North Carolina sports betting is legal as of July 2019, but there are still no mobile betting options in the state. All of the sports betting must be done in-person and only at the two tribal casinos that are authorized to offer sports betting.
Even though an NC sports betting law was passed, the state has yet to pass legislation that would legalize online betting through mobile sportsbook apps.
Progress has been made with the state Senate passing a bill in late August. By a vote of 26-19, this bill would allow as many as 12 online sports betting operators to offer legal mobile sports betting in North Carolina.
The current limits to legal sports betting at retail sportsbooks in tribal casinos has kept the market rather small. Eventually, online betting could be added to the sports betting laws. However, it now appears that will not happen until sometime in 2022.
State lawmakers in the House need to also pass the necessary legislation. There must be identical versions in the Senate and House before moving to the General Assembly.
North Carolina does have a number of teams to help drive sports betting, but there just aren’t enough options for bettors.
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North Carolina Sportsbooks
North Carolina sports betting will be offered at the two tribal casinos that are owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Both of these casinos have already completed the construction of their sportsbooks and they are taking bets on sports, including MMA.
Caesars has entered into an agreement with the Cherokee Indians, and the casinos are under the brand new “Harrah’s” in North Carolina. That company is in the process of rebranding its William Hill sportsbooks. Caesars Sportsbook is expected to offer sports betting at the two Harrah’s locations. Rebranding William Hill is also taking place in most other Caesars retail sportsbooks.
North Carolina online sports betting has yet to be approved, and that will eliminate online-only operators from gaining access to the state at this time. In order to place a bet in NC, bettors must visit one of the two Harrah’s Casino locations.
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NC Sports Betting Rules
Official NC sports betting rules for tribal casinos are part of the new compact with the state. Since all of the betting will be done on tribal property, the rules and regulations are rather favorable for tribal gaming.
With William Hill operating as Caesars to provide the betting for the EBCI, then international sporting events will be featured along with the top US professional sports. In-state college betting is also part of the new bill. It will be allowed in the official gaming compacts that are signed with tribal gaming entities.
NC Sports Betting Regulations
In July 2019, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 154 into law, officially legalizing sports betting. At that time, North Carolina became the 7th state to pass a sports betting law in 2019.
This new law also required a new gaming compact to be signed and agreed upon by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cooper. This process carried over into 2021. The US Department of the Interior is required to approve any new tribal gaming compacts.
The Cherokee Tribal Council agreed on amendments to the current gaming compact, and Gov. Cooper signed off on these changes. Upon approval at the federal level, NC sports betting was made available at those two Harrah’s locations in the state.
The Catawba Nation recently opened North Carolina’s third tribal casino. This is a temporary location while the main facility is being built. The Catawba Nation can offer offer legal sports betting through a retail book as part of its compact with the state.
Both the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Catawba Nation would have the ability to apply for a tribal mobile sports betting license. While the Cherokee Tribe already has Caesars as an operating partner, the Catawba Nation would need to name a partner for the operation of mobile betting.
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North Carolina online sports betting should launch at some point in 2022. This would be almost three years since it became a legal option. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will operate retail sportsbooks at two separate locations in the state. The Catawba Nation have the option to open a retail sportsbook as part of its casino project.
NC online sports betting was not included in the sports betting bill that passed in 2019. Online betting has brought in the most action throughout the US, so this is a important option for North Carolina.
North Carolina was looking to become one of the first states to allow sports betting in 2019, but the delay has cost the state valuable revenue. Legal NC mobile sports betting is coming, but much later than what was expected.