North Carolina has few options for legal gambling at the moment, though that could change in the near future. Sports betting is currently legal at the state’s two tribal casinos. A move to online sports betting would create a huge revenue boost and broaden online gambling in the state.
Online gambling is not available in this state. We have more information on why:Online Gambling in
Join today to stay up to date on your state's gambling news offers.
North Carolina online casino gambling is not legal. Real-money online casino games can’t be played legally under North Carolina law, and there is minimal interest from lawmakers to authorize the games.
Excluding the two casinos on sovereign Native American lands (plus a third on the way because in 2021 the Catawba Tribe received federal approval to build a casino about 35 miles west of Charlotte), North Carolina has no in-person gaming facilities. It is one of the few remaining states without any commercial casinos, horse tracks, slot parlors or similar entities. Real-money online casino games have been tough sells even in states with brick-and-mortar casinos, making it that much harder to achieve in North Carolina.
However, online social casinos are completely legal in North Carolina. These popular sites feature traditional casino games and slot machines based off the ones you’d find at any online or land-based casino. The difference is players don’t have to risk any money to play, though on some sites they can still win cash prizes. That’s why it’s not technically considered gambling and these social casinos are legal for North Carolina players to participate in.
Top social casinos such as Chumba provide a number of gold coins and sweeps coins once a user signs up. The gold coins can be used to play games like blackjack or slots for fun, while the sweeps coins can be used for various games that allow players to win prizes including real money.
Check out our list of the best social casinos for a totally legal, safe alternative to illegal offshore casino sites.
New commercial casinos seem unlikely soon.
Conservative and religious groups, largely opposed to gaming in all forms, hold considerable political and cultural sway in the state. In 2005, North Carolina became the last state on the East Coast to approve a government-sanctioned lottery and has taken up few significant gaming-related initiatives since.
Lawmakers approved limited sports betting options in 2019, the first major gaming development since the lottery, showing that legislators may be more open to future developments. But even the limited bills proved somewhat controversial. Casino gaming, online or in-person, doesn’t appear to be coming to North Carolina anytime soon.
Social casinos are available, though, both on the internet or as an app and feature all the popular casino games, including online slots, blackjack and video poker. It is free to play. While you cannot win money playing games at social casinos, sites like Chumba casino typically offer sweepstakes (games of chance) with prizes that can include real money jackpots.
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel & Casino||Cherokee||777 Casino Dr.||Open 24 hours|
|Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino||Murphy||777 Casino Pkwy||Open 24 hours|
This Caesars property just off the Tennessee border is one of only two tribal casinos in North Carolina. The massive gaming floor at this Harrah’s Cherokee casino features more than 3,100 slot machines and electronic games, while traditional table games like blackjack, roulette, craps and Let it Ride are available at more than 100 gaming tables. There’s also a separate, Asian-themed gaming area with blackjack, baccarat and a noodle bar. The 21-story hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites. Multiple restaurant options include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Chefs Stage Buffet, Johnny Rockets and more.
This North Carolina casino located right near the Great Smoky Mountains has multiple gaming options, including traditional table games like blackjack, craps, Let it Ride and roulette. Players at this Harrah’s Cherokee casino location can also take advantage of more than 1,000 slot machines with stakes ranging from penny slots to $100 credits. A sportsbook, The Book, is expected to open soon for legal retail sports betting in North Carolina.
North Carolina online poker is not legal. Real-money poker games will likely remain outlawed for years to come.
The state’s longstanding opposition to all forms of gambling extends to online and brick-and-mortar poker rooms. Though both forms of poker have gained momentum further north along the East Coast, North Carolina has shown little interest.
Gambling attitudes continue to shift nationwide, even in traditionally gaming skeptical states. But North Carolina remains an unlikely early adopter of new gaming forms, meaning online poker is realistically years away from coming to fruition.
Lottery was first approved in August 2005 via the North Carolina State Lottery Act. Scratch-off lottery tickets and jackpot drawings like Powerball were legal and readily available in North Carolina less than a year later. This is one of the few areas in which North Carolina gambling laws have eased up in recent years, with the lottery generating more than $6.6 billion for education.
