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Legal Gambling in North Carolina

Gambling in North Carolina is not as clear cut as it is in other states. With many Bible Belt states enacting strong restrictions surrounding gambling, NC is no different. However, with many places starting to legalize sports betting and daily fantasy sports, the Tar Heel State might soon start to regulate gambling in many new forms.

Gambling in North Carolina is not as clear cut as it is in other states. With many Bible Belt states enacting strong restrictions surrounding gambling, NC is no different. However, with many places starting to legalize sports betting and daily fantasy sports, the Tar Heel State might soon start to regulate gambling in many new forms.

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The Journey to Legalizing Sports Betting in North Carolina

Sports betting has taken off across the US since the Supreme Court overruled the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. This allowed many states to introduce and regulate sports betting as they saw fit. In North Carolina, online sports betting has been illegal for quite some time but that might be about to change.

The first step was ensuring sports betting became a legal form of gambling in North Carolina. They did this with SB 574, when state senators Jim Davis, Joyce Krawiec, and Mike Woodard introduced it to the government. They followed this with SB 154, when another group of senators headed by Davis introduced that too. Both bills passed through the State Senate in 2019 and became law. Governor Roy Cooper signed SB 154 on July 26, 2019, and then SB 574 on September 4, 2019.

Together, these bills allow the tribes who operate a Class III gaming facility to also offer sports betting. Online bettors in North Carolina may have to wait a little longer to wager on the internet. The sportsbooks will only be available in physical casinos, so players will have to travel there if they wish to place bets.

If these sportsbooks prove to be a success, there is a chance that lawmakers will introduce an online sports betting bill. We will follow and update on any new bills on this page.

Which Casinos to Play at in North Carolina

Though sports betting has become a legal form of gambling in North Carolina, players must do this through one of two tribal casinos. There is just one federally recognized tribe in the state – the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and they own both casinos. You can head to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort or Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River if you wish to try traditional casino games.

There are some online casinos that claim to accept players from North Carolina, but the state does not regulate these online destinations. You should always avoid participation in such services as this could lead to legal repercussions.

New brick-and-mortar casinos or safe online casinos could launch at any time. If sports betting at the two existing casinos gains traction, North Carolina lawmakers may extend their regulations to allow new casinos. You will be able to follow the progress of any new bills that the state introduces on this page.

North Carolina Doesn’t Regulate Online Poker Sites

Many people enjoy the game of poker in North Carolina. Currently, you can only play it at one of the casinos, however there are plenty of games and tournaments for players to join. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is even a stop on the WSOP tour.

In North Carolina, online poker is a different matter. Like in many other states, the government does not regulate any online sites for players to indulge in this card game. No matter what the sites themselves might say, you should not consider them safe places to play. Lawmakers may introduce some changes to make online poker legal in North Carolina, but so far it appears that they don’t have an interest in heading down this path.

If lawmakers decide to consider online poker as a legal form of gambling in North Carolina, you will find updates here on this page.

Players Cannot Enjoy Daily Fantasy Sports Legally in North Carolina

Daily fantasy sports have been a massive point of contention in North Carolina for some years now. With the states surrounding NC slowly regulating daily fantasy sports, lawmakers here have attempted to do the same. The last major attempt came in 2019, but lawmakers did not include the necessary legislation in SB 574 to do so.

Many of the top fantasy sports operators do offer their products in North Carolina. However, since there is no regulation in place, Legalbetting recommends that players refrain from engaging in them until the state’s government wholly regulates them.

Playing the State Lottery in North Carolina

The state launched the lottery in North Carolina in 2005, making it one of the youngest in the US. The bill to introduce the law was very controversial and a tie on the votes led to a breaker being cast by then-Lieutenant Governor Bev Purdue.

Players can take part in twice-daily draw games for small jackpots or they can take part in the pari-mutuel Carolina Cash 5 jackpot. This has jackpots starting from $100,000. Players can also buy tickets for Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball. All three of these games are multijurisdictional games played alongside lottery players from other states.

Players can buy tickets and scratch cards from retailers all around the state. Thanks to the lottery’s app, you can check the winning numbers and purchase tickets to some online games. Players can also earn points and enter some second chance draws to further enrich their play.

Other Important Gambling Facts About North Carolina

Revenue from the North Carolina Lottery partly goes back into the education system for the state. They give this money to several areas including Pre-K, school construction, and college scholarships. In the 2018/19 school year, the lottery raised over $709 million for education programs. In 2019, this money provided a free year of tuition to 13,427 pre-K children and granted a scholarship to 22,915 students. The lottery can also provide grants to aid students with the high costs of living that come with college. In 2019, 51,437 students received these grants.

What Does the Future Hold for Gambling in North Carolina?

Though gambling laws in North Carolina might seem quite strict for now, they are easing off. The introduction of sports betting and the conversation around daily fantasy sports and new casinos is a step in the right direction. Fully regulated gambling might be coming to the Tar Heel State soon.


Yes, gambling is partially legal in North Carolina. Players can engage in the Lottery or head to one of the two casinos for traditional casino games and sports betting.

No, sweepstakes are not yet illegal in North Carolina, but legislators do not view them positively. There have been many attempts to shut down sweepstakes over the years, but the state still permits the running of them.

No, you cannot legally play online poker in North Carolina as there are no legal sites that the state regulates. However, you can head to one of the two casinos where there are plenty of poker tables and even some tournaments to buy into.

No, online sports betting is not yet legal in North Carolina. However, bettors will be able to engage with sports bets in one of the physical casinos owned by the state’s federally recognized tribe.


Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer is constantly on the lookout for the latest updates on US gambling legislation. She has a soft spot for blackjack and poker, but spends a lot of time writing about other facets of the online gambling world as well.

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