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  • Land Based Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Regulated Since: 2012
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Sports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    Regulated Since: 2012
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Regulated Since: 1975
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Regulated Since: 1974
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Horse Racing
    Regulated Since: 1933
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Dog Racing

    Online Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Online Casino
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Sports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Poker
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Bingo
    Live Dealer Games
    eSports Betting
    Live Dealer Games


    Currently, gambling opportunities in North Carolina are very restricted, with very little offered when it comes to legal casino gambling, lottery, and charitable gaming options. Despite the limited gaming climate, the industry still musters revenues of around close to $2,000,000,000 per year, over $500,000,000 of that paid in taxes on games.

    Where other states have become more liberal when it comes to gambling in their states, North Carolina seems to have gone the other way and are far stricter around the idea of late, in keeping with their conservative history. Until 1945, all gambling was banned in the state, but the government decided to allow Charities and Non-Profits to raise funds by hosting social games, such as Bingo and Raffles. This allowance came with strict provisos.

    In the 1990s, gaming merchants managed to use loopholes in the state’s legislation to offer video poker games at special arcades in the region, much to the dismay of state legislature who tried to stamp out these activities over the next decade and a half. Strict new laws in 2006 and 2007 limited the number of machines that could be hosted at venues, finally causing people to lose interest in hosting these types of games at all. Instead, they turned to offer sweepstakes to players on ‘free’ slots and video poker games. The operators skirted the gambling laws by charging players for computer time, not wagers. The wins on the machines would be honoured by the establishment. In 2010, the state eventually outlawed this activity too. While sweepstake owners tried to appeal the ruling, the courts upheld the legislation and this form of gaming remains illegal today.

    Gambling respite came in the form of a state lottery in 2005, which was approved by voters and is now legally regulated. Under this regulation, both scratch card tickets and lotto draw tickets are sold at thousands of retail vendors around the state.

    North Carolina is not completely free of casino gaming though, but it only takes place at two casinos on Cherokee tribal lands under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The larger Harrah’s Cherokee Resort and smaller Thunder Valley River are about an hour apart and offer gaming to those who seek it, including skill-based slots, video poker, electronic table games, and traditional tables, like roulette, blackjack, poker, and craps. Some riverboat casinos exist on the Eastern side of NC, but they travel across the border before gaming tables and machines are open to players. A big breakthrough was made in 2019 though, with the legalisation of sports betting at casinos.

    Online casino gambling, digital sports betting, and internet poker rooms are outlawed in the state. North Carolina is so strict, that Fantasy Sports are not even officially regulated and legal in the region, even though they are used by the residents.


    All legal gambling is strictly regulated within the state. Each gaming option comes with distinct legislation to govern activities, which we will summarise for you below. Please remember that gambling winnings must be declared to the IRS and are taxable after $5,000.
    • Horserace Betting: This form of gambling is illegal in the state of North Carolina.

    • Lottery: Lottery and Scratchcard tickets can be purchased at general dealers if you are 18 years or older. The revenues go towards state funding for education.

    • Charitable Gambling: Charitable gambling was legalised in North Carolina in 1945. Here, registered non-profit organisations, like old-age homes, churches, and others may offer low stakes bingo and raffle games. Charities may only hold bingo twice a week and prizes may not exceed $500. Raffles can be operated twice a year with a maximum prize value of $50,000, or $10,000 in cash. If you operate bingo with prizes under $10, anybody can host it, not only NPOs, as this is considered a social game by the state. There is no minimum age for charitable/social games.

    • Tribal Casinos: Casinos in the state may only operate from tribal lands. Initial laws only allowed for electronic games, but more recent legislation passed permission for the two casinos to operate table games, as well. The only stipulation is that no games of chance are offered. Even slots must have a skill-based slant to them, or they are not allowed to be offered. Alcohol is legal at tribal casinos, but the age restriction for participants for both drinking and playing purposes is 21 years of age. The casino does not offer free liquor to players.

    • Online Casinos: Playing at Digital Casinos is illegal in North Carolina.

