North Carolina is a state that loves its sports. There is a hungry audience for the professional league teams with names like the Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers, and the Carolina Hurricanes, on top of it being the NASCAR capital of the country. And yet, sports betting is still illegal.
There are ways that a typical North Carolina sports fan can enjoy some sports betting legally, including fantasy sports and tribal casinos. Still, for the most part, it’s a matter of waiting to see if officials in the House legalize North Carolina sports betting next year in 2023.
If you can’t wait that long, look at our guide. We’re covering all the ways you can legally partake in North Carolina sports betting and where to head for a good night in North Carolina.
Legal Online Sports Betting in North Carolina
Unfortunately, legal sports wagering has not yet come to fruition, unlike in other parts of the United States. That’s not without a fierce campaign that isn’t giving up next year, but it was simply not meant to be in 2022. In fact, North Carolina has yet to legalize any form of sports gambling, including online sportsbook websites, which explains why the bid to get legal sports betting off the ground doesn’t seem to have gotten anywhere.
However, there are opportunities for North Carolinian residents to gamble within North Carolina. There are two tribal casinos, for instance, with different laws that allow North Carolina locals to gamble in the vicinity. In addition, you can partake in North Carolina sports betting on the premises if you have an app. Such apps can include the already established brands of PointsBet, BetMGM, BetRivers, WynnBET, FOX Bet, and more.
For North Carolina sports betting, fans can turn to fantasy sports, which offers a cousin to actual sports betting as an alternative. Fantasy sports betting is considered a game of skill rather than chance and has been legal in North Carolina since its inception. If you want to participate, you can download the DraftKings or FanDuel app to join the sports betting fun.
How To Pick A North Carolina Sports Betting Site
If you participate in any North Carolina sports betting, your options are slim. The only options you have are fantasy sports betting sites, which means choosing between either DraftKings or FanDuel.
If things go as planned, however, and North Carolina sportsbooks are legalized, you’re likely to see a lot of established and new operators popping up across the state. But, of course, the same rules apply to betting on fantasy, real sports, or slot machines.
Make sure the site you’re playing with is licensed and regulated by an authority that the US government recognizes. In North Carolina, that doesn’t exist in a state-wide capacity but will probably be established after sports betting is legalized. A licensed and regulated gambling site will offer you an extra layer of protection should you unfairly lose your money and will ensure that your data is protected through encryption services.
You might want to compare their odds if you decide between a few sportsbooks. You should find up to date betting odds, lines, and prices on any teams or games you’re looking to bet on. There is no harm in comparing, so you get the best deal.
History / Timeline Of Sports Betting in North Carolina
Like the rest of the nation, the history of North Carolina sports betting started in 2018 with the overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. A year later, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill permitting retail sports betting and horse racing betting on tribal lands, allowing the two tribal casinos in North Carolina to accept sports betting.
At one point, it appeared as though residents of North Carolina would soon have access to an increased number of chances for wagering on sporting events. SB 688 was quickly and easily passed by the North Carolina Senate, and there were indications that the law had enough support in the House of Representatives to be approved.
The bill failed in the House with just a 51-50 vote. So, as yet, North Carolina sports betting isn’t yet legalized. It won’t be until 2023 before lawmakers get another go at passing legislation governing mobile sports betting if they still have any interest in doing so.
North Carolina Sports Teams
North Carolina has a rich culture with sports. There are North Carolina sports teams for all the major professional leagues, including the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLS, and a love of NASCAR, lacrosse, and women’s soccer. North Carolina’s Charlotte track is considered the heart and soul of NASCAR, attracting North Carolina sports betting fans from all over the vicinity. In addition, North Carolina is one of the few states to have its professional lacrosse team in the Professional Lacrosse League, the Charlotte Copperheads.
A lot of the North Carolina teams reside in Charlotte. Basketball fans enjoy the efforts of the Charlotte Hornets, and soccer fans can watch Charlotte FC play. Football fans can watch the Carolina Panthers, while hockey fans can watch the Carolina Hurricanes. If you are a fan of women’s soccer in NC, no doubt you’ve seen the North Carolina Courage play.
And that’s all without mentioning the college teams that bring North Carolina sports betting fans from all over the state, like the Charlotte 49ers, the Carolina Thunderbirds, and more.
North Carolina sports betting fans are in the perfect hub to enjoy all the sports they can absorb. But, unfortunately, its neighboring states are pretty lacking in professional teams aside from Tennessee, which has the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, the NHL has the Tennessee Nashville Predators, Nashville SC for MLS, and the NFL’s Tennesee Titans.
