When a projected $273 million building project is held up, it tends to make headlines. When that same project includes the third retail sports betting venue in North Carolina, it starts to get everyone’s attention. That is precisely what is happening as the Two Kings Casino permanent casino project has been stalled while it is under federal investigation, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
There are several important things to go over as to what it means for the casino project that will also house the third retail sportsbook in North Carolina. What is the investigation about? What could it mean for the Two Kings Casino sportsbook? How does it affect the North Carolina sports betting landscape?
What is the Investigation About?
For the Catawba Nation, based in South Carolina, to open its own casino it needed 17 acres of North Carolina land. When the Catawba Nation got the land, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tried to sue the federal government over it. Several politicians helped the Catawba Nation avoid the lawsuit.
According to the WSJ’s report, James Clyburn — the Democratic Whip in the US House — sponsored a bill that prevented the Cherokees from suing the federal government. One of the stakes in the casino is owned by Clyburn’s brother John B. Clyburn.
Many of those politicians are connected to a Kings Mountain Equipment Supply Company. That company gets 20% of all profits generated by the Two Kings casino. The problem with that is the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that requires the Indian tribe to be the Primary Beneficiary of any gambling entity.
To summarize, there is concern that the primary beneficiary would not be the Catawba Nation. The situation is also clouded by politicians who helped ease the casino opening, potentially profiting from it.
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The Two Kings Casino Sportsbook
The temporary Two Kings Casino that is operating while the permanent facility is being built is still open. Plans for the minor expansion at the temporary facility to open a sportsbook appear to still be in the works. It would be the third retail sportsbook to open in North Carolina and the first east of Asheville.
The sportsbook has plans to be open in time for football season. With no mobile sports betting allowed in North Carolina, it stands to reason that those within reasonable distance would make the retail location a boon for sports betting. As the investigation is ongoing and if there is any effect on the plans sportsbook, we will update North Carolina sports bettors as information becomes available.
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The North Carolina Sports Betting Landscape
The effect this all has on the North Carolina betting situation is two-fold. First, it would increase the available retail locations in the state by 50%. If for some reason, the investigation led to the shutdown of Two Kings Casinos’ operation, it could hurt both retail sports betting and future mobile betting operators that may require retail partners.
Second, this has minimal effect on sports betting online or on mobile devices. North Carolina ended their June legislative session with no sports betting bill. This likely leaves the state’s only legal sports betting options at the Two western North Carolina Cherokee casino locations and potentially the new Two Kings Casino sportsbook.