The gambling outlook in North Carolina

North Carolina's gambling scene is hotter than a summer's day in Raleigh, and it's sizzling with potential. Deep in the heart of the Tar Heel State, where the echoes of dice can be heard and the electric buzz of anticipation fills the air, there's a legacy of gambling that's as old as the Appalachian hills. Historically, North Carolina has been the kind of place that plays its cards so close to the chest, you'd think it was guarding a royal flush. But times, they are a-changin'. The winds of change aren't just blowing; they're practically howling.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 3 months ago

⏳ 21 mins read

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North Carolina coat of arms image

With every gust, there's a hint of evolution, a whisper of transformation. The once-conservative state is now flirting with the high-stakes world of modern gambling. Brick-and-mortar casinos, sports betting parlors, and even whispers of online gaming platforms are starting to dot the landscape. And for those who've been watching closely, this isn't just a change; it's a revolution. From the bustling streets of Charlotte to the serene landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains, there's a palpable excitement. Locals and tourists alike are waiting with bated breath, eager to see how the state will roll the dice next. And as someone who's been on the gambling beat for years, let me tell you, North Carolina is gearing up to be the next big hotspot in the American gambling circuit.

North Carolina gambling laws and regulations

Navigating the intricate web of North Carolina's gambling laws is like trying to hit a jackpot on a vintage slot machine - it takes patience, a keen eye, and a bit of old-fashioned luck. North Carolina's gambling rules are a mix of old traditions and modern changes, showing a state that respects its history while slowly adapting to new trends. While there are established laws for tribal casinos, there's also growing chatter about online betting. Dive into North Carolina's gambling world, and you'll find a rich blend of old norms, new ideas, and a few surprises that make it unique.


What is considered as legal gambling

In the vibrant tapestry of North Carolina's gambling scene, there are a few threads that shine brighter than the rest. First up, is the North Carolina Education Lottery, a beacon of hope and excitement, where dreams are just a scratch away. From the simple joy of scratch-offs to the heart-pounding drama of multi-state games, it's a rollercoaster of emotions with every ticket. Then, for those who prefer the glitz and glamor of the casino floor, the tribal casinos, masterfully operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, stand as temples of fortune. These places offer more than just games; they provide an entire experience, from the atmosphere to the excitement that comes with every play. High rollers, seasoned players, and hopeful newcomers all converge here, seeking their moment of glory. And for sports enthusiasts and poker aficionados, these tribal casinos are the promised land. But the heart of North Carolina beats not just for the big players. The state also has a soft spot for charity, allowing the good folks to indulge in bingo and raffles, turning fun into philanthropy.


What is considered as illegal gambling

But let's pump the brakes for a moment. North Carolina, while embracing the allure of gambling, also knows where to draw the line. The state's stance on online gambling is clear as a bell: it's a no-go. Those virtual poker tables and online slots? They're still in the realm of wishful thinking. And for the equestrian enthusiasts, here's the kicker: horse racing, a sport as old as time, doesn't have the green light in the Tar Heel State. So, if you've got dreams of placing bets from your couch or cheering on a thoroughbred as it thunders down the track, you might just be chasing a mirage.


Legal age to gamble in North Carolina

Age isn't just a number in North Carolina; it's a rite of passage. Before you can dive into the world of gambling, you've got to have a few notches on your belt. The young guns, fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds, can dip their toes in the waters with the state lottery. But for the full-fledged casino experience, the state plays it coy. You've got to be a seasoned 21, with a bit more life under your belt, before you can roll the dice or face off against the dealer.

Real money casinos in North Carolina

In the sprawling landscape of North Carolina, where the Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Atlantic, there's a different kind of gold rush happening. The quest for fortune is alive and well, and it's centered around the state's bustling casino scene.

NC casino girls


Online casinos

The rise of technology has reshaped numerous sectors, with gambling being one of them. But in North Carolina, the online casino scene is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow - tantalizingly close, yet just out of reach. The state's been playing coy, giving the cold shoulder to online casinos for now. But whispers in the alleyways and the grapevine suggest that the tides might be turning. With mounting excitement and anticipation around potential legalization, the state might just be gearing up to deal a winning hand to online gambling enthusiasts.


