This year, North Carolina online gambling received a shot in the arm when the state expanded sports betting options.
Online sports betting will launch between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024, and it will be up to the North Carolina Lottery Commission, regulator of the industry, to prepare operations for launch. That’s a tall order and one we’re following closely.
Online casino legalization had been tossed into a late-game conversation about legalizing commercial casinos through the state budget, but that push ultimately died a day before lawmakers voted on the budget.
With online and retail sports betting on the docket and the possibility of casino expansion in the next year, the floodgates on North Carolina gambling could be opening. NCSharp provides the latest North Carolina online gambling news from around the Tar Heel State.
Latest North Carolina gambling news
Legal gambling options in North Carolina
Real money online casinos are not legal in North Carolina though retail casinos could become a reality by the end of this legislative session. Meanwhile, North Carolinians can play a variety of casino games online at social and sweepstakes casinos like Pulsz, Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots and Funzpoints. There are also three tribal casinos in North Carolina. Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River each feature slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, and other casino favorites, while Catawba Two Kings Casino has slots and electronic table games.
Betting on sports is legal in North Carolina in a limited way but will be expanding in 2024. The only places to bet on sports in the state are at the retail sportsbooks at the two Cherokee-operated casinos in the western part of the state and at the Catawba Nation’s Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain just outside of Charlotte. Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation in June to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina. North Carolina residents could start betting online as soon as Jan. 8, 2024.
The North Carolina Educational Lottery is especially popular, and it has become even more so since the state began allowing online sales of lottery tickets. You can purchase tickets online for six draw games: Carolina Cash 5, Lucky for Life, Carolina Pick 4, Carolina Pick 3, Mega Millions and Powerball. You can use the NC Education Lottery website or download and use the official NC Lottery app to purchase tickets. North Carolina was a relative latecomer when it came to introducing a state-run lottery, with tickets going on sale in 2006. However, the state was one of the first in the country to allow online lottery ticket sales, doing so in 2013.
Daily fantasy sports
Like many other states, North Carolina has no specific legislation authorizing daily fantasy sports and, thus, no framework to regulate it or collect taxes on it. However, the state also has no law prohibiting the activity, meaning people in North Carolina are free to enter the contests at DraftKings, FanDuel and other sites.
Online poker for real money is not an option in North Carolina, although poker players in the state can play online at Global Poker, a sweepstakes-style site. For live poker players, there is an especially popular poker room at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee. The World Series of Poker-branded poker room features 32 tables with cash games around the clock and daily and weekly tournaments. The casino also frequently hosts WSOP Circuit stops, with as many as four in a year.
Charitable gaming and bingo
North Carolina allows various types of charitable gaming, the most popular being bingo. Nonprofit organizations can apply for a charitable bingo license to offer games to produce revenue. These organizations can also offer a limited number of raffles per year. In addition, in 2019, the state legalized game nights as another way for charitable organizations to raise funds, although such events can only happen east of Interstate 26 (i.e., not in proximity to the Cherokee casinos in western NC). Bingo fans can also play beach bingo at various locations for small prizes.
North Carolina online gambling FAQ
It depends on the type of gambling. You must be 18 or older to buy lottery tickets. And you must be at least 21 to gamble in the state’s tribal casinos. Online sports betting, when it launches, will also be a 21+ industry.
Most forms of online gambling in North Carolina are not legal, including real money online casinos. You can play games at online social and sweepstakes casinos for virtual currencies. You can also purchase lottery tickets online and enter daily fantasy sports contests online. Online sports betting is legal in North Carolina and is slated to launch between Jan. 8, 2024, and June 14, 2024.
Probably not in the next year or two. The state has only just legalized sports betting and retail casinos are not yet legal. It is usually the case that a state legalizes sports betting–both retail and online–and retail casinos before it addresses online casino.
With that said, casino expansion is moving quickly and murmurings of online casino expansion, while not included in current talks, have started to reverberate through the capital.
North Carolina currently allows sports betting at retail sportsbooks in the tribal casinos in the state. Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River each have Caesars sportsbooks. The Catawba Two Kings Casino also has a sportsbook. The state made online sports betting legal in June 2023, but it will not launch until Jan. 8, 2024, at the earliest.
No, you cannot play real money online poker in North Carolina the way you can in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and a few other states. That means you are not able to play on PokerStars or other online sites. However, you can play poker online at Global Poker, a sweepstakes-style site.
When it comes to North Carolina’s three tribal casinos, the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the tribal-state compacts and otherwise oversees the facilities’ operations. Meanwhile, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, a state agency belonging to the Department of Commerce, oversees the NC Education Lottery, sports betting and horse race betting. The Alcohol Law Enforcement agency, part of the NC Department of Public Safety, enforces criminal laws prohibiting illegal gambling.