Real-money online slots are still illegal in North Carolina. But social casinos such as Chumba offer slot machines very similar to the ones you’d find at a land-based casino, with the chance to win real prizes through a “sweepstakes” rather than through play, which is why they are legal.
The two tribal casinos in North Carolina also provide a wide range of slot machines for players. Whether or not the state moves to legal online gambling in North Carolina in the coming years remains to be seen, but these land-based casino slot machines and social casinos are a great alternative in the meantime.
While online gambling in North Carolina isn’t legal yet, players should be aware of payment options should the state move to expand with legal online gambling via mobile casino apps and online sports betting.
Most of the best legal online casino sites now offer several methods of payment, including Play+. Think of this like an online prepaid card. Rather than pay the online casino directly, players open a Play+ card and add however much money they want to use for an initial deposit using either a credit or debit card or their bank account. They can then make that deposit with the online casino site using the virtual Play+ card and withdraw winnings back to the card, then cash out at an ATM.
PayPal is another common one that’s incredibly easy to use. Players can quickly sign up for a new PayPal account or use an existing one if they already have it. A lot of the best online casinos now accept payments directly from the PayPal accounts, so all you need to do is transfer the initial deposit from the funds in your PayPal account.
Credit/debit card deposits are more increasingly more common, but some of these transactions continue to get blocked by the bank even in states with legal online gambling. The above options are just a few of the potential workarounds, but players should contact their bank if they run into any issues and strongly prefer to make an online casino deposit with a debit/credit card.
Bank and ACH transfers are usually an option as well, both for real-money online casinos and social casinos. While social casino deposit options might be a tad more limited, they do usually accept popular e-wallets like Skrill.
These deposit methods are constantly evolving as more and more states legalize real-money online casinos. Bookmark this page for the very latest on North Carolina online casino deposit methods should they become legal.
North Carolina first began to restrict state gambling laws in 1835, banning the use of lotteries, table games, poker and most all forms of gambling. The state further cracked down in 1952 as the General Assembly repealed a law that briefly allowed for dog racing and pari-mutuel betting beginning in the late 1940s.
The state’s first tribal casino opened in 1997 after the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Gambling Regulatory Act, allowing federally recognized tribes to open casinos on their land. This was limited to electronic games at first and the state eventually agreed to allow casino table games, which were first offered at North Carolina casinos in 2012.
North Carolina’s state lottery was approved in 2005 and sold its first ticket in 2006, eventually generating billions in additional state funding. The state then approved legal sports gambling at its two tribal casinos in 2019, made possible after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018.
North Carolina becomes one of the earlier adopters of legal sports betting, approving in-person wagering at the state’s two Native American casinos.
Cherokee Valley River Casino opens, becoming the state’s second casino. It is allowed to offer table games as part of a 2012 compact.
Video poker games are explicitly banned in North Carolina. The games first launched in 2000.
The state lottery sells its first ticket, the most significant gaming development in modern state history.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, the state’s first-scale casino, opens its doors.
A horse and dog racing facility in Morehead City is closed four years after it opens.
Lotteries, and nearly every other form of gambling, are banned.
North Carolina online sports betting is illegal. There is some percolating interest for real-money mobile betting -- a bill to legalize online sports wagering was introduced in the state legislature in April 2021 -- but it will be an uphill climb for any further progress.
Sports bettors in North Carolina can take solace in legal sportsbooks at the state’s two Native American casinos (the Harrah’s Cherokee properties). Both are located in the rural western portion of the state and can only take in-person bets within their respective facilities. The first legal sports bets were taken at those two facilities in March 2021.
In-person sports betting is exclusively permitted at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. Commercial sportsbooks cannot operate in North Carolina at this time.
Though limited in scope, these two sportsbooks (plus a third when another tribal casino is built by the Catawbas about 35 miles from Charlotte) are a major breakthrough for one of the most gambling-averse states in the country. The Tar Heel State still has some of the nation’s most restrictive gambling laws and any future progress will be incremental.
