North Carolina looks to be the next state to legalize sports betting this year. Earlier this week the House voted to approve a sports betting bill that will allow betting at two tribal casinos located in the state. The bill, Senate Bill 154, already cleared the Senate back in April, and will now head to Governor Roy Cooper after the House vote.
The bill passed in both the Senate and House with ease and Governor Cooper has a 30-day window to decide what his action will be in regards to the bill. Cooper could sign the bill into law, veto it, or let it pass without his signature. Nothing is a guarantee at this time, but it is assumed that Cooper will allow the bill to pass. With or without his signature seems to be the question.
The two tribal casinos that will benefit from the bill are Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. Both casinos are under the control of the Eastern band of Cherokee Indians.
Under the bill, sports betting will only be legal at these two casinos, and only on-site at the casino sportsbook. There will be no online or mobile sports betting in North Carolina for the time being.
North Carolina has always been viewed as a strict gambling state. The state didn’t even have a lottery until 2005, and even that was barely passed. Due to its history with gambling, many expected North Carolina would be one of the last states to legalize sports betting. If this sports betting bill passes, North Carolina will be the seventh state to legalize sports betting in 2019.
A Second Bill
Another bill is currently in consideration by the Senate. House Bill 929 will establish the North Carolina Gaming Commission. The commission would not have the power to oversee sports betting at tribal casinos. However, it will be tasked with studying sports betting and the effect that it has on people and the economy. The idea is that this commission would be a part of any future gambling expansions in the state.
While sports betting will be allowed in North Carolina under the terms of SB 154, the state isn’t so much legalizing sports betting as they are just allowing for the two tribal casinos to offer it under their current compacts. No other facilities will be allowed to operate sports betting, and there is no mobile/online either.
Future expansions in North Carolina may require a little more work, which is why the creation of the North Carolina Gaming Commission is important. The study they conduct will go far in determining what other gambling expansions, if any, that North Carolina sees anytime soon.
The two tribal casinos are located in the western part of North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel location could attract sports bettors from Georgia and South Carolina, as neither of those states currently has legal sports betting.