Online sports betting in North Carolina isn’t legal yet, but that could change in the near future. Lawmakers recently filed a new sports betting bill in the Tar Heel State.
That bill is currently making its way through the state’s House of Representatives. It would finally allow North Carolina residents to bet on sports from the comfort of home. Smartphones and computes would make the process easy.
The new bill also includes betting on in-state favorites like the Panthers, Duke and UNC.
Up to a dozen North Carolina online sportsbooks will open for business if the bill succeeds. That’s a game-changer for catching North Carolina up with the rest of the sports betting states in the country.
At NC Sharp, we have all of the latest sports betting news in North Carolina. Check back in often for everything you need to know about the state’s push to legalize online sports betting in 2023.
Latest NC sports betting news
Will North Carolina Be The First State To Approve Sports Betting In 2023?March 30, 2023
House Approves North Carolina Sports Betting; Bill Now Off To SenateMarch 29, 2023
North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Passes Second Reading In HouseMarch 28, 2023
Big Week Ahead For North Carolina Sports Betting BillMarch 27, 2023
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes, but only retail sports betting; online sports betting is not legal in the state. Furthermore, there are only a couple of locations at present in the state where retail sports betting is available.
The two Cherokee-operated tribal casinos in western NC each have retail sportsbooks. So does the Catawba-operated casino located closer to Charlotte where a new sportsbook opened in time for the 2023 NFL season.
When will online sports betting be available in North Carolina?
North Carolina nearly legalized online sports betting in 2022. After the Senate passed a bill to do so, however, the House vote fell by the slimmest of margins, failing to pass by a single vote.
That means it will be 2023 at the earliest for legal online sports betting to come to the state. A new bill to legalize online betting has already been filed in the state’s House of Representatives.
Given how close the vote was before, it was nearly certain that lawmakers would again consider legislation to expand sports betting.
If the General Assembly can pass a bill, Gov. Roy Cooper has already indicated he will sign it into law, as he supports NC adding online sports betting just as its neighbors Virginia and Tennessee have.
Potential online sports betting apps in North Carolina
It is difficult to predict how many online sportsbooks will launch in North Carolina. Recent legislation has proposed allowing 10 to 12 online books, although other bills could change that number going forward.
In any event, should expanded sports betting come to NC, there are a few online sportsbooks we can expect to see vying to launch in the state. The following are the most likely online sportsbooks in North Carolina post-legalization:
Given that retail Caesars Sportsbooks are the only legal sports wagering options in North Carolina at present (at the two Cherokee casinos), it would seem especially likely that an online Caesars Sportsbook would be among the options.
DraftKings is already a well-known brand in NC, thanks to its daily fantasy sports site. Given that DraftKings finds its way into practically every state where online sports betting is legal, North Carolina would also appear to be likely if the time comes.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel also already serves North Carolina with its daily fantasy sports site. FanDuel has also consistently launched in new sports betting states, much like DraftKings. Expect to see an online FanDuel Sportsbook launch if mobile betting in North Carolina becomes legal.
BetMGM has no specific connection to North Carolina at present, either by way of a casino partnership or other means. However, the online BetMGM Sportsbook is already available in both Tennessee and Virginia, meaning it could already have some recognition among NC sports fans.
BetRivers currently operates an online sportsbook in Virginia as well as in several other states across the country.
BetRivers has no explicit NC connection at present, although it is clear the operator should be eager to launch to
North Carolina if the opportunity arises.
Where to bet on sports in North Carolina
As noted, at present there are three retail sportsbooks operating in North Carolina, one each at the state’s three tribal casinos:
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (Cherokee)
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel (Murphy)
- Catawba Two Kings Casino (Kings Mountain)
Both of the Cherokee properties have a Caesars Sportsbook where visitors can bet on a variety of professional and college sports. Both are located right off the casino floor and feature huge television screens, including a 90-foot one at Harrah’s Cherokee. Both books have betting windows and kiosks, bar-top games and nearby food options.
The new sportsbook at Catawba Two Kings Casino that opened in Sept. 2022 is in truth 30 sports betting kiosks powered by International Gaming Technology. The area containing the kiosks is close to the slots and electronic table games on the main casino floor.
Possible new retail sportsbooks in North Carolina
Right now those three tribal casino sportsbooks are the only retail locations where you can legally bet on sports in NC. That said, it is possible NC lawmakers could authorize additional retail sportsbooks if and when they expand legal sports betting in the state.