Industry observers hope in-person sports betting at the two tribal casinos could spark a breakthrough for commercial options or online sportsbooks. After approving sportsbooks at the two casinos in 2019, lawmakers later passed legislation to study future gaming developments, including mobile sports wagering.
When, or if, lawmakers take tangible actions from the study remains to be seen. For now, North Carolina online sports bettors only have the two legal options. But bettors should still avoid the offshore sportsbooks for the same reasons offshore casinos are a bad idea: No regulation or protections for you, the customer.
Daily Fantasy Sports are legal in North Carolina, with popular operators like DraftKings and FanDuel available for DFS action. These popular games allow players to make a deposit and enter contests with varying numbers of entrants and payout amount. Players then construct a lineup for that day’s games – there’s a salary cap and the best players are priced highest. NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL are most popular, but sports like golf, racing and MMA are also available.
Winning lineups can earn as much as $1 million for a single day based on the type of contest.
While the practice is allowed, it still isn’t recognized by the state. That means it’s unregulated and doesn’t have a ruling body that currently oversees DFS in North Carolina. A 2019 bill that would have recognized DFS as a legal form of gambling in North Carolina failed to pass, though there will certainly be additional efforts to regulate the practice in the state.
North Carolina’s decision to legalize sports betting in 2019 does include horse racing, but options are very limited. In-person betting at horse tracks remains illegal, though North Carolina residents don’t have many options there anyway. Lawmakers have tried and failed to legalize off-track betting in recent years.
The only place for legal horse racing betting in North Carolina is at the two land-based tribal casinos. North Carolina players can now legally bet on all the big races like the Kentucky Derby and lesser-known events, but only when the sportsbooks at the two tribal casinos offer odds.
That means online gambling in North Carolina for horse racing remains illegal in all forms at present time.
We still don’t know if or when online sports gambling in North Carolina will come to pass. But we have a good idea which of the best online sportsbooks would be involved should it come to fruition.
DraftKings and FanDuel continue to gain traction and already have brand recognition in the state since its daily fantasy sports games are one of the few legal gambling options in North Carolina.
Other popular operators such as PointsBet, 888sport, Caesars, BetMGM, William Hill and others would presumably be first in line to get things up and running should North Carolina move to legal online sports betting.
Sportsbooks at the state’s two tribal casinos offer a variety of wagers. These following sports and more will be available if North Carolina legalizes online sports gambling in the future:
The minimum gambling age in North Carolina is 21 for casinos, but you can buy lottery tickets at age 18.
North Carolina has two tribal casinos on the state’s west side near the Tennessee border. Table games for North Carolina casinos were first allowed in 2012.
Casino games, social casinos, retail sports betting, lottery and daily fantasy sports are the top current options for gambling under North Carolina law.
No, visitors and tourists will be allowed to gamble online in the event North Carolina makes it legal. They just need to do so within state lines.
We strongly recommend legal social casinos over offshore casinos, which can be risky and cause all sorts of headaches in terms of withdrawing money in a timely fashion and worrying about securing sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers.
North Carolina gamblers can visit the state’s two tribal casinos for casino gambling and to bet at a sportsbook (soon), purchase lottery tickets at a variety of retail locations and play daily fantasy sports from their computer or cell phone. They can also play on social casinos from their home or on mobile.
Online sports betting remains illegal in North Carolina for now, even though the state legalized sports gambling in 2019.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission currently oversees the state-run lottery. The North Carolina Gaming Commission Bill would expand that to oversight over most gambling in the state, though it has yet to pass.
Gambling winnings in North Carolina must be reported as income and are taxed at a flat rate of 5.25%. You will also owe federal taxes to the IRS, but the amount will depend on your tax bracket.
"Three decades covering online gaming, news and sports. My expertise is government and legislation, breaking down the latest online gambling industry developments to keep you in the know."
DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Media Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
© 2011-2021 GDC Media America Inc. All rights reserved. Registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement with Vendor ID #90927.