There is a lot for North Carolina sports fans to love; they need the outlet now. Once legalized, the North Carolina sports betting market will blossom with all the teams and sports beloved in the Tar Heel State.
Retail Sportsbook in North Carolina
Even without North Carolina sports betting legalized, there are opportunities to gamble in the state. North Carolina has two casinos, which are both tribal. They are further detailed in the tribal casino category of this guide.
But unfortunately, that means that if you want to do your sports betting in a retail casino, North Carolina sports betting fans will have to travel. Options are sparse. For example, there are no casinos in Tennessee. However, mobile sports betting and online sports betting are legal in Tennessee if you just happen to be stopping by and fancy some sports betting. This is also the case in Virginia if you prefer a wander into the Mother of States.
And unfortunately, sports betting, including on a betting app, is not legal in South Carolina. However, they have four riverboat/cruise casinos dotted along the South Carolina coast if you are okay with foregoing the sports betting option for some traditional table and slot betting.
The Big M Casino is reviewed as the best of these casinos, with 248 slot machines, 13 table games, 7 poker tables, and a venue that provides live music by local performers for a fun night away.
If you are determined to do some North Carolina sports betting in a retail casino, your best bet would be West Virginia, which has five racinos in a state that has welcomed sports betting legally since 2018. It might be across two state lines, but unfortunately, it’s your best choice from North Carolina.
There are two tribal casinos in North Carolina, which don’t have sportsbooks attached, unfortunately, but do allow for sports betting in the venue, which means you can download a sportsbook app and bet through the app. But suppose you want a fun weekend away. In that case, you can visit the Harrahs Cherokee Casino Resort and the Harrahs Cherokee Valley River, both run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Harrah’s Cherokee has 3,280 slots, 100 table games, and 20 poker tables to ensure you are always playing. There is also a pool with a poolside bar, two bars, 10 dining options, and a venue for live concerts and entertainment.
A smaller venue, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River casino has 1,000 slot machines, 70 table games, and 15 poker tables. Still, it also has a golf course for the sports fans, six dining options, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park right on its doorstep.
Unfortunately, the neighboring states of Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina all have no tribal casinos, so you might have to keep traveling further to see what tribal casinos are out there, and that will offer sports betting as an option.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports betting suffers from being in a gray area legally. It has been deemed a game of skill rather than chance by the authorities, and yet, is still considered sports betting and therefore has been banned under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and since the overturn of PASPA, the decision on whether or not to ban daily fantasy sports has been left up to the respective state.
For North Carolina, this means that daily fantasy sports betting is legal. As a result, North Carolina sports betting fans can freely participate in fantasy sports betting on all their favorite teams. The most popular fantasy sports betting providers are undoubtedly DraftKings and FanDuel, which offer North Carolina sports betting on everything from American football to golf and eSports.
Over time, daily fantasy sports have evolved into a loved hobby, with or without the sports betting element, so there are likely to be many North Carolina sports betting fans that will want a piece of the fantasy action.
Offshore Sports Betting
It’s not recommended to use any offshore sports betting sites. These sites are not regulated by the US government and therefore have much more lax regulations and less protection when you are taking part in North Carolina sports betting.
However, it is an option if you want to do some North Carolina sports betting and can’t do so on US websites. If you insist on using offshore gambling websites, at least ensure they are licensed and recognized by an authority that the US government recognizes. That would be either the Costa Rica Gaming Authority or the Curacao Gaming Authority. There is some protection there, but less than what you would get from a site authorized by a US state authority. Furthermore, if you play on these sites and lose your money unfairly, the government has little sway to help you get it back.
North Carolina Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
North Carolina sports betting fans are particularly deprived of sports betting opportunities. The blanket ban on sports betting across the US typically exempts horse and greyhound racing since many racetracks were already built and established across the country. North Carolina was not one of them. No racinos were built in the brief window of legality between 1948 and 54. When the decision was passed to state authorities at that time, North Carolina opted not to legalize horseracing.
And unfortunately, they’re not alone; the surrounding states of South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee lack racinos. So again, the North Carolina sports betting fan would have to turn to West Virginia, which has five highly acclaimed racinos, or take a ferry to Delaware, where there are three: the Dover Downs, the Harrington, and the Delaware Park.
Final Thoughts / Summary
Aside from the lack of racinos and the illegality of North Carolina sports betting, sports betting fans can get involved in sports betting legally and safely within the state. Daily fantasy sports can be just as engaging as the real thing, and if that isn’t good enough for you, you can head to one of the state’s tribal casinos for sports betting. Of course, it’ll have to do until sports betting is legalized, hopefully in 2023.