Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians May Join Roster of Gaming Tribes to Offer Sports Wagering

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) may be able to add sports wagering to its roster of Class III games by summer 2019. A sports betting bill in North Carolina — that would grant Tribal exclusivity — is reportedly more than hype. S 154, introduced Wednesday, may reach home plate, including passing the Senate within the month — if North Carolina Sen. Jim Davis’ predictions are valid. Sen. Davis anticipates the state signing the bill into law by June.

The EBCI requested Sen. Davis propose adding sports betting to its list of permissible games. If the bill passes, the Tribe could introduce in-person sports betting at its two casinos: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. Mobile and online wagering are not mentioned in the bill.  

Sen. Davis and the EBCI have a solid track record. The senator helped the Tribe achieve two prior gaming expansions: the addition of table games and approvals for two additional casinos in the state. The EBCI has yet to pursue the third gaming facility.

“The Eastern Band are wanting to get into sports wagering, and wagering is legal now after the Supreme Court decision of May of last year overturning PASPA. It’s a legal enterprise and they want to expand to include wagering in my district, so I consented to file the bill and don’t expect it to have any problems getting passed,” Sen. Davis has said.

North Carolina joins nearly 30 other states across the U.S. in introducing a sports betting bill this year.