Land-based casinos

Stepping into North Carolina's tribal casinos is like entering a world where time stands still, and fortune favors the bold. The spotlight shines brightly on Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort, a place where glitz meets grit and dreams can come true with the roll of a dice. Not to be outdone, Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel brings its own brand of glamor, offering a slice of Vegas in the heart of the Tar Heel State. Together, they form the pillars of North Carolina's land-based casino scene, ensuring that gamblers have their pick of top-tier experiences.


Tribal casinos

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians isn't just running casinos; they're crafting legends. Their establishments are more than just places to play; they're sanctuaries of thrill, where every spin, every card, every bet tells a story. From the hypnotic dance of the slot machines to the hushed intensity of the blackjack tables, these tribal casinos are a symphony of sights and sounds, offering a gambling experience that's second to none.


Shipboard and floating casinos

While tales of shipboard casinos evoke images of James Bond-esque glamor on the French Riviera, in North Carolina, such tales remain firmly in the realm of fiction. The state's waters might be teeming with marine life, but floating casinos? They're nowhere on the horizon. For now, North Carolina's gambling action remains rooted on solid ground.



Melding the thrill of horse racing with the allure of casino games, racinos are a gambler's dream. But in North Carolina, this dream is still on the drawing board. The state, with its conservative approach to gambling, hasn't jumped on the racino bandwagon. So, for those with dreams of placing bets on thoroughbreds and then trying their luck at the slots, they'll have to rein in their enthusiasm for now.


Off-track betting

Ah, off-track betting - where the spirit of the racetrack meets the convenience of your local bar or lounge. Even from a distance, you can experience the exhilaration of the race at this spot. But if you're in North Carolina, you might want to hold your horses. The Tar Heel State, known for its picturesque landscapes and rich history, hasn't quite warmed up to the idea of off-track betting. So, for those with visions of sipping a cold one while placing bets on distant races, it's best to keep those dreams on the back burner. North Carolina, in its own time and style, might one day embrace off-track betting, but for now, it's a track less traveled.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "North Carolina casinos near me":

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino
Harrah's Cherokee Casino is the perfect destination for gamblers looking to experience the thrill of gambling in the great state of North Carolina. This casino offers 1,108 beautiful rooms with prices ranging from $99 to $499, plus 107 suites which are only available to casino customers. There are 6 restaurants offering delicious meals and drinks, and the casino also features a wide variety of games, including slots, video poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, Digital Mini-Baccarat, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, Poker and a Sports Book. There is also a 1,500-seat entertainment pavilion onsite for those looking to take part in a live show.
777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719
Phone Number:
(828) 497-7777
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel
Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel is located in Murphy, North Carolina. With 50,000 square feet of gaming space, this casino features a huge selection of Slots and Video Poker, as well as classic casino games like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Three Card Poker. Guests can grab food at the convenient on-site food court, which includes 6 fast food outlets. With its fair share of culture, and exciting casino games, Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel is a great spot for gaming and entertainment.
777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906
Phone Number:
(828) 656-1679
Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort
Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort, located in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, offers 1,000 electronic gaming machines in a temporary facility. Games available include slots, video poker, electronic versions of blackjack, craps and roulette, as well as sports book. Currently, a 95,000-square-foot casino and a 29-story hotel are being constructed, with plans to open by late 2022. With so much to offer, Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort is set to provide an unforgettable gaming experience in North Carolina.
538 Kings Mountain Boulevard, Kings Mountain, NC 28086
Phone Number:
(704) 750-7777
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Sports betting

In the world of gambling, sports betting is the adrenaline-pumping, edge-of-your-seat kind of action. It's where passion for the game meets the thrill of the wager. And in North Carolina, the heart of this excitement beats strongest within the walls of the tribal casinos. Whether you're backing your favorite basketball team or predicting the next heavyweight champion, these establishments are your ticket to the action. But for those tech-savvy punters hoping to place their bets with a click or a swipe, a word of caution: North Carolina's still playing hardball. The digital realm of online sports betting remains a field of dreams, and the state's not stepping up to the plate just yet. So, while you can feel the rush at the tribal casinos, if you're looking to go digital, you might have to play the waiting game a little longer.

