Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes. North Carolina sports betting is legal online and at retail locations. However, online sports betting is not yet available in the state and bettors will have to wait until at least Jan. 8, 2024, for online sportsbooks to launch.
For now, bettors are limited to in-person betting. There are two Caesars sportsbooks in the western portion of the state, and both locations are part of tribal casinos — the similarly named Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. A third tribal casino, the temporary Catawba Two Kings Casino is open in King’s Mountain, west of Charlotte.
What’s happening in North Carolina sports betting right now
- Dec. 13, 2023 — NC regulators finalized sports betting rules in the state. This was a much-anticipated step for the state as it inches toward legal online sports betting.
- Dec. 12, 2023 — FanDuel partnered with the PGA in North Carolina ahead of the legalization of online sports betting in the state. Seven sports organizations in the state still need a sportsbook partner.
- Dec. 8, 2023 — NC sports betting regulators approved a second set of sports betting rules and are reportedly inching toward finalizing the rules.
- Dec. 6, 2023 — PENN Entertainment, ESPN Bet’s parent company, announced a partnership with Quail Hollow Club and the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship. The deal grants ESPN Bet access to the North Carolina sports betting market.
- Nov. 29, 2023 — NC sports betting regulators announced that they will not be able to launch legal online sports betting before Super Bowl 58. Regulators plan to have potential operators submit applications by December 27.
- Nov. 20, 2023 — The Charlotte Hornets have signed a deal with bet365 for the operator to become an official sports betting partner. This is the first deal between a sports team and a sportsbook in the state.
- Nov. 17, 2023 — NC regulators finalized the first set of sports betting rules. Part of the process included delaying a proposed ban on DFS products and temporarily removing restrictions on pick ’em-style games.
Potential North Carolina sportsbook apps
The new betting law allows for up to 12 online sportsbooks in North Carolina. And while we don’t yet know which sports betting providers will be active in the state, we can guess based upon their previous activities in other states and/or their connections to North Carolina. Here are the most likely candidates to begin offering the best sports betting promotions whenever North Carolina permits online wagering:
- Caesars — Two of North Carolina’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 few states where online sports betting is legal where DraftKings does not operate a book.
- 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 Tar Heel State residents and visitors already.
- ESPN Bet — Parent company PENN Entertainment has already inked a deal with Quail Hollow Club and the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship. The agreement grants ESPN access to the future online market in the state.
North Carolina sports betting law
Rep. Jason Saine filed sports betting bill HB 347 in the North Carolina General Assembly on March 13, 2023, and Gov. Roy Cooper signed it into law on June 14, 2023, after it had bounced back and forth between the Senate and House to receive approval for changes. Here are some of the main features of the new-look North Carolina sports betting industry:
- The bill authorizes up to 12 legal online sportsbooks, as well as eight in-person sportsbooks at professional sports venues in the state. Each license carries a $1 million fee for five years as well as an 18% tax.
- Lawmakers in the Senate also decided to prohibit operators from deducting promotional credits from sports betting revenue.
- Partnerships with the eight North Carolina sports betting venues will give a few different providers a leg up on the competition for licenses, and the venues include an NFL stadium, NBA and NHL arenas, PGA host courses and NASCAR circuits.
- North Carolina online sportsbooks could take $6.8 billion in bets by the second year of legal sports betting, according to LSR projections. That could generate $610.7 million in sports betting revenue for the state.
- Bettors in North Carolina must be 21 years old or older.
- Bettors are able to bet on in-state college teams
Legal sports betting options in NC
The only legal sports betting options at the moment in North Carolina are the retail sportsbooks located at the three tribal casinos in the state. Two sportsbooks are operated by Caesars and owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The third is owned and operated by the Catawba Nation.
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
- Catawba Two Kings Casino (Temporary): 538 Kings Mountain Blvd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086
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 and have made it to the Super Bowl a couple of times 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, with Michael Jordan owning a minority stake, 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.
People in North Carolina can bet on those teams, as well as any other Division I college teams in and out of state.
North Carolina and daily fantasy sports
Entering daily fantasy sports competitions is legal in North Carolina. State lawmakers did not pass specific legislation that regulates and taxes DFS, but they did not outlaw the contests, either.
That means games from DFS providers 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 yet.
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
2023: After a long back-and-forth between the House and Senate, sports betting bill HB 347 passes, and Gov. Roy Cooper signs it into law on June 14, 2023.
2022: An online sports betting bill, SB 688, begins making its way through committee hearings in February. The Senate bill creates the possibility of 10 to 12 online sportsbooks. It passes the Senate convincingly but runs into strong opposition over its language and provisions in the House. After some debate and foot-dragging in the lower chamber, the bill fails to become law, and North Carolinians must wait at least another year for mobile sports wagering.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino opens a sportsbook in September. The casino sits on the North Carolina-South Carolina border about 40 minutes west of Charlotte.
2021: Legal sports betting begins at two casinos in the state, while a Senate bill aims to legalize online sports betting in the state. The bill is eligible to pick back up in the House when the 2022 session begins.
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.
North Carolina sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes. Sports betting is legal both online and in person in the state. However, mobile betting is not yet available, so all bets must be placed in person at one of the state’s three casinos. Online sports betting is expected to launch in North Carolina in early 2024.
Who will 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 requires greater oversight. As there is no true gambling commission in North Carolina, the most recent sports betting bill in the North Carolina Legislature named the NC Education Lottery as the regulator.
What is the legal gambling age in North Carolina?
Visitors at North Carolina gambling locations must be 21 or older to wager in a casino, and online sports bettors likewise will have to verify that they are 21 or older to place a bet.
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 such as these 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 at regulated sites.
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