North Carolina is the latest state to launch a legal sports betting industry, with the first legal wagers placed in the Tar Heel State on March 18 2021, opening just in time for the NCAAB March Madness tournament. It is no coincidence at all that the state should choose to open the sports betting industry for March Madness, given that North Carolina has won 6 March Madness titles, the third-most successful school in tournament history and a number only exceeded by Kentucky and UCLA. Of course, Duke, another North Carolina school, has also won the March Madness title 5 times.
For now at least, it is not possible to bet on an online sportsbook like 888Sport, FanDuel or BetMGM. For the time being, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI) have opened ‘The Book’, a land-based sports betting venue, at its Harrah’s casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.
Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, announced that now there is quality bricks-and-mortar sports book available in the Tar Heel State, it gives the state’s residents an opportunity to get a feel for the past time (ahead of the potential legalization of online sportsbooks?) and to place legal sports wagers for the very first time;
“We are excited to offer legal sports betting at The Book, and just in time for March Madness,” Sneed said.
The two sportsbooks both opened their doors for business at 10.00am, Thursday March 18, a mere few hours before the beginning of the March Madness tournament.
What North Carolina’s 2 sports books offer to betting fans
‘The Book’ at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, located in Cherokee, features a 90-foot-wide television screen for watching all the sports action play out, a viewing area with USB charging ports and comfortable reclining chairs, betting kiosks, a raised VIP seating zone, and three exclusive “fan caves” that can be rented out for private events, parties and work-related team bonding sessions.
The other version of ‘The Book’ at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, located just outside of Murphy, North Carolina features a 32-foot viewing screen, accompanying comfortable seating area, a number of betting kiosks and bar-top betting opportunities.
Now that two sports betting venues have opened for legal betting in the Tar Heel State, many are already curious how long it will be until other sportsbooks open in the North Carolina. The South Carolina-based Catawba Nation reached a compact with Tar Heel State Governor Roy Cooper in January that would potentially permit allow legal sports betting and casino gaming at a casino that the tribe plans to build on the outskirts of Charlotte. Fearing the prospective competition coming from a fellow tribe, the EBCI is now contesting the legality of the Catawba Tribe to build a casino within the state lines of North Carolina.
Likewise, many others are thinking about the possibility of when online sports wagering will eventually become legal. Under its current laws, North Carolina bans virtually all forms of online gaming, however, the North Carolina Lottery Commission undertook a study in 2019 at the request of the State Legislature. Whilst no timeline was given, it was recommended by the third party undertaking the study that online sportsbook operation should begin in the Tar Heel State and that the state’s lottery commission be tasked with licensing and regulating any legal online sportsbook operations.
The clock is ticking for North Carolina online sports betting to be introduced with nearby neighbors like Tennessee and Virginia already quick out of the blocks and booming. The state’s lawmakers will need to act quickly before bettors become too accustomed to driving over the state’s borders to place their bets.