Social casinos

Ah, social casinos - the glitzy, glamorous intersection of social media and the age-old allure of gambling. It's where virtual chips fly, friend requests meet jackpot requests, and every spin can be shared, liked, or tweeted. But in North Carolina, the scene's a bit like a suspenseful poker game; everyone's waiting for that revealing turn of the card. The state, always one to measure twice and cut once, hasn't quite made up its mind on this digital dalliance. So, for those itching to dive into the world of online leaderboards and social slots, patience is the name of the game. The Tar Heel State might be keeping its cards close to its chest now, but who knows? The next deal might just bring social casinos to the forefront. Until then, keep those notifications on and your virtual chips stacked; the next chapter in North Carolina's gambling story is bound to be a page-turner.

NC casino social

Daily fantasy sports

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) - where every sports fan can don the hat of a team manager, crafting dream teams and riding the highs and lows of every game. It's the modern-day gladiator arena, but instead of swords and shields, it's all about stats, strategies, and a little bit of luck. Now, while North Carolina hasn't exactly given DFS the star treatment, it hasn't shut the door either. It's a bit of a dance, a delicate tango. The state might be playing hard to get, but the big players aren't deterred. Titans of the industry, DraftKings and FanDuel, are still suiting up, ready for action, and welcoming players from the Tar Heel State with open arms. So, for those in North Carolina with dreams of fantasy glory, the game's still on. Just remember, in the world of DFS, it's always game day.


Bingo in North Carolina is more than just daubers and numbered balls; it's a cultural phenomenon, a rite of passage. Picture this: community halls echoing with anticipation, players on the edge of their seats, and that electrifying moment when someone triumphantly shouts, "Bingo!" It's not just about winning; it's about coming together, sharing moments, and supporting causes that tug at the heartstrings. In the Tar Heel State, Bingo is more than a pastime; it's a force for good. Charities and local groups are striking gold, financing projects that truly create an impact. All the while, the humble game of Bingo stands tall, proving that sometimes, the old classics have the most significant impact. So, the next time you hear the caller announce those numbers, remember: in North Carolina, Bingo is more than a game; it's a legacy.


Poker in North Carolina isn't just a game; it's a saga of strategy, bluffing, and reading your opponent like an open book. In the hallowed halls of the tribal casinos, the stakes are high, and the tension is palpable. Every hand dealt is a new chapter, every bluff a twist in the tale. It's where seasoned pros and hopeful amateurs lock eyes, trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other. But the allure of poker isn't confined to the glitzy casino floors. Across the state, in the cozy confines of living rooms and basements, friends gather around tables, dealing cards and sharing laughs. These home games, often accompanied by friendly banter and the clinking of chips, are a testament to poker's universal appeal. In North Carolina, whether you're chasing the thrill of a royal flush or just looking for a fun night with pals, poker is always ready to deal you in. So, ante up, folks; in the Tar Heel State, poker's not just a game - it's a way of life.

Gambling tips

In the grand casino of life, where every decision is a gamble and every move can change the game, a little wisdom goes a long way. When diving into the gambling scene, North Carolina has some precious insights up its sleeve. First and foremost, always keep your wits about you. The glitz and glamor can be intoxicating, but remember, the house always has an edge. Play smart, play safe. Take a page out of Kenny Rogers' playbook: know when to hold 'em, and for heaven's sake, know when to fold 'em. And here's the kicker - it's not just about the cards in your hand; it's about reading the room, understanding the odds, and listening to that gut feeling. If Lady Luck seems to have stepped out for a coffee break and the chips are piling up against you, there's no shame in calling it a night. After all, in the great game of gambling, sometimes the bravest move is to walk away, live to play another day, and always, always bet responsibly. So, to all the high rollers, casual players, and everyone in between ante up, but always play with caution and care.

