The United States sports betting industry has grown again, with North Carolina officially opening for business on Thursday. Harrah’s Casino in both Cherokee and Murphy will formally start taking sports betting wagers at 10 A.M. on Thursday.
Even though sports betting has finally come to the Tar Heel State, sports betting will be limited to these two physical locations. The Cherokee Indian Tribe was able to negotiate a new gaming compact with Governor Roy Cooper to be able to offer the growing industry.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has partnered with both Caesars Entertainment and William Hill to bring sports betting to the state. Both locations will be known as “The Book,” and will feature the same betting features for customers.
The Native American tribe has been working behind the scenes to construct a sportsbook that would be ready when they were given the official approval. These two casinos are popular destinations throughout the state, and adding a sportsbook should increase the number of visitors.
Long Time Coming
Sports betting has been a long time coming in North Carolina, and bettors were getting frustrated with the long delay. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Governor Cooper actually agreed to an amended gaming compact in December.
Then, this compact had to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indiana Affairs, and that was done on March 2. Public comments were available to be accepted during a 45-day window, but there was no strong opposition to this deal.
The EBCI has built up a strong sports betting presence in several states throughout the U.S. and now has a monopoly on the market in the Tar Heel State.
Competition is Present
North Carolina will be facing some tough competition from neighboring states as it tries to build up the industry. Both Tennessee and Virginia recently launched sports betting, and both of those states are off to a great start.
Tennessee set a sports betting record with over $130 million in betting handle during the first full month. That state also set a record by going over the $500 million mark in the first three months.
There is a chance that sports betting could expand in North Carolina by the end of 2021 as lawmakers are currently discussing a bill.
Expect a Great Start
Sportsbooks are always looking for the perfect time to launch, and the Cherokee Indian Tribe could not have planned this launch any better. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off on Thursday afternoon, and it is one of the most popular events on which to bet.
Usually, both the University of North Carolina and Duke University are title contenders, but that is not the case this season. North Carolina is in the tournament field, and there will be plenty of action on the Tar Heels in their First Round matchup with Wisconsin.
Betting on the NCAA Tournament should allow North Carolina to get off to a great start in sports betting, even with limited betting options.