Is Online Sports Betting Legal in North Carolina?
As of right now, sports betting is not legal in North Carolina and while there are reasons that may change one day, it’s definitely not going to happen overnight.
North Carolina has two tribal casinos, which is a big step towards legalized sports betting, but historically the Tar Heel State has adopted a firm anti-gambling stance which still endures today.
In this complete guide to legal NC sports betting our experts break down all the key points including:
- The history of sports betting and gambling in North Carolina.
- How the US Supreme Court decision of 2018 changed the state’s legal situation.
- If online sports betting will become legalized plus when and how it will happen.
We’ll also touch on lots of other important points including the daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting situation, the sports North Carolinians are most likely to focus their action on when legal betting begins, and exactly how NC online sports betting sites will work.
For more information on the sports betting laws in other parts of the country, check out our state by state guides.
Supreme Court Decision on Sports Betting
For those not well-versed in the sports betting world, you might have missed out on one very important headline from 2018.
The Supreme Court in the States struck down a 1992 law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which previously banned sports gambling everywhere in the US except Nevada. The law was designed to “protect the integrity of the game” and effectively banned US sports gambling at the federal level.
After PASPA was struck down, each state has the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting, both live and online, if they so choose.
Unfortunately for residents in North Carolina, they did not make the list of 28 states who currently have plans to legalize sports betting. However, there are reasons to be optimistic that this will change, but for now, North Carolina is left in the dark in regards to online sports betting.
Before we get into the current situation in North Carolina following the 2018 legislation on online sports betting, let's look at a brief history of sports betting in the State.
The History of Online Sports Betting in North Carolina
Before we dive deeper into NC’s current sports betting situation, let’s rewind and take a look at the state’s gambling history in order to get some context.
Early Days of NC Gambling
Gambling laws in the State echoed the anti-gambling sentiments from back in England, and they weren’t positive.
In 1749. A law was passed that banned gambling where debts greater than 100 pounds.
In 1784, gambling (table games in particular) were on the upswing as a way to generate more revenue for the government but it didn’t last long.
From 1809 to 1835 the state licensed over 60 lotteries but in 1835, as part of a country-wide movement against lotteries, they were all banned again.
Tribal Casinos and Bingo in NC
In 1982 the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians started offering high-stakes bingo games, following a federal decision that exempted Indian reservations from state limits on bingo.
In 1994 the tribe reached an agreement with then-governor Jim Hunt in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. That led to the states first tribal casino, the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which opened in 1997.
It wasn’t until 2012 that the casino was able to start offering table games, following a new agreement reached between the Eastern Band and Governor Beverly Perdue. The new compact also allowed for the construction of a second casino, Harrah’s Cherokee River Valley, which opened in 2015.
Video Poker Banned
In the early 2000s, video poker machines were widespread in Carolina. While that might have shown an eagerness to make gambling more widespread in the State, Video Poker machines quickly became a thing of the past. The Senate repeatedly tried to shut them down, and they were eventually successful in 2007.
North Carolina Implements Lottery
For a state that’s generally opposed to gambling, there was a breakthrough of sorts in 2006, when the State announced the North Carolina Education Lottery which offers scratch games, Powerball, and Mega Millions.
The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in North Carolina
So with the historical examples listed above, we’ve painted a picture of a State that is largely opposed to betting of all sorts. Unfortunately that attitude currently applies to sports betting as well.
But how long will that opposition last?
One thing is clear. North Carolina is far less progressive than most other US states when it comes to responding to the US Supreme Court decision of 2018. More than half the states in the country have announced at least some plan to legalize sports gambling. North Carolina falls into the minority that hasn’t announced any legislation whatsoever.
There are a few major factors pressuring NC lawmakers to reconsider their position.
The biggest factor is financial. The state government would bring in millions of dollars per year through taxes and other regulations which it could put towards public programs. The opportunity for revenue has been the single biggest driving force for legalization in other states and we expect it to be the same in NC.
Current Sports Betting Laws in North Carolina
It’s not just online sports betting that the state of North Carolina outlaws. The current laws ban basically all forms of online gambling. Here’s what the statute on online gambling states.
“Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in Part 2 of this Article, any person or organization that operates any game of chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to a person who plays at or bets on any lottery game being lawfully conducted in any state.”
Committing this offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina, and is punishable by a fine or up to 60 days in prison.
Which Online Sports Betting Sites are Legal in North Carolina?
Unfortunately for residents in North Carolina, there are no legal betting sites that are safe to use.
Technically, there are no laws that outlaw betting on offshore sites but doing so comes with risks. Since these sites aren’t licensed or regulated in the US, resolving disputes or getting your money back when something goes wrong can be very difficult.
