For sports fans in North Carolina, access to mobile sports betting or even local retail sportsbooks is lagging behind nearby states.
Even though a majority of North Carolina residents favor the expansion of sports betting, a bill to legalize mobile sports betting is currently moving sluggishly through the House.
History Of North Carolina Retail Sportsbooks
In 2005, North Carolina authorized a state lottery but limited casino operations to electronic poker and slots. Then, in 2012, the state expanded casino operations to include live dealers and additional games.
Finally, in July 2019, the North Carolina legislature legalized sports betting. The state’s only sportsbooks – operated by Caesar’s and called “The Book” – finally launched at the two Harrah’s casinos in March 2021.
North Carolina Sports Betting Locations
Currently, the only way in NC to place sports wagers is at either of the two retail sportsbooks in the state. Both are operated by Caesars and located in the two Harrah’s casinos owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The casinos are 60 miles apart on the western edge of the state, about a two-hour drive from Chattanooga, a three-hour drive from Atlanta, and a four-hour drive from Charlotte. Sports betting is soon launching at a third casino much closer to Charlotte at Catawba Two Kings Casino.
Here’s what to know about the two current retail sports betting locations:
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort was North Carolina’s first casino. The casino includes a 21-story four-star hotel with over 1,100 rooms, a 15,000-square-foot conference center, and several restaurants.
The resort advertises 150,000 feet of gaming, casino poker, slots, and live table games like Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps. You can access Caesars Rewards and promos, as well.
The Resort has a sprawling section for sports fans with three private “Fan Caves” and an exclusive raised seating area. Fans can reserve plush chairs with charging ports and easily access betting stations.
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel
777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906
The second Harrah’s location is much smaller than the Casino Resort, with a modest but comfortable hotel of 300 rooms and four restaurants. The casino floor is “50,000 feet of gaming,” with the same options as Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, including casino poker, slots, and table games.
For sports lovers, they also offer Caesars Sportsbook, with a 32-foot large screen and comfortable seated viewing area plus bar-top gaming.
Future Of North Carolina Mobile Sports Betting
In April 2021, NC Senators Jim Perry and Paul Lowe introduced SB 688, which could legalize limited mobile sports betting. The bill cleared the Senate and is now moving slowly through the House.
The bill would allow for at least 10 but no more than 12 sports wagering operators.
North Carolina lawmakers return for their next legislative session in May 2022, so we’ll see if we get any movement on the sports betting bills soon.
After North Carolina’s thrilling run to the finals in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament that included a historic Final Four matchup against archrival Duke, support for the bill is even stronger. North Carolina missed out on significant tax revenue from sports wagering through March Madness.