North Carolina Sports Betting

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Last updated: June 28, 2022

Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, and there are two retail sportsbooks open in the state. Additionally, a Senate bill to allow online sports betting is moving through the NC Legislature.

Both tribal casinos are located in the western portion of North Carolina and are not particularly close to the major population centers in the state. Most North Carolinians still do not have a legal sportsbook convenient to them in their home state.

SB 688 already cleared the Senate and is alive in the House of Representatives. It passed 12-4 out of the House Commerce Committee in November 2021 and has moved to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. While there are still several steps to go for the bill in 2022 — one more committee stop after Judiciary before it would be able to go on the House calendar — North Carolinians are closer to a full-service sports betting market than ever before.

Read below for all the latest information about legal sports betting in North Carolina.

What’s happening in North Carolina sports betting right now

  • June 28, 2022 – It appears mobile betting in North Carolina is dead for the year. The House killed legislation last week and the session ends June 30.
  • June 21, 2022 – An amended sports betting bill will be considered in the North Carolina legislature, but time is running out. The session ends June 30.
  • June 10, 2022 — Despite inaction on the sports betting bill with just 20 days left before the end of the session, sources tell LSR they are still optimistic about the legislation’s chances. The bill would legalize mobiles sports betting in North Carolina.
  • June 1, 2022 – Even though the session just started May 18, North Carolina’s legislative session ends in less than a month with the final day of session June 30.
  • May 16, 2022 – A bill legalizing mobile sports betting already approved in the Senate could pass quickly in the House as it has the support of House leadership, sources told LSR.
  • May 11, 2022 – The votes to legalize mobile sports betting are there, a lobbyist representing the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), MLB, PGA Tour, and Churchill Downs said according to PlayUSA.
  • April 25, 2022 – A poll from Spectrum News/IPSOS suggests just 36% of registered voters support online betting while 39% are against it and 25% are unsure.
  • April 18, 2022 – A new survey from WRAL News shows 52% of respondents want legal online sports betting in North Carolina.
  • April 8, 2022 – Supporters of SB 688 will have a strong argument for legalization after the state missed out on taxes from legal mobile betting on the University of North Carolina‘s surprising run to the men’s basketball finals. SB 688 would tax online betting revenue at 8%. The 2022 legislative session starts May 18 and runs through June 30.
  • March 7, 2022 — It’s still a waiting game for any movement on online sports betting in the North Carolina Assembly. The 2022 legislative session does not begin until May, so there’s nothing to report until the House Judiciary Committee is able to meet about SB 688.

Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?

Yes. Retail sports betting is both legal and active in North Carolina. There are two Caesars sportsbooks in the western portion of the state. Both locations are part of tribal casinos — the similarly named Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River — located in the Tar Heel State. A third tribal casino, Catawba Two Kings, is planning a sportsbook of its own, but it has not opened for business yet.

However, online sports betting remains illegal under North Carolina law. It remains to be seen if an online betting bill’s forward motion will continue when the 2022 legislative session begins.

The status of North Carolina sports betting

North Carolina is similar to many states in the American South in that it defaults to a rather cautious stance about gambling in most cases. There are no casinos outside of the three tribal locations. So although North Carolina authorities moved forward with retail sports betting at the state’s two casinos, it was a mild surprise for gambling observers.

It would appear that online sports betting has a chance to become legal in the state, as a bill to allow mobile wagering already passed the Senate and made progress in the House. The North Carolina Senate passed the bill Aug. 19, 2021, moving it on to the House. In November 2021, the House Commerce Committee approved the bill. Two more committee stops remain for the bill, however, as well as the full House.

When will online sports betting launch in North Carolina?

It’s unlikely that North Carolina will have legal online sports betting before 2023. The 2022 legislative session does not begin until May, and the online betting bill still has several hurdles remaining before it could become law. Even if it does pass, regulators will then have to set rules for the new activity, which can be a lengthy process.

After that, the NC Education Lottery Commission will have to issue licenses to suitable applicants, and those applicants will have to launch in the state. It’s difficult to imagine a launch before the end of 2022.

North Carolina sportsbook apps that could launch

SB 688 creates the possibility of 10 to 12 online sportsbooks in the state. As North Carolina is home to roughly 11 million people, there is bound to be plenty of interest from the top sportsbooks in the country. North Carolina lawmakers estimate that as many as 2 million North Carolinians already place sports bets online — illegally, of course.

Based upon that and how sports betting has proceeded in other states, here are some of our best guesses for online sportsbooks that are likeliest to launch in North Carolina:

  • Caesars — Caesars Sportsbook is already active in North Carolina. Both of the state’s existing retail sportsbooks are Caesars operations.
  • DraftKings — DraftKings is already present in North Carolina as a daily fantasy sports provider and has brand recognition working in its favor. It is also one of the most aggressive sportsbooks whenever a new state allows sports betting. In fact, there are very few sports betting states in which DraftKings is not part of the market.
  • FanDuel — FanDuel often seems to move in tandem with its DFS rival and is a prime candidate to be part of North Carolina sports betting for many of the same reasons. It is already active in the state as a major DFS provider and is usually one of the first to cross the threshold when a new state opens to online sports betting.
  • BetMGM — Even lacking a physical location, BetMGM might still have some brand recognition in North Carolina. It is available as an online sportsbook in neighboring Tennessee and Virginia and is likely the sportsbook of choice for some portion of Tar Heel State residents and visitors already.