If legalization does happen in North Carolina, here are three options that are likely to offer safe, secure, and national platforms to the state.
This Canadian-based website is already accepting bets in the US in places like New Jersey and we expect it to be a good bet for new states that allow legal betting.
Sports Interaction used to be based in the United States but decided to focus on Canada when US officials started making it harder and harder to deposit money into offshore accounts.
This globally-successful betting site already boasts a long-standing reputation in the sports betting industry. The 888 brand was founded in 1997 and has built an empire in the two decades since.
888sport already accepts sports wagers in New Jersey and is actively pursuing opportunities in other parts of the US. Originally from London, the outlet offers $20 for your first play, a variety of ways to make deposits to place your bets, and a long-standing reputation that draws in new customers.
This long-standing casino brand from Nevada released an online sportsbook for residents in New Jersey earlier in 2018, and there’s hope that the enterprise will expand its presence in the United States.
Early reviews from users in New Jersey are solid, which could persuade MGM Sports to move into new markets like North Carolina.
What Sports Can You Bet on Online in North Carolina?
Once online sports betting (eventually, hopefully) becomes legalized in North Carolina, residents will be able to bet on sports of all kinds from North America and around the world.
In North Carolina, there are a number of professional and college teams that will draw most of the attention from local sports bettors.
- Charlotte Hornets (NBA)
- Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)
- Charlotte Checkers (AHL, farm team for the Hurricanes)
- Carolina Panthers (NFL)
There are also a number of motorsports that are popular in North Carolina so It’s a good bet that racing will be a focal point for sports bettors in the state too.
How to Bet on Sports Legally in North Carolina
If (but more likely when) legal online sports betting comes to Carolina, here’s a simplified look at what betting on sports legally will look like.
- Browse legal, American-based sports betting websites and find the site that you like best. WSN will review the best options based on important features like bonuses, variety of bets and quality of software.
- Sign up and make a deposit. The registration process is always fast and convenient. Legal online sportsbooks accept a wide variety of payment options so making your first deposit is easy.
- Claim your bonus. Most sites offer the best bonuses to new customers when they make the first deposit. Make sure to choose an online betting site that’s offering a juicy bonus.
- Place your first bet. Use the site or app to find the games you want to bet on and then place your wagers.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in North Carolina?
If you’re looking for a glimmer of good news in this article, you’re in the right section. One of the greatest sports betting trends in the 21st century has been the rise of fantasy sports betting, and residents have access to fantasy sports betting in North Carolina.
Here are three options for legal fantasy sports betting in North Carolina.
One of the most popular sports betting websites in the United States. Estimates for 2019 predict the website will pay out approximately $1 billion in winnings.
Another huge player in the DFS world, FanDuel reportedly paid out almost $2 billion in winnings in 2015. Like the other sites, FanDuel offers good bonuses for first-time players.
The newcomer to the fantasy sports game, DraftDay is already making waves, A couple of the reasons they are becoming more popular is because of their user-friendly interface and valuable bonuses.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in North Carolina?
In the short term, things are pretty bleak for those looking for sports betting options in North Carolina. There are no plans on trying to pass legislation, and there’s certainly opposition for sports betting in the state.
Here’s what State Rep. Pricey Harrison had to say about the possibility of legalizing sports betting in North Carolina.
“My knee-jerk reaction is it’s not good for the state, and I’d hate to see us open up to the whole gambling industry in North Carolina. I think we’re better than that. Who knows how this will affect the integrity of the sports? I think it’s insidious.”
As long as opposition like that exists, it’s going to be some time before sports betting makes its way to North Carolina. That being said, the attitudes will likely change as more states legalize and promote online sports betting.
Don’t Expect Legal NC Sports Betting Anytime Soon
One of the blockades towards getting sports betting legalized in North Carolina is the heavily conservative presence in state politics. As mentioned earlier, the history of gambling in North Carolina has mainly been about making betting activities illegal.
However, as the world changes, there is certainly a chance that things will start to change in North Carolina, it is just not likely to happen anytime soon.
“It’s going to be a tough sell in North Carolina,” said State Representative John Faircloth.
The fact that the state has allowed two tribal casinos is definitely a big step. Furthermore, the legalization of casino table games in 2012 indicates that sentiments towards gambling may be warming.
As other states implement their own laws on sports betting, the tide might turn in North Carolina, but residents in North Carolina shouldn’t hold their breath and expect any speedy legislation to bring them sports betting in the near future.
Check back on this page for news and updates on North Carolina’s progress towards legal online sports betting. We’ll post major developments as they happen.