    • Sports betting: Sports betting was legalised in North Carolina in 2019 when Governor Roy Cooper signed bill S154 into law. This new law allows for Cherokee tribal casinos to offer on-site betting to players 21 years and older. Online or mobile sportsbook is illegal. Inroads are being made and studies are being conducted for the possible introduction of state-wide sports betting, too.

    • Daily Fantasy Sports: While North Carolinians enjoy DFS without interruption from authorities, Fantasy Sports are not officially regulated and legalised in the state. In accordance with lawmakers, there is no sufficient support for the gaming option to make it a worthwhile pursuit in the region.


    All gambling is regulated by the government of North Carolina, at present. As of 2019, the proposal to implement the North Carolina Gaming Commission has been stalled. There are preparations to hand all gambling oversight to a dedicated regulator for better management of gambling practices within the region.

    The state lottery is currently managed and overseen by the Education Lottery Commission, a subsidiary of the State Government. It was established after Governor Mike Easley signed the North Carolina State Lottery Act and the 2005 Appropriations Act. The commission is made up of a 9-member board, which administers the Education Lottery, including all education-related allocations.

    All lottery and scratch card ticket retailers must apply for a certificate/license to sell tickets in their stores. These stores and store owners will then be vetted financially while criminal background checks will be done before permission is granted to sell tickets.
    The Lottery Commission has also been tasked with the duty of studying the idea of state-wide sports betting for North Carolina, which is currently restricted to two tribal casinos. It is believed that if passed, all sports betting will be regulated by the commission for now.

    When it comes to tribal casinos, the state of North Carolina has been given limited overwatch by the Tribal Gaming Commission to ensure that agreed gaming practices are adhered to in conjunction with the compact made between the Eastern Band of Cherokee people (the only tribe authorised to offer gambling in the state) and the government.

    All Gaming vendors on tribal lands must be adequately licensed. This includes all vendors who manufacture, supply, distribute, and provide service or repair to products used in gaming activities. The initial licensing cost is $5,000 with an annual renewal fee of $2,000. Some of the regulations required by tribal casinos to maintain a license include:

    • Responsible Gambling: The tribal casino is required to maintain protocols which address problem gaming, including the implementation of self-exclusion programs. The tribe is responsible for displaying responsible gaming signage with helpline phone numbers.
    • Alcohol: Alcohol may be sold under license but may not be given to patrons as complimentary beverages.
    • Under Aged Gambling: Operators must actively stamp out under-aged gambling. Players must be 21 years of age or older to participate in betting.
    • Testing Requirements: Under the compact, all video games must be tested by the Certification Commission and approved to meet the requirements set out by law.
    • Anti-Money Laundering: AML protocols must be in place to prevent fraud, money laundering, and other financial criminal activities.


    What types of gambling are available in North Carolina?

    Land-based casino gambling and sports betting can be conducted at Cherokee tribal casinos on reservations. Other forms of betting include lottery tickets, scratch cards, and bingo and raffle games conducted by Charities.

    Is online gambling for real money allowed in North Carolina?

    No. All forms of online gambling are illegal in North Carolina

    Are online social casinos legal in North Carolina?

    Yes, you can play free casino games online in North Carolina.

    Is Sports betting allowed in North Carolina?

    Yes, sports betting can be conducted at the two Cherokee tribal casinos in the state.

    What's the legal minimum age for gambling in NC?

    All legal and licensed gambling activities have a minimum age restriction of 18 on lottery gameplay, while casino and sports betting require that you be at least 21 years of age.

    Who regulates gambling activities in NC?

    Tribal casinos are monitored by the state government under the authority of the Tribal Gaming Commission, while lottery and other commercial gambling are overseen by the Lottery Commission.

    Does North Carolina have a State Lottery?

    Yes, North Carolina instituted a regulated State lottery in 2006.

    Are Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites legal in NC?

    While Daily Fantasy Sports are played in North Carolina, they are not officially regulated and legalised under state law.

    Can I bet on horse racing in North Carolina?

    No, race betting is outlawed in the state.

    Can I drink alcohol while playing at tribal casinos?

    Yes, tribal casinos sell alcoholic beverages but are not allowed to give complimentary drinks to their patrons.

    Casinos and Gambling Facilities in North Carolina

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