Recent legislation to expand sports betting included provisions to allow additional sports betting locations at professional sports venues as well as at golf courses that host professional tour stops. The bill would not authorize full-fledged sportsbooks, but would permit sports betting lounges containing kiosks. Here are the main potential locations for such sportsbooks:
- Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers)
- Spectrum Center (Charlotte Hornets)
- PNC Arena (Carolina Hurricanes)
- Charlotte Motor Speedway (NASCAR)
- Quail Hollow Club (PGA)
Of course, new legislation might envision other types of in-person sports betting for North Carolina, or drop the idea altogether in favor of only adding online sports betting to the existing options at NC tribal casinos.
Latest efforts to expand North Carolina sports betting
North Carolina came very close to legalizing expanded sports betting in 2022. It was a bit like what happened a few months before when the UNC Tar Heels led the Kansas Jayhawks by a point with a minute and a half to go in the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball final, yet Kansas scored the game’s final four points to win by three.
Here’s a summary of that most recent attempt to expand sports betting in NC:
2021: Senate passes sports betting bill; House committee approves
In August 2021, the NC Senate passed a bill to significantly increase NC sports wagering options, including legalizing online sports betting in North Carolina. The bill, SB 688, passed by a 26-19 vote.
SB 688 would authorize 10 to 12 online sports betting licenses in NC, with each one initially paying a $500,000 five-year license fee. Professional sports venues and golf courses hosting pro tournaments could also open retail sports betting locations. The bill would tax sports betting revenue at a rate of 8%.
Then, in early November 2021, the House Commerce Committee voted 12-4 in favor of the bill. Lawmakers then set the legislation aside to revisit it in 2022, but it was clear the full House would seriously consider the bill at some point the following year.
Increasing the optimism for the bill was the fact that Gov. Roy Cooper had indicated his support for it, meaning that if the House passed it, he would sign the bill into law, perhaps in time for the 2022 football season.
2022: House revises bill, then votes it down by a single vote
The bill made it through other House committees to start the year, though the full House waited until the latter part of June to take up the matter just before the end of the session. Lawmakers proposed multiple changes to the legislation, including one to increase the tax on revenue to 14% and another to increase the license fee to $1 million. These changes became part of a companion bill, SB 38.
Another significant change at the last minute prohibited all betting on college sports. Such a change would obviously carry great significance in North Carolina, where college sports are especially popular.
Finally, on June 22, 2022, the full House voted on both bills. SB 38, the companion bill, passed by a 51-50 vote. However, that vote became inconsequential when SB 688 failed by a 50-51 vote. Rep. Jeffrey Elmore was the lone House member to change his vote.
It is worth adding as well that the NC House has 120 members. Six House members did not vote, and another 13 were absent or excused from voting.
Rep. John Bell later changed his vote from “yes” to “no” (making the official tally 49-52) in order to attempt to send the legislation back to committee for more changes, but the House voted against that proposal.
2023: What’s next for North Carolina sports betting?
The House vote illustrates how sports betting is hardly a partisan issue in North Carolina. Many members of both major parties support expanding sports betting in the state, and many oppose it, as well. Not counting Bell’s switched vote, Democrats were 24-20 in favor of SB 688, while Republicans were 26-31.
Lawmakers have already introduced new legislation to try and legalize online sports betting in 2023. This year’s bill is nearly identical to 2022’s.
One key element to focus on will be any potential rules or prohibitions for college sports betting. The current bill allows for college betting, but so did last year’s before it was eventually stripped in later drafts. College betting could once again become a contentious issue for 2023’s bill.
North Carolina sports teams to bet on
North Carolina is the 10th-most populous state in the country, just ahead of Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, three states where online sports betting is legal. It’s also a state in which sports are especially popular, with multiple professional franchises and many colleges and universities having avid fan bases.
North Carolina professional sports teams
- Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have technically represented both North and South Carolina since joining the NFL in 1995. The team plays its home games at Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte.
The team has achieved some success over the years, winning the National Football Conference and reaching the Super Bowl on two occasions following the 2003 and 2015 seasons, though coming up short each time. The Panthers have claimed a handful of division titles, as well, and have frequently reached the playoffs.
- Charlotte Hornets
The first Charlotte Hornets franchise debuted in the NBA in 1988. The team was wildly popular in basketball-loving NC, especially during the mid-1990s and early 2000s when it made the playoffs on multiple occasions behind stars like Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues and Glen Rice.
In 2002, that franchise relocated to New Orleans, but in 2004 a new one began in Charlotte as the Bobcats. Then, in 2014, under the ownership of Michael Jordan, the team retook the Hornets name once more. After struggling for several years, the team has become competitive again behind LaMelo Ball. The Hornets play their home games in the Spectrum Center in downtown Charlotte.
- Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL lay claim to the only professional sports title in North Carolina history, having won the Stanley Cup in 2006. The team also has another conference title and is currently one of the league’s tougher squads, with multiple recent division titles and playoff appearances.
The Hurricanes play home games at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the state capital. The team became the Hurricanes in 1997 when the former Hartford Whalers relocated to Raleigh.
North Carolina college sports teams
North Carolinians love college sports, particularly the college basketball teams of the four schools located up and down “Tobacco Road,” all of which compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sometimes called the “Big Four,” Carolina, Duke, State and Wake have been rivals dating back to the early 1900s.
- North Carolina Tar Heels
The University of North Carolina is one of college basketball’s best-known teams. The Tar Heels have won six NCAA titles, the third-most in history, and very nearly won a seventh in 2022 when they lost in the final. UNC has also made 21 Final Fours, the most of any team during March Madness.
Many of the game’s greats had college careers at Chapel Hill, including Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Vince Carter, Bob McAdoo and Phil Ford. UNC has also been coached by Hall of Famers Dean Smith and Roy Williams, both of whom won multiple NCAA titles.
- Duke Blue Devils
Located in Durham, Duke University also enjoys national prominence thanks to having won five NCAA titles, all under the leadership of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. In 2022, the Blue Devils made the Final Four once again in Coach K’s final season, but lost in the semifinals to UNC.
Like Carolina, Duke has a long list of basketball greats among its alumni, including Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Shane Battier, and Jay Williams.
- North Carolina State Wolfpack
Just up the road from UNC and Duke in Raleigh is North Carolina State University, home of the Wolfpack. Though NCSU has less of a national profile than its neighbors, the Wolfpack have had a couple of extremely memorable March Madness moments, both of which resulted in NCAA titles.
In 1974, a great NCSU team led by David Thompson, Monte Towe and Tom Burleson toppled the mighty UCLA Bruins in the semifinals, then went on to win the school’s first championship. In 1983, meanwhile, the low-seeded “Cardiac Pack” enjoyed a dramatic run to the title, knocking off the favored Houston Cougars in the final on a last-second dunk. That team included Dereck Whittenburg, Sidney Lowe, Thurl Bailey and Coach Jim Valvano.
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest University had been located just north of Raleigh until moving about an hour west to Winston-Salem in the 1950s. The men’s basketball team has not won an NCAA title, but it has one Final Four appearance and several other deep runs to its credit while often proving a tough competitor to its Big Four rivals.
Len Chappell, Muggsy Bogues, Rodney Rogers, Randolph Childress and the legendary Tim Duncan are some of the more famous players who have taken the court for the Demon Deacons over the years.
- Other North Carolina college teams
A number of other schools in North Carolina also compete in Division I in basketball and/or the FBS in football:
- Appalachian State Mountaineers
- Campbell Fighting Camels
- Davidson Wildcats
- East Carolina Pirates
- Elon Phoenix
- Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
- High Point Panthers
- North Carolina A&T Aggies
- North Carolina Central Eagles
- UNC Charlotte 49ers
- UNC Greensboro Spartans
- UNC Wilmington Seahawks
- Western Carolina Catamounts
- Queens University of Charlotte is also transitioning to NCAA Division I men’s basketball, with the Royals due to become an active DI member in 2026-27.
North Carolina sports betting FAQ
You must be at least 21 years old to gamble at tribal casinos in the state, currently the only places where you can legally wager on sports in North Carolina.
No, and if North Carolina legalizes online sports betting, you won’t have to be a resident to bet that way, either, although you would need to be located within the state to do so.
Currently the only legal sports betting in North Carolina is at the two Cherokee casinos. The Tribal Gaming Commission for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians regulates gambling at those locations, including at their retail sportsbooks. Should the Twin Kings Casino open a retail sportsbook, the Tribal Gaming Commission for the Catawba Nation will do the same for sports betting there. The state of North Carolina also has some oversight in order to ensure both tribes comply with the respective tribal-state compacts. Should North Carolina expand sports betting, including legalizing statewide online sports betting, the North Carolina Education Lottery would likely provide oversight.
In 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly passed SB 154, a bill that enabled wagering on sports and horse racing on tribal lands only in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The bill had strong support, with the Senate voting 43-7 in favor and the House at 90-27 before Gov. Roy Cooper signed it in July. It then took the two Cherokee casinos until March 2021 to open their sportsbooks.
At the moment, yes. It remains to be seen, however, whether expanded sports betting in the state will allow wagering on in-state college teams. In fact, a recent bill would have prohibited betting on any college sports, but that legislation did not pass.