Two Kings Casino
A third retail sports betting location is set to join North Carolina just as online sports betting got rejected in the House in the Tar Heel State. Two Kings Casino, owned by the Catawba Nation and located 35 miles west of Charlotte in Kings Mountain, is set to open its sportsbook prior to the start of the 2022 NFL and collegiate football seasons. NCAA football kicks off on August 27, followed by the NFL season on Sept. 8 so it’s expected that the sportsbook will be opening sometime between now and then.
Two Kings will join the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in this venture, who have operated two Harrah’s-branded retail sportsbooks out of western North Carolina since early 2021. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River now operate under the Caesars Sportsbook brand.
North Carolina Sport Betting History
Legislation for retail sports betting at tribal casinos passed in North Carolina in 2019 through SB 154 but the pandemic slowed the launch of the market from fully developing until March 2021. SB 154 legalized sports betting on professional and collegiate sports teams as well as horse racing at all Indian tribal casinos in the state.
There is certainly a market for this, as North Carolina is home to several prestigious professional sports teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and North Carolina FC. Not to mention, they are home to the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team that just made a deep run in the NCAA March Madness tournament before narrowly falling to Kansas in the championship.
Online Sports Betting Bill Fails
Just as things are looking up for an increase in retail sports betting options for North Carolina sports fans, things wavered in terms of online sports betting in the Tar Heel State. After a long legislative session that had hopes high for legalization, sports betting failed to pass in the state by just one vote. Had it passed, it would have licensed up to 12 mobile sportsbooks including DraftKings and FanDuel and would have allowed additional retail sportsbooks at professional sports venues. The bill did not include mobile betting on college sports; in fact it would have been strictly prohibited under a zero-tolerance policy.
With the legislative session ending on June 30, chances for online legalization in 2022 are as good as gone. Until then, North Carolinians will continue to travel to neighboring states like Virginia and Tennessee to place online bets, and the state will continue to lose out on revenue opportunities.
What Do People Want?
A survey posted ahead of the decision to reject the online sports betting bill in North Carolina, revealed that 52% of respondents voted in favor of legalizing online sports betting in the state. The poll surveyed 2,068 registered voters in North Carolina. Legality was more popular among men, of which 61% voted yes, than it was among women, of which 44% voted in favor. This seemed to be the largest discrepancy among any identifier as the correlation between approval of the bill and both race and political party was within 5% of each other. 28% of people voted that mobile sports betting should remain against the law and 19% said they were not sure.