North Carolina Retail Casinos

North Carolina retail casinos are not widely available…but that might change in the near future!

At the moment, there are only two retail casinos available, as well as no legal online casino apps. Both casinos are owned by the same company and operated by the same local Native American tribe. However, a third retail casino is due to open at the end of 2021 (though construction could be delayed due to coronavirus-related reasons).

Want to know where you can play casino games and possibly enjoy sports wagering in North Carolina? This page will break down everything there is to know about casinos, both retail and online, in this state.

Is Online Gambling And Sports Betting Legal In North Carolina?

No. Technically, daily fantasy sports is legal, but this does not count as gambling under the traditional understanding of the law. Similarly. online casinos in North Carolina are not real-money gambling options.  Instead, they operate under the promotional sweepstakes model.

Any other type of online gaming, ranging from lottery tickets to sports wagering to casino games is illegal. Only offshore or illegal betting apps are available, and these platforms are never recommended due to their security flaws and risk of identity theft.

In-person gaming is legal but in very limited contexts.

In North Carolina, both casino gaming and sports betting are only legal at in-person locations. That means there aren’t any available online casino or sports betting apps whatsoever. Online gaming is strictly illegal with the sole exception of daily fantasy sports or DFS, which operates in a legally gray area.

However, that could change sometime soon.

Sports Wagering Developments

Most recently, SB 688, which was sponsored by the Republican Majority Whip Jim Perry, has progressed through the North Carolina Senate and now needs to be discussed and passed in the House of Representatives before reaching the governor’s desk.

If it is passed, SB 688 could allow up to 12 interactive sports wagering licenses. This would cover both online and mobile sports betting, plus sports betting at casino locations (as is currently the case in North Carolina).

However, this legislation doesn’t include any provisions for online casino gaming. North Carolina’s legislature is likely waiting to see how the sports betting industry shapes up and the kind of revenue they receive before considering online casino gaming bills.

Still, any type of online gaming legislation would be a victory for North Carolina residents. They’re surrounded by many other states that do have legal online gambling industries. In addition, both of the retail casinos currently available are located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, making it difficult to enjoy some slot games or sports wagers when the mood strikes without significant planning beforehand.

Check this page frequently for more news and updates regarding online gaming in North Carolina!

North Carolina Casino List

As mentioned, North Carolina is home to two in-person casinos at the time of this writing. Both of these casinos are under Harrah’s branding and are owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. They also share a sportsbook brand called The Book.

However, a third hypothetical casino is currently under construction. Called Catawba Two Kings, it will be located near Charlotte, North Carolina, and is due to finish construction at the end of this year. The construction could be delayed for any number of reasons, however.

All the active and planned casinos in North Carolina include:

  • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort – This casino resort opened in 1997 and currently lives on a 56-acre property. It was expanded in 2012, then expanded again in 2017. At the time of this writing, the casino includes 24-hour gaming, 150,000 ft.² of casino space, and 3500 slot machines. Also included are 100 table games and The Book sportsbook. For amenities and restaurants, visitors have upscale and casual options, food venues, and an events center that can seat 3000 people. The entertainment center has 24 bowling lanes, an arcade, and more. There’s also an 1100-room hotel and an 18,000 ft.² spa. 
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino – This casino is also owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It opened in 2015 and is another solid option for North Carolina residents, though it is smaller than its counterpart. It has 50,000 ft.² of gaming space, 1050 slot machines, 70 table games, video poker, and another The Book sportsbook location. This casino has a food court and a single café, plus a 300 room hotel. Note that the Native American tribe is planning to expand this casino to add another hotel tower and more gaming opportunities sometime soon.
  • Cherokee Tribal Bingo – This third gambling location isn’t a full-on casino but is instead a bingo location that has 1000 seats and which allows bingo games from Wednesday through Sunday. Most bingo games start at 5:30 PM and games run all night. There’s a single restaurant for food and beverages for any attendees.
  • Two Kings Casino Resort – While not yet completed, this casino is set to open at the end of 2021 and several details are already known about its final amenities. It should include nearly 2000 ft.² of space, plus a 75,000 ft.² gaming floor. In total, the casino plans to have nearly 1800 gaming devices and 54 distinct table games. The casino will include a hotel with 1500 rooms, as well as restaurants and stores with combined seating for 940 people. A planned entertainment center will allow concerts and other entertainment events to be provided.

Due to North Carolina’s small size and geographic features, it’s unlikely that many more casinos will ever be constructed. If sports wagering or casino gaming is to expand, it will likely be by installing games, like slot machines, at other locations or by allowing the launch of mobile apps and online betting platforms.

Live Sports Betting In North Carolina

At the moment, live sports betting is the only type of sports wagering available for North Carolina residents. It’s available at The Book: a pair of sportsbooks operated by an independent company not fully associated with any other major operator.

However, both The Book locations get their odds from Caesars Entertainment and are well furnished with comfortable seating arrangements, amenities, servers, and more. Both sportsbooks also have widescreen TVs where sports wagerers can watch the action unfold on screen as they see whether their bets are correct.

At both The Book sportsbooks, you can place all manner of typical wagers, including moneyline, spread, totals, futures, parlay, and proposition bets. However, in-play betting is not supported since retail sportsbooks don’t have the infrastructure necessary to facilitate these wagers.

Furthermore, special wagers involving NFL games and basketball games are pretty common at both locations. You can place bets on all major American professional sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and more. Unfortunately, both of The Book sportsbooks don’t have much in the way of niche or international sports bets.

But this may change with the rise of online sports betting or the expansion of future casinos and retail sports betting locations. For example, if online sportsbooks launch, they will almost certainly come with live gaming features as well. These functions will let players put money down in the middle of the action and technically count as live sports wagering, even if the sports bets don’t take place at an in-person location.

Speaking of retail sportsbooks, SB 688 also includes hypothetical provisions for an expansion of retail sports wagering throughout North Carolina. Should this legislation be passed, sportsbooks could crop up in a variety of other areas aside from casinos, like sports bars, horse race tracks, and so on.

Time will tell how live sports betting shapes up in North Carolina as the industry progresses.

North Carolina Gambling FAQs

How old do I need to be to gamble in North Carolina?

You need to be 21 years of age or older because this is the legal gambling age in North Carolina overall. Remember, for now, you have to visit one of the Harrah’s casinos to place bets on sports. You have to be 21 in order to enter the casino in the first place.

Who regulates gambling in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety. However, this is likely because both of the retail casinos are currently overseen by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As sports betting and casino gaming expands, a new commission or regulatory body may be launched to regulate further gambling.

Who owns the casinos in North Carolina?

Both of the Harrah’s casinos in North Carolina are owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina. However, the under-construction Two Kings Resort Casino is owned by the Catawba Tribe.

Is DraftKings legal in North Carolina?

Yes, DraftKings is legal in North Carolina but only when offering daily fantasy sports. It is not legal for DraftKings to offer casino games or sports wagering at this time.

Is FanDuel legal in North Carolina?

FanDuel can offer DFS to North Carolina residents but does not yet offer sports betting. Technically, DFS is not fully legal but neither is it illegal.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is Managing Editor of NCSharp.com. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber married into a Red Sox family and has embraced the Sox ever since.