North Carolina may join the cohort of states that permit sports betting at Tribal casinos. On Monday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed SB 154, which now goes to Governor Roy Cooper for his approval; he has 30 days to sign it.
North Carolina Sen. Jim Davis’ (R-Franklin) estimates the introduction of sports betting will bring in $14 million annually for the Tribe, equating to roughly $1 million for the state.
The bill wouldn’t expand gaming across the state or allow for Internet or remote sports betting. Placing wagers on pro and collegiate sports, as well as horse racing, would be relegated to the state’s two Tribal casinos, both owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Tribe’s portfolio includes Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Cherokee Tribal Bingo. Sports betting would go live, on-premise at the two Harrah’s operations, both operated by Caesars Entertainment.
“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has been working with the leadership within Harrah’s and Caesars regarding an opportunity to expand our gaming offerings on the Qualla Boundary,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed in March. “Sports Betting is an emerging market across the country and is within the purview of the EBCI provided some changes to the existing legislation governing EBCI gaming are made.”
If Gov. Cooper signs off, North Carolina will become the seventh state in the country to hit the green light on sports betting. New Hampshire legalized sports wagering, as well as state-wide mobile and retail sports betting, last Friday.
In related news, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has presented a federal bill to Congress that would potentially pave the way for South Carolina-based Catawba Tribe’s to build a casino in North Carolina.