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North Carolina Becomes Newest State for Sports Betting Legalization

Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill into law on Friday, making North Carolina the newest state to legalize sports betting. The gaming measure was among more than a dozen pieces of legislation signed, but it’s evident that this one could be the biggest for the state.

The Tar Heel State is now the ninth to pass the action within the last year, and 17th overall since the legalization of sports betting took place last year.

Aside from having geographical restrictions, the framework of the deal isn’t a bad one.

This new law allows the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate retail sportsbooks at two casinos in the Appalachian Mountains. The measure, letting the two tribes offer sports betting, passed by a wide margin in both legislative chambers earlier this year.

Cherokee Monopoly

With the new deal, the Cherokee tribe has a monopoly on gambling in the state, which now rolls over to sports betting. North Carolina state law already allows the Eastern Band to offer live poker and slot machines.

Caesars makes out like bandits here, considering they operate the two tribal properties – Harrah’s Cherokee and its sister property, Valley River. The two locations are located just across the mountain from one another.

It is estimated that the revenue from adding sports and horse betting at these locations could possibly generate about $1 million to $1.5 million annually for North Carolina.

Since there was no licensing process, there were virtually no regulatory logistics, and lawmakers chose not to impose any additional problems on the operation.

There’s no integrity fee in the North Carolina sports betting law or any prohibition against wagering on specific teams and events. In states like New Jersey and New York, bettors are not allowed to place wagers on games involving in-state collegiate teams. The legislature turned down a midsession proposal to do just that.

The bill from Sen. Jim Davis had bipartisan support along the way, although it completely vanished for months. While the battle came all the way down to the end, the House waited until overtime to actually think about adding it.

Still No Mobile

Despite reaching a level of success in sports betting, North Carolina missed out on the opportunity to add the mobile method. States like New Jersey have been raking in the money through that source. In fact, 80 percent of The Garden State’s $3 billion worth of revenue during the first year came through mobile betting.

New York just added sports betting upstate but they too, just like North Carolina, don’t have the mobile betting feature. Most residents of New York will sometimes make the short trip over to New Jersey to place bets, rather than drive all the way upstate. North Carolina has a similarly dark situation in its crosshairs.

Harrah’s Cherokee is three hours away from Charlotte, the nearest major city, and about 90 minutes from the closest regional airport. Not to mention, this property isn’t exactly in an area that sees a lot of traffic as it is.

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