residents. However, it doesn’t appear that online casino is on the radar as part of the initial study into the gambling expansion, so fans of the digital versions of their favorite casino games may have to wait a while longer before they can pick up their phones and play.
After sports betting launches in the state, and specifically online and mobile channels, it isn’t a stretch to think that North Carolina would extend the licensing to include casino and poker. The revenue numbers coming from states that have already allowed these games, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, will help strengthen the argument from those who want to see the landscape changed.
Lottery in North Carolina
Good news! The lottery is open for business and vibrant in North Carolina. The North Carolina Education Lottery was established in the late 1980s, and as the name suggests, the proceeds from lottery games in the state go to help fund educational programs across the state. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been generated over the years from draw games like Powerball and also from the hundreds of different scratch ticket available at retailers. Whether you want the instant gratification of winning a scratch game or want to win the life-changing money of a massive draw, the North Carolina Lottery has you covered.
North Carolina Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Sports betting has been approved for two retail locations, both of which run by the Cherokee Tribe. This bill was passed into law in July 2019, but as of December 2019 neither location has opened to the public. We expect that to change very soon, however.
When will online sports betting be legal in North Carolina?
While we can’t pinpoint exactly when you will be able to bet on sports at a regulated website from North Carolina, there is some measure of optimism because the state has commissioned a study of a further expansion of gaming in the state above and beyond what has been approved at a tribal level. Expect that in the 2020 legislative session, there will be much discussion about the implementation of online sports betting, especially if surrounding states begin to offer a solution.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of North Carolina?
Again, we don’t recommend playing at offshore sites, but since there are currently no options for North Carolina residents to gamble on sports legally in-state, we can give you some expert opinions. First, find a site that will allow you to make withdrawals via many methods and don’t charge you a hefty fee to do so. Next, find a website that offers the most customer service options, as if there is a problem you don’t want to find yourself searching for someone to speak with. Finally, use discretion when deciding how much money to send to an offshore site – reduce the risk of losing your money before you even make a bet.