North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Won’t Make It Easier To Bet On Kentucky Derby

Horse racing fans in North Carolina don’t have a lot of options when it comes to betting on big events like the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, the state’s new sports betting bill won’t bring any relief.

This year’s running of the Kentucky Derby is May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Tar Heel State doesn’t allow for online horse race betting, leaving betting in person on the table. Even that is tough to pull off in North Carolina.

Sports betting bill won’t change things

North Carolina is trying to expand gambling. Lawmakers are looking to add legal online sports betting in North Carolina into the mix.

The sports betting bill covers various wagering options, such as professional sports, college athletics and the Olympics. It doesn’t, however, include any horse race betting. That’s a disappointing reality for race fans in the state.

If the current version of the sports betting bill passes, Kentucky Derby fans won’t be able to bet on the race online in 2024. Changing that would take an entirely separate bill focusing just on horse racing.

Of course, the other option is for lawmakers to amend the current sports betting bill before it becomes law. That doesn’t seem to be a priority for lawmakers, but you never know.

Regardless of what happens with the bill, North Carolinians are left with limited options for betting on the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Driving to a casino to bet in person is the only course of action available.

Tribal casinos offer Kentucky Derby betting

Right now, the only way to legally bet on horse racing in North Carolina is to visit one of the state’s tribal casinos.

You have three options available in the state:

Having some options is better than none, but many state residents who don’t happen to live nearby one of these locations are out of luck.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown, so there’s plenty of betting interest out there for such an important race.

However, most North Carolinians won’t be able to bet on the race, thanks to the state’s current laws. You’re out of options unless you live nearby a casino or feel like planning a day trip to a different part of the state.

Although North Carolina’s casinos can offer horse race betting, it likely isn’t a popular option. That’s mainly because North Carolina has no active racetracks in the state.

Typically, racebooks operate at racetracks and allow for betting on local events and larger races like the Kentucky Derby.


About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.