Is Sports Betting Legal in North Carolina?

North Carolina takes their sports teams very seriously—impressive, if only because they have so many. Most states tend to tilt toward college or professional squads. Seldom do they have a strong balance and volume of both. North Carolina is one of the few. From Duke and University of North Carolina basketball programs, to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, back to N.C. State’s basketball faction, over to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, this is a state with a plethora of athletic rooting interests. 

North Carolina Sports Betting Law

Vast amounts of sporting options often infer a progressive approach to gambling. This isn’t to say such states are sportsbooks-heavy. Most of them—in fact, pretty much all of them—are not. In-person sportsbooks are only allowed in four of the 50 states. NC isn’t one of them. And not only that, but their views on wagering across the board are stringent, right down to the casino level.

Bending, Not Breaking, on Casino Front

North Carolina has resisted casino expansion in the past, the byproduct, no doubt, of their strong “Bible belt” ties. Many are still opposed to the existence of these places.

The main argument among certain representatives is that they don’t like the idea of casinos being able to bilk people with limited resources of money they otherwise need to live.

Nonetheless, oppositions to casinos couldn’t last forever, not with so many other states embracing them. North Carolina now has two tribal saloons, plus another tribal bingo hall. All three are owned and operated by the Cherokee tribe.

Resistance to Lottery

North Carolina also ranked among the states most opposed to a lottery system. They didn’t implement one until 2005, which they have deemed the North Carolina Education Lottery. Their system doesn’t drastically deviate from other state lotteries, except for the fact that, as the name implies, a bigger share goes toward state educational funding.

Daily Fantasy Sports Could Be Hopeless

Daily fantasy betting is not currently sanctioned by North Carolina. Legislation to legalize it has been proposed, but the bill remains pending. And looking at North Carolina’s other policies, the chances of the amendation being passed feel slim.

North Carolina has been opposed to basically all forms of gambling at every turn, consistently trying to stave off changes to their setup. They eventually relent in some cases—the lottery system and casino industry included—but it took years, often decades, for them to warm up to wholesale reform. Daily fantasy sports could face similar roadblocks on its path toward legalization.

Don’t Wait Around for Legal Sports Betting

The big takeaway from all of this: Do not expect North Carolina to join the ranks of those pushing for legalized sports gambling. Like every other state, they stand to generate large sums of revenue; hundreds of billions of dollars are gambled outside the letter of the law every year.

But North Carolina’s wagering rules have seldom been motivated by profit. Again, they opposed many of their current legal forms of gambling for the longest time. They don’t even have race tracks at the moment. So even if they do hop aboard the sports betting bandwagon, it’ll likely be much later, in the distant future, long after a bunch of other states have successfully changed their laws.


North Carolina Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in North Carolina at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Legal (tribal only)
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not legal (but there is a pending proposal)
  • Social Gambling: Legal (with plenty of restrictions)
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

North Carolina Sports Teams

Duke Blue Devils (College Basketball)

The Duke Blue Devils are one of the most popular college basketball programs of all time. They have been around for more than a century, through which time they’ve made 41 NCAA tournaments, including each of the last 22. 

In fact, the Blue Devils have only missed the NCAA tournament once since 1984, a testament to the consistency of head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff, and their recruiting abilities. They’ve also been to 16 Final Fours and amassed five national titles, a ridiculous resume by any measure.

North Carolina Tar Heels (College Basketball)

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels are, like the Blue Devils, one of the most decorated college basketball programs in history.

NBA legend Michael Jordan helped thrust them into a permanent state of national relevance, but they were on the map long before his arrival and departure.

UNC has missed just three NCAA tournaments since 1975. Indeed, they’ve been to more March Madness affairs (48) than Duke through fewer seasons (107). They also add 20 Final Fours and six national championships to this resume, rendering them one of the most untouchable powerhouses college basketball has ever witnessed.

Carolina Panthers (NFL)

By NFL franchise standards, the Carolina Panthers have not been around that long. They entered the league 23 years ago, back in 1995. 

Despite being relatively young and not clinching playoff appearances left and right, the Panthers have nabbed a pair of Super Bowl appearances, the most recent of which came in 2016, when they lost to the Denver Broncos. That makes them 0-2 in Super Bowl Affairs.

Carolina followed up that historically good 15-1 regular season with a dismal showing the year after, tallying a 6-10 record and missing the playoffs altogether. They do, however, have an MVP-level quarterback under center in Cam Newton. And anytime you have a star player at that position in the NFL, you are always one lucky break away from returning to Super Bowl contention.

North Carolina’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

North Carolina is another state that sees its most relevant annual sporting events hosted by NASCAR. The Charlotte Motor Speedway—which can hold anywhere between 94,000 and 171,000 patrons depending on how it is configured—is home to four different major-level contests, which take place on a rolling, rotating basis: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

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