North Carolina Governor Approves Sports Betting Legislation

  • Sports betting legalized in North Carolina
  • Governor signs Senate Bill 154 after house approval
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians can now offer sports betting services via its two casinos
North Carolina state capitol building
North Carolina has legalized gambling at the state’s two tribal casinos

Tribal casinos will offer sports betting

North Carolina is the most recent state in the US to legalize sports betting. Governor Roy Cooper signed State Senate Bill 154 late last week after the measure passed both houses of the legislature.

Sports betting will now be offered via the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The tribe operates Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. The bill added sports and horse racing to the Class III games classification of the gaming options that can be offered by the tribe.

The time frame for the launch of sports betting in the state has yet to be revealed. However, the process has started to enable both casinos to begin providing services. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and state legislature worked closely together to see the industry approved in North Carolina.

Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed said: “It’s nice to be able to go to Raleigh, do the lobbying work, and have those face-to-face conversations with members of the House and the Senate.  On this bill, we’re extremely grateful to Sen. Jim Davis, who sponsored our bill on the Senate side, and Rep. Corbin, who sponsored the bill on the House side.  It also demonstrates the great working relationship we have at the local level with members of the House and the Senate in Raleigh.  Once again, the Eastern Band is out front taking the lead in Indian Country.”

Passage was swift

Senate Bill 154 was introduced by Sen. Davis in February. The Senate passed the bill in April by a 43-7 vote. According to VSO News, the bill was passed in the House earlier in July by a vote of 90-27. Once approved by the House, the bill moved on to the desk of Governor Cooper, who had 30 days in which to sign the bill.

It took just a few days for the governor to approve the measure, allowing the tribal gaming venues to offer sports betting services. While the bill authorizes sports betting, it does not provide for any form of online or mobile sports betting.

Opposition remains

While lawmakers, the Cherokee Tribe, and potential players are happy with the approval of sports betting, others are still opposed. The North Carolina Family Policy Council remains against all forms of legalized gambling in the state, including sports betting. The group has spoken out against the bill, saying that it will have far-reaching consequences for the citizens of the state.

The president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, John L. Rustin, said: “Sports gambling is particularly corruptive and addicting, and authorizing these additional forms of gambling on the Cherokee reservation will give current gamblers even more ways to gamble and it will also attract additional new gamblers to the tribal casinos.”

Despite the opposition, the state passed the legislation. North Carolina now joins several states that have approved sports betting, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Rhode Island.  

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