North Carolina Gambling Sites – Laws, Regulations, and Guide

North Carolina will never be mistaken for a liberal state when it comes to

The Tar Heel State doesn’t have any commercial casinos, they didn’t have a
lottery until 2005 and their authorities have raided poker games.

Are they this prejudiced against online gambling too?

We’ll answer this question by exploring many of North Carolina’s gambling

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Online Gambling and North Carolina Law

North Carolina doesn’t address Internet gambling in their criminal code. This
means that their online gaming market is a grey area served by many offshore

You won’t have any difficulty finding Internet casinos, poker rooms or
sportsbooks in the Tar Heel State, but this doesn’t mean that the activity is

Let’s continue discussing the murky circumstances behind North Carolina
iGaming, along with whether or not you’re safe to play here.

Is Online Gambling Legal in North Carolina?

North Carolina criminal code 14-292 offers the following definition of
illegal gambling:

“[Gambling includes] any person or organization that operates any game of
chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any
money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or
not, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

This is a tidy summary that lays out the punishments for both players and

Based on section 14-292, we can assume that it’s illegal to both play and
offer online gambling because it’s unapproved.

Code 14-7.20 (a) suggests another possible penalty for illegal operators:

“Any person who engages in a continuing criminal enterprise shall be punished
as a Class H felon and in addition shall be subject to the forfeiture prescribed
in subsection (b) of this section.”

North Carolina has yet to pursue an offshore gaming site, but if they ever
did, we assume that they’d push for a Class H felony over a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Can I be Arrested for Gambling Online in North Carolina?

It’s possible, but highly unlikely.

Again, criminal code 14-292 leaves open the possibility that you can be
arrested for any unlicensed bet, but are you really going to be busted for
Internet gambling in the Tar Heel State?

We strongly doubt that you’ll be arrested for online gambling. The biggest
reason why is because North Carolina has never prosecuted anybody for the

Online gaming has been in existence for over two decades. If they haven’t
arrested an online gambler by this point, then they may never do so.

Did Sweepstakes Cafes Get Banned because they’re Internet Gambling?

North Carolina is one of many states that has dealt with the sweepstakes café

Sweepstakes cafes sell Internet time to customers who are then given the
chance to win prizes through slot like machines.

These businesses exploit a loophole in many states’ criminal codes because
they’re not selling bets – they’re selling Internet time.

In the late 2000s, the State Legislature launched a campaign to get rid of
sweepstakes cafes. They initially lost, but took the matter to the North
Carolina Supreme Court and won in 2010.

Immediately afterward, state authorities began forcing sweepstakes businesses
to shut down.

But not all of these cafes closed as ordered. Chan Ji Byung was

running a sweepstakes café in Raleigh until 2014
. He was arrested on an
“online gambling” warrant, and his business was shut down.

This differs from a traditional offshore casino because Byung and others were
running sweepstakes cafes on North Carolina soil. This also shows that the state
will bust an Internet gambling operator when necessary.

Are Offshore Gaming Sites Safe?

As the name suggests, offshore gaming sites aren’t located or licensed in the
U.S. Due to this factor, they don’t have to adhere to American business
standards and laws.

But this doesn’t mean that all offshore gambling companies are automatically

The quality and reputability of offshore sites depend upon the individual
company. Below are some steps you want to take to find the best offshore
casinos, poker rooms and sports betting sites:

  • Read Reviews
  • We recommend reading several reviews to gauge the overall
    quality of a gaming site to see if it meets your needs.

  • Find Out when the Site Opened
  • Serving customers well is a crucial
    element of staying in business for years.

  • Make Sure You can Deposit
  • Before you waste too much time with any
    individual site, make sure that they have a deposit option you can use.
    Otherwise, you won’t be able to play there for real money.

  • Contact Customer Support
  • Customer service is one of the most
    underrated aspects to a gaming site. Send them a simple question to see how
    quickly they respond and gauge their friendliness.

Also On This Page

More Gambling Laws in North Carolina

  • Casino Games: Legal
  • Sports Betting:Illegal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Racing Betting:Illegal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Bingo: Legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Social Gambling: Illegal

Casinos: Legal

North Carolina was largely void of gambling options until the 1990s. This is
when they negotiated a casino gambling compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokee

In 1997, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino became the state’s first casino. In 2015,
the same tribe opened a second venue called Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
Casino & Hotel.

Originally, these establishments were only approved to offer video gaming.
The tribes and state government amended this deal in 2012 so that the casinos
could offer table games too.

Charitable Gambling: Legal

Approved charities can only offer bingo and raffles in North Carolina.

