KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC — North Carolina sports bettors have another legal sports betting option to enjoy now that Two Kings Casino’s retail sportsbook is open in time for the NFL season.
Catawba Nation’s Two Kings Casino is live as of Sept. 7 and provides easy access from Charlotte along the I-85 corridor. Residents of North Carolina’s largest city can make the 35-mile journey in roughly 40-45 minutes depending on traffic.
We made the trip on the opening day of the NFL season to give NC Sharp readers a taste of what they can expect when visiting the state’s third retail sportsbook, while they wait for NC online sports betting to be legalized.
North Carolina’s other two retail sportsbooks are located in the western part of the state and closer to the Tennessee state line, which Tar Heel State sports bettors often cross to make mobile wagers with commercial sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
What to Expect at Two Kings Casino
It didn’t take long to notice the first difference between Two Kings Casino and say, established sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
You’ll be asked to show identification upon entering. Huh? We asked the reason for that and a friendly security guard replied that she was checking for proof of age (even from this bald middle-aged man) and fake IDs, but Two Kings Casino also wanted a head count. Happy to oblige.
Once inside, proceed about halfway through the temporary one-level complex, and you’ll find the sportsbook on your right-hand side.
We use the term sportsbook loosely here and not at all in a literal sense, but the new facility does offer 30 sports betting kiosks. The kiosks are available for betting 24/7, too, which should help drive even more traffic during the first week of NFL action.
Residents in neighboring South Carolina currently have no legal options to bet on sports. I’m painfully aware of this residing in nearby Tega Cay, S.C., a suburb just south of Charlotte.
“We also anticipate that a new audience in the Charlotte region and beyond will discover the casino as they come to wager on their favorite teams,” Catawba Nation Gaming Authority Vice President Trent Troxel said.
Build it and they will come — from near but perhaps not far in this case.
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Expect to See an Influx of Charlotte Sports Bettors
Andrew Mayse was among the sports bettors from the Charlotte metro area in attendance at Two Kings Casino on Thursday. He actually lives in Cornelius, which is a northern Charlotte suburb near Lake Norman.
Mayse made periodic trips to the betting kiosks after consulting with his laptop in the sportsbook lounge. As Stephen A. Smith yammered away on big screens adorning the far wall of the lounge, Mayse provided a perfect case study in why Two Kings Casino’s sportsbook will appeal to Charlotte punters.
“This is easier to get to and the lines are comparable (to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino),” Mayse said.
That seemed to be where the similarities ended, as Mayse discussed the more lavish set-up at Harrah’s in western NC.
“You’ve got VIP rooms with couches and recliners,” he said. “You’ve got hi-tops and stadium-style seating. It’s a night and day difference.”
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Come Here to Play and Not to Stay
By its mere presence, Two Kings Casino serves a valuable purpose for bettors seeking a legal avenue to wager on sports in a two-state region that is starving for those opportunities.
Mayse made Super Bowl futures bets on Baltimore, San Francisco, and Kansas City, along with some wagers on division winners. Quick to note that he doesn’t gamble for a living, Mayse is also not your typical recreational bettor. And by that, we mean largely uninformed. He knows the deal.
“One of the keys to gambling is you’ve got to be able to shop for different prices and a lot of people don’t recognize that,” he said. “The difference in paying a -110 vig versus -102…over time that compounds, and it’ll eat you up.”
Overall, Mayse was happy with the quality of lines and bet types available at Two Kings Casino.
“I’ve got some lines with my local (guy) that are a little bit inflated,” he said. “What I also like here is they’ve got look-ahead lines for Week 2 in the NFL. I really like Washington-Detroit as a pick. I took Detroit all day. I love that play for Week 2.”
It’s worth noting that the maximum bet you can make at the betting kiosks is $500. You can request to bet more at the cage, and those determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
“At the cage, this is all new to them,” Mayse said. “I imagine it’s gonna be pure chaos here on Saturday and Sunday and maybe even tonight.”
Let the NFL games — and legal sports betting — begin in earnest at Two Kings Casino.