The history

Delve into North Carolina's history, and you'll uncover a wealth of gambling stories as captivating as any Southern legend. The Tar Heel State's tryst with gambling isn't a recent affair; it's a legacy, a tradition passed down through generations. Picture the early settlers, trying their luck with rudimentary lottery games, their hopes and dreams pinned on a piece of paper. In its early days, the lottery was more than just a game of chance; it embodied the community's hopes, dreams, and shared spirit. With time, as North Carolina progressed and grew, so did its gambling landscape, reflecting the state's dynamic journey. The introduction of tribal casinos marked a significant chapter in this story. These venues were more than just gaming hubs; they stood as testaments to North Carolina's deep cultural roots, merging the age-old Cherokee customs with the contemporary charm of casino gaming. The glitz of slot machines, the razzmatazz of roulette wheels, and the sophistication of poker tables brought a touch of Vegas to the heart of North Carolina. But it wasn't always smooth sailing. The state has seen its fair share of debate, controversy and legal wrangling over gambling. Yet, through all the ups and downs, one thing remained constant: North Carolina's indomitable spirit and its love for the game. Whether it was the community coming together for a game of bingo or high-stakes action at the tribal casinos, the state always played with heart. Reflecting on the past, it's clear that North Carolina's gambling journey isn't merely a record of games and wagers. It stands as a tribute to the state's tenacity, its knack for evolving, and its unwavering love for the game. From humble beginnings to the dazzling world of tribal casinos, North Carolina has truly come a long way, always keeping its chips in the game and its heart on the table.


The future

As the sun sets on the present, the horizon of North Carolina's gambling future is shimmering with promise and potential. With a deep-rooted gambling legacy, the Tar Heel State stands at the threshold of a fresh chapter, and the excitement in the air is palpable. The whispers of online gambling legalization are growing louder, echoing through the halls of legislation and the bustling streets of its cities. Imagine a North Carolina where the digital realm becomes a playground for gamblers. Where the thrill of the casino is just a click away, and the world of slots, poker, and roulette is accessible from the comfort of one's home. The potential is staggering. The state, with its unique blend of tradition and modernity, could very well set the gold standard for online gambling, blending the best of both worlds. But it's not just about online platforms. The future could see the rise of new land-based casinos, innovative gaming technologies, and even the possible return of horse racing. The possibilities are as vast as the Carolina blue sky. The economic prospects can't be overlooked either. The potential influx from legalized online gambling could revolutionize the state's finances, channeling funds into public ventures, amplifying tourism, and generating employment opportunities. It's a scenario where both the state and its people stand to gain immensely. As we teeter on the edge of this promising horizon, one thing is crystal clear: North Carolina isn't merely playing the game; it's setting new rules for the entire gambling realm. So, to every bettor, dreamer, and forward-thinker out there, keep North Carolina on your radar. If the upcoming prospects are as luminous as they appear, the state could very well eclipse the dazzling allure of Vegas, emerging as the new epicenter of the global gambling scene.

Responsible gaming in North Carolina

Amidst the glitz, glamor, and adrenaline rush of the win, there's a sobering truth that North Carolina holds dear: the essence of gambling is not just about playing but playing right. The Tar Heel State, with its rich tapestry of gambling experiences, also champions the cause of responsible gaming.

It's a simple mantra, but one that carries weight: Know your limits. Whether you're at the tribal casinos, trying your luck with the lottery, or eyeing the future of online gambling, it's crucial to remember that the thrill of the game should never overshadow one's well-being. The state emphasizes that the real win is in enjoying the game, not chasing losses.

North Carolina offers resources and support for those who might find themselves in over their heads. From helplines to counseling, the state ensures that help is always at hand for those who need it. This speaks volumes about North Carolina's dedication to its people, making sure that gambling stays a form of enjoyment rather than a cause for concern.

So, as you ante up and dive into the world of gambling in North Carolina, keep this in mind: It's always better to play with caution than with regret. And if the cards aren't falling your way, remember, there's honor in knowing when to step back. After all, the true spirit of gambling is in the joy of the game, not the weight of the loss. Play smart, play safe, and let the good times roll responsibly.


What is the legality of online gambling in North Carolina?

Online gambling is not yet legalized in North Carolina. The state has been playing coy regarding online casinos, and while there's the buzz around potential legalization, it's still up in the air.

How does North Carolina regulate online gambling sites?

Currently, North Carolina does not have a framework in place to regulate online gambling sites, as online gambling is not legalized in the state.

Can I use a VPN to gamble online from North Carolina?

The gathered information does not specifically address the use of VPNs for online gambling in North Carolina. However, using a VPN to access online gambling sites from jurisdictions where it's illegal can be risky and may violate the terms of service of many platforms.

Are there any legal online casinos in North Carolina?

No, there are no legal online casinos in North Carolina as of now. The state has not yet given the green light to online casino operations.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling