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
“[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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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