North Carolina Welcomes March Madness with Sports Betting

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North Carolina will welcome its first sports betting facilities at tribal casinos in the state at long last and following a sports betting bill was approved in April 2019.

North Carolina Opens Its First Sports Betting Facilities

North Carolina is launching sports betting with The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and William Hill opening its first sports wagering facilities at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino sites in Cherokee and Murphy. Classified as a Class III gaming activity, sports wagering became available at Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians casinos and the Class III compact on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

The launch follows the successful negotiations between the federal government and North Carolina reached an agreement on the gaming deal between the state and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the tribe running the gambling operations in the state.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard Sneed said that the tribe is happy to offer sports wagering at The Book right on time for March Madness. He thanked the tribe’s partners and the lawmakers for making this possible.

The state Senate approved the tribal sports betting bill in April 2019, and in July, it was officially legal. A few months later, in September, the legislators passed the sports wagering expansion study bill. The study explored opportunities to expand sports betting in the state and create a new regulatory system that would be regulated by a newly-established North Carolina Gaming Commission

Overall, the bill failed to gain momentum, and eventually, all language suggesting the transformation of the Lottery Commission into a Gaming Commission was left out. 

The sports betting launch delay in the state was partially due to the pandemic. The other reason was that the state needed to reach an amended gaming compact with the Cherokee Indians, and there was no deadline for completion.

Online Sports Betting in North Carolina Is Prohibited

Although there are websites that claim they can accept online bets from anywhere in the US, North Carolina prohibits online betting. These websites are unlicensed, and players are at risk of not receiving their winnings. Since those websites are illegal, customers would have no legal right to claim their money.

There are no sportsbook websites or apps in North Carolina because the state prohibits online betting. In the future, this could change if sports betting expands beyond the tribal facilities. Currently, sports betting is allowed only in in-person gambling venues.

The North Carolina state lottery Commission plans to introduce “digital instants,” which are the equivalent of scratch-off tickets with cash prizes. Although the state lottery has the right to bypass the legislature and approve any game offered by another state lottery, the idea has faced strong opposition. The state attorney general strongly opposed the suggestion. He said that it is inconsistent with the laws in the state, which prohibit video sweepstake games.

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