Recent North Carolina sports betting news

NC sports betting

Carolina Blues: NC Sports Betting Bill Falls Short After Late Surge

Following a slow start in the 2022 legislative session, a mobile NC sports betting effort hit top speed this week before fizzling out suddenly Wednesday evening. After flying through three committees in less than 24 hours, the North Carolina House held a hotly contested hearing on two sports betting bills. Representatives ultimately killed Senate Bill 688, the […] Read More
Posted on: June 22, 2022 | Regulation Sports Betting | Pat Evans

NC sports betting bills

The only active sports betting bills in the North Carolina Assembly are the aforementioned SB 688 and its House counterpart, HB 631. Here are the bills themselves:

Although we’ll keep an eye on these two, we will also provide updates if any new bills happen to pop up when lawmakers return in May 2022.

Legal sports betting options in NC

The only legal sports betting options in North Carolina are the retail sportsbooks located at the two tribal casinos in the western part of the state. Both sportsbooks are operated by Caesars, though the casinos themselves are owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

You must visit one of the following locations to place a legal bet on a sporting event:

  • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort: 777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel: 777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906

Sports betting should launch sometime soon at the third tribal casino location in the state. The venue in Kings Mountain is much more convenient to the greater Charlotte area than the other two casinos:

  • Catawba Two Kings Casino: 538 Kings Mountain Blvd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086

Barring additional expansion, these are the only three locations that can host a sportsbook in the Tar Heel State. Mobile sports wagering would make sports betting possible throughout the state.

However, any site that claims to accept wagering from North Carolina right now is an offshore site based outside of the United States. Those sites come with a variety of legal and logistical concerns that make playing with them dangerous for your money.

Most popular sports to bet on in North Carolina

North Carolina is home to some popular sports teams, both professional and collegiate.

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers will likely lead the way, as the NFL is typically king at sportsbooks. The Panthers play in Charlotte, NC and have made it to the Super Bowl in their history.

The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and NBA’s Charlotte Hornets are also local favorites. The Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006, while the Hornets, owned by Michael Jordan, continue to struggle for success.

But the Hornets aren’t the most popular basketball team in the state. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils both have passionately loyal fanbases.

North Carolinians can bet on those teams, as well as any other Division I college team in and out of state, in North Carolina.

North Carolina and daily fantasy sports

Entering daily fantasy sports competitions is legal in North Carolina. The legislature did not pass specific legislation that regulates and taxes DFS but did not outlaw the contests either.

That means the popular games offered by DFS operators like DraftKings and FanDuel can be played within the state of North Carolina.

Is horse betting legal in North Carolina?

Yes, pari-mutuel horse betting is legal in North Carolina at the tribal casinos in the state. However, there are no legal online horse betting sites.

The same 2019 law that permitted the placement of retail sportsbooks in these venues also allowed bets on races to occur. However, there are no active racetracks in the state, so it’s not immediately clear how much business the racebooks are receiving.

North Carolina sports betting timeline

2019: It takes nearly five months from introduction to signature, but SB 154 passes fairly easily through the Legislature. The Senate supports the bill 43-7, and the House passes it on to Gov. Roy Cooper on a 90-27 vote.

2021: Legal sports betting begins at two casinos in the state, while a Senate bill begins its journey to legalize online sports betting in the state. The bill is eligible to pick back up in the House when the 2022 session begins.

2022: The current online sports betting bill begins making its way through committee hearings in February. The Senate bill creates the possibility of 10 to 12 online sportsbooks. However, it has yet to make it onto the House calendar for debate.

North Carolina sports betting FAQ

Who would oversee online sports betting in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Education Lottery. Although retail sports betting in the state takes place under the oversight of the Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission, a statewide sports betting market would require greater oversight. As there is no true gambling commission in North Carolina, the sports betting bills under consideration name the NC Education Lottery as the regulator.

What is the legal gambling age in North Carolina?

21. Visitors at North Carolina gambling locations must be 21 or older to play in the casino, and online sports bettors will have to verify that they are over the drinking age in order to place a bet and be inside state lines, too.

Will online sports betting be legal in NC?

Yes, it appears likely. An online sports betting bill has already cleared the North Carolina Senate and appears to be making progress in the House. Although there are some steps remaining for SB 688, it is making progress toward becoming law.

Some sports betting websites say they accept bets from North Carolina. Are those legal options?

No. The sites that offer sports betting to North Carolinians right now are based outside of the United States and are not legal. Playing on offshore sites comes with its own set of risks precisely because the sites are outside the jurisdiction of North Carolina and US law. Without the law, you do not have the same protections that you have with regulated sites.

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