Report: North Carolina, Tribe Amend Compact for Sports Betting

Report: North Carolina, Tribe Amend Compact for Sports Betting
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has approved an amendment to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ gaming compact, allowing sports betting to move forward at the two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in the western part of the state.

The tribal council of the Cherokees approved the amended compact on Thursday by unanimous vote, according to the Smoky Mountain News.

RELATED: Learn more about North Carolina sports betting and gaming

The sports betting bill was passed on July 16, 2019, by the General Assembly and signed into law by Cooper later that month, making in-person wagering legal at the two tribal casinos. The law limits sports wagering only to the Eastern Band of Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.

But the process has been delayed for more than a year while an amendment to the gaming compact was worked out between the state and the tribe. The coronavirus pandemic has been cited as one reason for the delay, the report said.

The compact still needs signatures from the governor, secretary of state and attorney general before being sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to the story in the Smoky Mountain News. The bureau is required to advertise a 45-day public comment period before it can go into effect.

The hope is that sports betting could be available at the casinos in time for the Super Bowl or at least March Madness, Ann Davis, an attorney for the Tribal Gaming Commercial Enterprise, said at the council meeting, according to the Smoky Mountain News, which is based in Waynesville and covers Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties in western North Carolina.

Check Out: Latest updates and legal Tennessee Sports Betting Sites.

Could Mobile Sports Betting Be Next in NC?

With Tennessee launching its all-mobile market on Nov. 1 with four sportsbooks, and Virginia planning to launch in early 2021, North Carolina needs to kickstart the legislative process to expand sports betting beyond the two tribal casinos.

Tennessee reported that it had $27 million in total sports betting handle for the first week it was in operation.

A study of online gaming and sports wagering was approved by the North Carolina legislature and the North Carolina Education Lottery authorized Spectrum Gaming of New Jersey to prepare a report. The state lottery forwarded the findings of the study to the legislative committee.

Among the recommendations is that sports wagering be operated by the North Carolina Lottery both online and by using its existing network of retail outlets. At the retail outlets, bettors would place wagers using self-service terminals.

But lottery-run sports-betting operations without multiple operators like D.C., Montana and Oregon have had technical issues and have posted some head-scratching odds since launching. They have not seen near the total amount bet in sports-betting markets with multiple operators.

New Casino Planned Closer to Charlotte

The Catawba Indian Nation broke ground in July on a $300 million casino 35 miles west of Charlotte in Kings Mountain. The Eastern Band of the Cherokees is fighting the proposed casino in court.

The Catawbas, based in South Carolina, plan to open the casino in late spring or early summer of 2021, according to reports. In March, the U.S. Interior department decided to put the casino land in trust, allowing for the casino to be developed.

In late October, Cooper's administration received a proposal from the Catawbas on how it would operate the Kings Mountain casino, according to the Associated Press. The draft could become the basis for a gambling compact that lays out the games that would be offered and revenue the state would receive, the report said.