As outlined by section 14-309.6 (1) of the Charitable Gaming Statues,
approved charities include: civic, fraternal, nonprofit, patriotic, religious
and volunteer fire department groups.

Section 14-309.9 states that no bingo session can award over $1,500 worth of
prizes, and raffles can’t offer more than $10,000 in one session.

Lottery: Legal

North Carolina didn’t approve their lottery until 2005.

Despite the late start, their lottery has been really successful, and has
generated over $5 billion to the state’s education system.

Games offered by the North Carolina Education Lottery include: Lucky for
Life, Mega Millions, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Powerball.

Poker: Legal

North Carolina only has one poker room in Harrah’s Cherokee. This is a
sizable poker room with 20 tables and a host of tournaments.

The Poker Tavern League used to offer poker tournaments in the state’s bars.
This league thought they could get around gambling laws by giving out non cash

After several unsuccessful legal battles with the state, the Poker Tavern
League eventually shut down.

Racing: Illegal

Greyhound racing was legal in North Carolina for a short stint from 1948 to
1954. These races took place at the Morehead City and Moyock racetracks.

Greyhound racing and both tracks were all abolished in the mid-1950s after
corruption allegations. The private company that ran the tracks was allegedly
being given special treatment by officials.

North Carolina is one of the few states that has never allowed horseracing.

Social Gambling: Illegal

The North Carolina Constitution doesn’t address social gambling.

Going back to code 14-292, any betting activity that’s not approved by the
state is illegal. Therefore, social gaming is also be deemed illegal in this

North Carolina is a state where you definitely want to be careful when
playing home poker games. Here are a few instances of home games being busted: reported that police raided a 2007 warehouse poker function and
cited 41 players
. The police asked for backup from the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because they thought there would be guns and
drugs on the property.

CardPlayer covered a 2008 poker bust in Fayetteville, where police charged
39 players with misdemeanor gambling
. They also arrested the host for selling
alcohol, which is a common crime at any home based gambling function.

A ChipTalk forum user wrote that a 2011 Raleigh based poker game was raided by
armed policemen
. Players were charged with illegal gambling. The hosts were
raking pots and were likely charged (not specified) for operating an illegal
gaming business.

As these instances show, you can be cited or arrested for social gambling in
North Carolina, but if you’re going to play anyways, the key is to avoid raked

Bars & Video Terminals: Illegal

Much like with sweepstakes cafes, North Carolina had trouble with bars and
video gaming terminals.

They originally allowed bars and other liquor serving venues to offer video
gaming. By the year 2000, they imposed machine limits because the state was
becoming filled with gambling games.

Many bars ignored the limitations and continued offering as many machines as
they wanted. StarNews reported at the time that there was a 2:1 ratio of illegal to legal

With thousands of illegal gambling machines flooding their state, North
Carolina banned all video gaming.

Gambling Venues in North Carolina

North Carolina is low on gambling establishments, with the Eastern Cherokee
Band owning the only two casinos.

The largest of these is Harrah’s Cherokee, which has 3,300 gaming machines
and 100 table games. Their other property, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley, features
1,050 gaming machines and 70 table games.

The Catawaba Tribe wants to open another casino called King’s Mountain
Resort. Their proposed plan is to build this $600 million complex in the
Charlotte area.

The Catawaba have the backing of Hard Rock International, but the Cherokee
Tribe is protesting the casino along with Charlotte based anti-gambling

As of now, the King’s Mountain is still shelved until the U.S. Department of
the Interior gives their approval.

Below, you can see the gaming establishments that are currently active in
North Carolina:

North Carolina Map

    1) Cherokee Tribal Bingo

    91 Bingo Loop Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719

    2) Eastway Beach Bingo

    2835 Eastway Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205

    3) Harrah’s Cherokee Casino

    777 Casino Dr, Cherokee, NC 28719

    4) Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino

    Nantahala National Forest, 777 Casino Pkwy, Murphy, NC 28906

    5) Stumbilicious BINGO!!

    202 W Market St Greensboro, NC 27401

History of Gambling in North Carolina

North Carolina became the eighth U.S. colony in 1653. This means that their
gambling history begins earlier than most states.

In 1753, the colony banned gambling in public, erased all gaming debts and
limited daily gambling losses to 40 shillings.

By 1784, all of these laws were repealed because North Carolina officials
wanted to tax gambling.

The first time that North Carolina’s modern statehood government took
gambling on was 1939, when they legalized greyhound racing. The activity would
be banned less than two decades later in 1954.

In 1979, the state legalized bingo and raffles for non-profit organizations.

