Sports betting is legal in North Carolina as of July 2019 and a sportsbook finally opened in March 2021.
The sports betting authorized by S 154 took a long time to launch. The bill allowed the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to offer sports betting at their two Harrah’s-branded casinos in the state.
Legalizing sports betting is a positive step forward but the location of the casinos toward the southwestern edge of the state mean handle and revenue generated by North Carolina sports betting will likely be very limited.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina, is about two hours south from Knoxville, Tennessee and three hours from Charlotte. The Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River in Murphy, NC, is right about two and a half hours south of Knoxville and two hours north of Atlanta, Georgia.
The future of sports betting in North Carolina
Like much in the United States, the launch of sports betting in North Carolina was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Even if NC sports betting started prior to the pandemic, the delay from legalization to startup would have constituted a lengthy wait. Sports betting in North Carolina is now active under less than ideal conditions, but is live nonetheless.
The future of NC sports betting remains constrained. It is not yet legal beyond tribal lands.
When will online sports betting launch in North Carolina?
Online sports betting is not allowed under North Carolina’s law:
For purposes of this subdivision, the wager shall be deemed to occur where it is initiated and received, all of which must occur on Indian lands within the State lawfully permitted to conduct Class III gaming activities pursuant to G.S. 14-292.2(a).
There are some websites that claim they can accept online bets from anywhere in the United States, including North Carolina. But these websites are unlicensed in the US and, therefore, offer risk to the customers that does not exist at legal regulated sportsbooks anywhere inside the country.
These offshore sportsbooks could choose not to pay out winning bets or could shut down operations without returning customer funds. Since they aren’t legally operating in the US, bettors would have no legal right to try to recover their money.
North Carolina sports betting basics
A late amendment to S 154 almost limited the North Carolina sports betting market by banning in-state collegiate betting. That amendment ultimately failed, however, to give the state a fairly open wagering market.
There are no limitations against betting on any teams within the state, whether they’re college or professional.
Without an agreement with the state, it’s impossible to say what can be offered. But standard betting options like moneyline, point spread and futures bets should be available at both casinos.
Sports betting apps in North Carolina
There are no sports betting apps in North Carolina because online betting is not legal beyond tribal land in the state. That could change in the future if the state chooses to expand betting beyond tribal reservations but for now, sports betting will only be legal in-person at NC sportsbooks.
Recent North Carolina sports betting and DFS stories
Most potentially popular sports to bet on in North Carolina
North Carolina is home to some very popular sports teams, both professional and collegiate.
The NFL‘s Carolina Panthers will likely lead the way during the fall, when 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 even the most popular basketball team in the state. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils both have very loyal fanbases.
Betting on those teams, as well as any other Division I college team in and out of state, is allowed in North Carolina.
North Carolina and Daily Fantasy Sports
Yes, 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 racing legal in North Carolina?
There are no horse racing operations in North Carolina, but it is legal to bet on horse racing.
S 154 also authorized betting on both pari-mutuel and fixed-odds horse racing at the casinos.
North Carolina sportsbooks and casinos
There are only two places in North Carolina where a legal sports bet can eventually be placed:
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
777 Casino Drive
Cherokee, NC 28719
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
777 Casino ParkwayMurphy, NC 28906
North Carolina sports betting timeline
2019: It took nearly five months from introduction to signature, but S 154 passed fairly easily through the legislature.
The Senate supported the bill 43-7 and the House passed it on to Gov. Roy Cooper on a 90-27 vote.
North Carolina sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes, sports betting is legal in North Carolina and is available at Harrah’s Cherokee casino in the state. The first NC sportsbook began accepting wagers in March 2021, just in time for March Madness wagering.
Where can I bet on sports in North Carolina?
Even though sports betting is legal, there’s one place to bet legally. The two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in the state will eventually offer sports betting.
Can I bet on sports on my phone in North Carolina?
No, you cannot bet on sports on a phone or computer in North Carolina. The law requires all bets to be placed on land authorized for gaming.
There are websites that claim they can accept bets legally from anywhere in the US, but that’s not true. These operators are not licensed at the state level, meaning they aren’t authorized to operate in North Carolina or anywhere in the US.
Betting with an offshore sportsbook has some inherent risks. The book could choose to not pay out winning bets or could close operations without returning customer funds. US bettors would have no legal right to be compensated for that money.