The debate on the legalization of sports betting in North Carolina rages on.
There is optimism surrounding the state-wide issue with hopes that there will soon be an online avenue to place wagers. There are also now reported plans for a third tribal casino sportsbook in North Carolina.
In 2019, state legislators overwhelmingly voted to allow sports betting on tribal land. It made sense as casino-style games and venues were already operating.
Many do not realize that there are already two retail locations where NC bettors can place wagers. The two Cherokee Harrahs casinos in Western North Carolina take sports bets. The Catawba Nation owns Two Kings casino in Kings Mountain.
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Two Kings Casino: The Temporary Facility
The Two Kings Casino, run by the Catawba Nation, opened July 1, 2021, and has been expanding slowly. The facility is still temporary as the permanent casino resort is being built. The latest expansion will accommodate a retail sportsbook at the temporary facility, with reports saying it will be open in time for NFL season this fall.
Temporary Casino Information
- Located at 538 Kings Mountain Blvd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086.
- Open 24/7
- 30,000-square-foot facility
- A non-smoking facility, but outdoor designated smoking areas are available
- Over 1,000 slot machines
- Electronic table games like craps, roulette, and blackjack are on site
- Food and drinks are available from the onsite snack bar with frequent food trucks set up in the facility parking lot
- Valet parking and 1,000 parking spots are available
Two Kings Casino: Permanent Facility Plans
The Two Kings Casino will open in 2023 to replace the existing temporary facility. Upon completion of the casino, construction will also begin on a resort and entertainment center. The casino is planned to be a 195,000-square-foot facility with plans for 50-plus table games and more than 1,700 electronic games.
The resort side will have more than 1,500 hotel rooms for guests staying overnight. There will be a full-size concert and event venue. Lastly, the site will host many retail stores and restaurants with planning still underway. The casino resort will become a landmark destination just 30 miles outside of Charlotte. Projections have stated it will bring 5,000 jobs upon opening and over $300 million to local annual economic activity.
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North Carolina Statewide Sports Gambling Facing Roadblocks
With two bills working side by side during the current legislative window at one point, things were looking promising for North Carolina sports gambling. Especially after the first bill passed the House with a 51-50 vote. Unfortunately, the second bill failed 50-51.
North Carolina sports bettors are hoping for a last-minute change as June 30 is the last day of the legislative window until next year. According to Gov. Roy Cooper’s staff, he will not sign anything unless he were to receive both bills. Yet if he was to receive both, most think he would not hold it up.
It is curious why there is such a delay with the bill. In 2019, a bill allowing retail sportsbooks to be allowed on tribal land was approved with a 90-27 vote in the House and a 43-7 vote in the Senate. Now many of those same legislators are not allowing it state-wide.
Many states have voted to allow Tribal sportsbooks and commercial sportsbooks in the same bills. However, in North Carolina, they are separate.
Frustration Grows for NC Sports Bettors
North Carolina sports bettors are rightly frustrated as there is no mobile sports betting in the state. Yet it can only be done in one of two (soon-to-be three) locations. The old adage Murphy to Manteo is the distance between the state’s furthest west town and most eastern town. Well, the problem is if you live in Manteo, you just about have to travel all the way to Murphy (545 miles) to place a sports wager in North Carolina.