One of the most notable events in North Carolina’s gambling history occurred
in 1994, when the government signed a video gaming compact with the Cherokee
Indians. Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owns both tribal casinos in
the state.

As for Internet gambling, the Old North State has only considered daily
fantasy sports so far. Hopefully these pursuits will expand into online casino
and poker games someday.


Colony government bans gambling in public; limits losses to 40 shillings per day; and forgives gaming losses.


Colony repeals gambling limitations.


General Assembly legalizes greyhound racing.


Greyhound racing banned.


Charitable bingo and raffles approved.


Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed, allowing tribes and states to negotiate casino compacts.


Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians approved to offer video gaming.


Harrah’s Cherokee Casino becomes first in the state.


State Legislature approves a lottery.


North Carolina Education Lottery launches.


North Carolina bans video gaming machines at businesses because they’re abusing the limits.


Tribal compact amended so that Cherokee casinos can offer table games.


Cherokee Valley River Casino opens.


Daily fantasy sports bill introduced in the State Legislature committee.

North Carolina Gambling FAQs

Earlier, we covered that the Tar Heel State doesn’t address online gambling.
Then again, their broad laws also leave open the possibility that iGaming is
illegal in the state.

This no doubt leads to more questions on North Carolina’s Internet gambling.
Let’s cover a few of the most common ones that we’ve received below.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in North Carolina?

According to ESPN, North Carolina follows a “predominance test” when it comes to daily
fantasy sports. This means that relative levels of chance and skill are measured
to see if the activity is legal.

The state hasn’t announced that DFS is inherently illegal. This means that
industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel continue to serve North Carolina until
told otherwise.

State Reps Ed Hanes and Jon Hardister have introduced House Bill 279, which
would legalize and regulate DFS. At the time of this writing, there’s been no
word on HB 279’s success or failure.

The legislation seeks to tax DFS operators, and charge licensing fees between
$2,500 and $10,000.

Will North Carolina Legalize Online Gambling?

The Old North State hasn’t even legalized commercial casinos yet, so we don’t
see them regulating iGaming either.

Furthermore, North Carolina hasn’t had any serious discussions about
legalizing online gambling.

Also note that their neighbors – Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee
and Virginia – haven’t come close to regulating Internet gambling. This is
important because neighboring peers can hasten iGaming discussions (i.e.
Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania).

Combining these factors, we don’t see North Carolina legalizing iGaming for a
long time.

Can I Gamble on My Smartphone in North Carolina?

When pouring over most states’ gambling laws, we usually find a concrete
definition that can be used to deem a smartphone an illegal gaming device.

This isn’t the case with North Carolina. Instead, the closest thing we find
is in code 14-301:

“It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to operate, keep in
his possession or in the possession of any other person, firm or corporation,
for the purpose of being operated, any slot machine or device where the user may
become entitled to receive any money, credit, allowance, or any thing of value,
as defined in G.S. 14-306.”

This definition is meant to cover illegal slot machines, but the phrase
“device where the user may become entitled to receive money…” could describe a

This is a stretch though, and North Carolina would probably use their basic
definition of illegal gambling to pursue a mobile player.

Again, though, North Carolina has never arrested somebody just for online

Additional Resources

The Old North Line State features two main gambling bodies, including
Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission and the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Here’s info on both of these organizations.

  • Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission
  • North Carolina doesn’t have a commercial casino industry. Given that the
    Harrah’s casinos are both on sovereign reservations, the Cherokee Tribal Gaming
    Commission oversees this sector.

  • North Carolina Education Lottery
  • The North Carolina Education Lottery handles the state’s various lottery
    games and makes payouts to winners.

  • Article 37 of the
    North Carolina Constitution
  • This section lays out many of North Carolina’s gambling laws. You’ll find
    info on charitable bingo, lotteries and other forms of gaming in the state.

The Future & Your Views

North Carolina is in the heart of the Bible Belt, and their gambling
actions/laws reflect this.

The Old North State has busted poker games, banned video gaming machines and
shut down sweepstakes cafés under the banner of illegal online gambling.

We’re not saying that North Carolina wasn’t justified in these things, but
these events show that they aren’t very liberal in regards to gaming.

This doesn’t give us much hope that the Tar Heel State will legalize Internet
gambling any time soon. North Carolina has conservative values, and there’s no
real push for online casino games and poker.

One promising aspect is that daily fantasy sports legislation has been
introduced in the State Legislature. We have no idea if HB 279 will go anywhere,
but it’s at least progress.

Odds are that North Carolina and other Bible Belt states will be among the
last to seriously consider Internet poker and casino games.

The good news is that state residents and visitors have more than enough
offshore gaming sites to keep themselves busy until then.