North Carolina could finally see sports betting in the state in 2021, thanks to tribal casinos and state lawmakers agreeing on operations last week.
Sports betting has been legal in the state since July 2019, when Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law. However, Cherokee’s Tribal Council needed to go over the regulations for sports betting along with the state’s Department of the Interior. Thanks to the coronavirus, the process was then delayed further, but it looks like the final steps are now being finalized for legal betting to take place.
Now, North Carolina could get in-person sports betting at the two Cherokee casinos in western North Carolina by the end of the first quarter in 2021. The locations could be the best of both worlds for Tennesseans as the sportsbooks will be the closest in-person locations near the Volunteer State since the state only has mobile betting.
After nearly a year and a half of negotiations, it looks like sports betting will be coming to the Tar Heel State.
North Carolina Betting
Gov. Cooper passed sports betting in July 2019, but unfortunately, it was delayed due to a needed compact agreement between the state and the Cherokee tribes that run the casinos. Now, another waiting game begins with the Department of the Interior having a 45-day period needing to approve the changes being made.
This will also get sportsbooks ready to begin operations in this period as well. As of writing, there is no evidence that the 45-day period will be shortened. It will be tough to have sports betting ready to go before the upcoming Super Bowl, but there is a chance that the state will finally go live by the March Madness Tournament.
The issues came with the coronavirus pandemic delaying the process. The goal was to get sports betting running in 2020, but delays from the virus have pushed it back another year before there could be a true launch. Fortunately, it does look like the ball is rolling in the right direction again.
Mobile Betting in North Carolina
Retail sports betting is on the verge of becoming legal, but mobile betting will most likely not be here anytime soon. State lawmakers have been opposed to mobile sports betting from the jump and have limited the industry to in-person only for the time being.
The two tribal casinos in the state are also a good hour drive west of Asheville, the closest major city to the locations. Charlotte is at least three hours from the locations.
This puts in-person betting at a struggle for most people in North Carolina, as it will only be people in the far western part of the state to capitalize on in-person betting. People from Charlotte or farther east could always make a weekend trip out of it, but there will be no consistency with those trips.
There is also a possibility that some bettors from North Carolina could find it easier to head into Virginia once the state begins sports betting operations. This will then create a void for North Carolina since money will be leaving the state.
Mobile betting is becoming vital for states to bring in revenue, and North Carolina could hurt themselves if lawmakers do not have the foresight to make it happen.