Land Based Gambling
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.