North Carolina

Sports Betting in North Carolina

The gambling environment in North Carolina isn’t quite as restrictive as in their neighbors in South Carolina—but they’re close.  Unlike many states, the state started off as being strongly opposed to gambling freedom and very little has happened to change that.  

North Carolina’s anti-gambling tone dates back to the 1700’s.  Initially, the state tried a couple of roundabout ways to discouraging games of chance.  They first tried laws that made gambling debt ‘non recoverable’. Since most gambling debts are handled informally, this didn’t have much impact.  They then tried another roundabout way, adding high tax rates on ‘gambling equipment’ including playing cards and gaming tables. That was another failure so the state then did what they likely should have done in the first place and just made it illegal altogether.  For well over 100 years there was no change in the state’s gambling laws other than some liberalization for charity bingo games.

That changed in 1982, when the Eastern Cherokee Tribe began operating a high stakes bingo game on their native land.  This was somewhat contentious in a backwards state run by religious fundamentalists so it would take over a decade until a compact was signed between North Carolina and the Cherokee Tribe.  Three years later, a large Harrah’s Casino would open on tribal land. There are now two such casinos on Cherokee land offering slots, table games and live poker action.

A lottery began in 2006, cynically called the ‘NC Education Lottery’ with a very similar format to South Carolina’s game.  The North Carolina has a ho hum mix of draw games and scratch offs. You can buy tickets online and an interesting twist they’re also available at gas pumps via a game format called ‘Play at the Pump’.

That’s pretty much it for gambling in North Carolina.  The state has done everything possible to deny citizens of the Tarheel State the freedom to wager and in the rare instance that a loophole is found they go out of their way to shut it down.  This happened in 2007 with a crackdown on video poker machines in bars and in 2013 on Internet sweepstakes parlors. The state has never had legal parimutuel wagering so there’s little to suggest that they’d be looking to add sports betting anytime soon.

Sports Betting in Charlotte

Charlotte is a big city these days and the spiritual home of NASCAR auto racing.  It’s not a great place for gamblers unfortunately. The gambling environment in North Carolina isn’t quite as restrictive as in their neighbors in South Carolina—but its close.  Unlike many states, the state started off as being strongly anti-gambling and nothing has happened to change that.

North Carolina’s anti-gambling tone dates back to the 1700’s. For well over 200 years there was no change in the state’s gambling laws other than some liberalization for charity bingo games. That changed in 1982, when the Eastern Cherokee Tribe began operating a high stakes bingo game on their native land.  This was somewhat contentious in a backwards state run by religious fundamentalists so it would take over a decade until a compact was signed between North Carolina and the Cherokee Tribe. Three years later, a large Harrah’s Casino would open on tribal land. There are now two such casinos on Cherokee land offering slots, table games and live poker action.

A lottery began in 2006, cynically called the ‘NC Education Lottery’ with a very similar format to South Carolina’s game.  The North Carolina has a ho hum mix of draw games and scratch offs. You can buy tickets online and an interesting twist they’re also available at gas pumps via a game format called ‘Play at the Pump’.  The state has never had legal parimutuel wagering so there’s little to suggest that they’d be looking to add sports betting anytime soon.

The bad news for North Carolina residents is that there’s not really anything in neighboring states.  The closest option is an interesting one, at least for well heeled gamblers—that’s The Greenbrier Resort five hours away in West Virginia which has a private casino for hotel guests.  That’s a drive to be sure but it’s a beautiful property and the casino has a nice mix including a FanDuel run sportsbook to go with slot machines and table games.

Other than that, the Charlotte gambler’s best option is to head over to Douglas Airport and board a plane.  It’s a four hour flight to Las Vegas and all that ‘Sin City’ has to offer. There’s also a very inexpensive route between Charlotte and Philadelphia where round trip tickets can frequently be had for under $100.  Once you get to Philadelphia you’ve got some choices. You can stay in town and play at Harrah’s Philadelphia or the Sugar House Casino. You can also take a train or car for the hour trip to Atlantic City.

Sports Betting in Raleigh

The Raleigh-Durham area has supplanted Charlotte as the ‘tech hub’ of North Carolina. Unfortunately, they’re in the same boat when it comes to meager gambling options. North Carolina is one of the most restrictive states for gambling in the Southeast.

There’s at least a couple of casinos in the state. In 1982 the Eastern Cherokee Tribe began operating a high stakes bingo game on their native land. This was somewhat contentious in a backwards state run by religious fundamentalists so it would take over a decade until a compact was signed between North Carolina and the Cherokee Tribe. Three years later, a large Harrah’s Casino would open on tribal land. There are now two such casinos on Cherokee land offering slots, table games and live poker action. They’re not exactly convenient to Raleigh, however, and require a nearly 5 hour drive on I-40 West to get there.

A lottery began in 2006, cynically called the ‘NC Education Lottery’ with a very similar format to South Carolina’s game. The North Carolina has a ho hum mix of draw games and scratch offs. You can buy tickets online and an interesting twist they’re also available at gas pumps via a game format called ‘Play at the Pump’. The state has never had legal parimutuel wagering so there’s little to suggest that they’d be looking to add sports betting anytime soon.

Flying is almost as convienent from Raleigh Durham Airport as it is from Charlotte’s Douglas International. It’s a four hour flight to Las Vegas and all that ‘Sin City’ has to offer and a round trip ticket can be bought for under $300 There’s also an inexpensive route between Raleigh and Philadelphia where round trip tickets can frequently be had for under $200. Once you get to Philadelphia you can stay in town and play at Harrah’s Philadelphia or the Sugar House Casino or take a train or car for the hour trip to Atlantic City.

As seen on