Charitable Gaming (Statewide Bingo & Raffles) 1979
Tribal Casinos 1997
Charitable Gaming/Lottery 18+
Tribal Casinos 21+
Tribal Casinos 2
North Carolina has long resisted the pressure to expand gambling. This is why legal forms are limited to the North Carolina Education Lottery, charitable gaming, and tribal casinos.
The reluctance to liberalize gambling laws is partially the result of the conservative Bible Belt beliefs. Commercial casinos, VLTs, internet gaming, pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, and sports betting are all illegal. However, sports betting is permitted on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ tribal land in Murphy and Cherokee.
In the first week of April 2021, Senate Bill 629 was filed in an attempt to authorize thoroughbred horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. Two additional Bills (HB631 and SB688) were submitted to legalize and regulate sports betting. Resistance to change has been ever-present, with the outcome unclear.
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The North Carolina state lottery is operated and regulated by the North Carolina Education Lottery. Lottery players can purchase tickets from one of 7,000+ participating retailers throughout the state.
The operator sells several tickets, including ones for statewide and interstate draws. Some of these include Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash 5, keno, Powerball, Lucky For Life, Mega Millions, Fast Play Games, and scratch-offs.
North Carolina is regulated by the Department of Public Safety, a division of ‘Alcohol Law Enforcement.’ North Carolina permits three types of charitable gaming:
Includes casino-style games like blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker, legalized on June 1, 2019.
A traditional game, declining in popularity, played on physical cards. Non-profit organizations recognized by the Secretary of State may offer bingo to raise funds. Events are limited to no more than two games per week, with prizes capped at $500 each. Beach bingo is a bingo game with prizes that do not exceed $10 and can be offered at commercial establishments.
Organizations may also run up to four raffles per year with total cash prizes of no more than $125,000 in cash or merchandise.
North Carolina has just two land-based tribal casinos, both run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. A third casino has been approved in March 2021 for construction to be run by the Catawba Indians. It has run into opposition from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians with a legal case pending. The Cherokee Indians are presently the only Class III casino operators in the state.
Visitors to these land-based casinos in North Carolina can enjoy slot machines, sportsbooks, and table games. Furthermore, they can enjoy live blackjack, craps, roulette, 3 Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud. There are typically over 1,000 games, with bet sizes ranging from $0.01-$100 per round.
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The history of gambling in North Carolina dates as far back as 1749, when the General Assembly discouraged excessive gambling laws. They would do this by invalidating gambling debts exceeding a threshold. By 1753 gambling debts were invalidated entirely, and public gambling was forbidden. Gambling losses were limited to 40s/day. This was reduced to 5s/day in 1763.
Desperate to find alternative funding sources, antigambling laws were repealed in 1784. New taxes were applied on dice and card games. Lotteries were permitted intermittently to finance projects. Between 1809 and 1835, 62 lotteries were permitted.
Negative sentiment towards lotteries nationwide led to their banning in 1835. 10 years later, bingo was legalized at fairs and exhibitions in the county of Mecklenburg. Other towns and counties began to follow suit. By 1973 alternative games like ‘skilo’ were authorized. In 1977, additional laws followed authorizing charitable raffles alongside bingo in some counties. This jumble of laws was finally replaced in 1979 with a statewide North Carolina law that legalized charitable bingo and raffles.
It wasn’t until 2005 that the North Carolina Education Lottery was legalized in support of education.
On July 1, 2007, video poker and video gaming machines became illegal in North Carolina. The state defines (VGMs) as video poker, video card games, video craps, video keno, video lottery, video bingo, et cetera. These are games of chance based on random outcomes.
Fast forward to 2017, a House Bill to regulate fantasy sports failed to garner the necessary support. In 2019, HB729 again attempted to regulate fantasy sports but also failed to pass. HB954 to authorize and regulate VLTs passed 1st reading on May 12, 2021, in the House and referred to the Committee on Commerce.
The legal gambling age to participate in lotteries and charitable gaming is 18 and over. However, to participate in casino games at a tribal casino, players must be at least 21 years old.
Yes, North Carolina has 2 land-based tribal casinos run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Commercial casinos are not authorized in the state.
Yes, North Carolina has a state lottery where players can purchase state or interstate tickets from one of over 7,000 authorized retailers.
Sports betting is currently prohibited in Carolina, except for sportsbooks offered at tribal casinos.
No, despite attempts to legalize fantasy sports contests, it is currently not authorized in North Carolina.