North Carolina Considering Major Gambling Expansion In The State

NC Online Gambling

As gamblers in North Carolina patiently wait for online casinos to open, the Tar Heel State is ready to go through a gambling boon. In addition to North Carolina gambling laws changing to accommodate online gambling, up to four new land-based casinos are being planned in the state.

Due to a new draft of proposed legislation in North Carolina, one operator will be licensed to operate three casinos. Additionally, a fourth casino operated by the Lumbee Tribe in southeastern North Carolina is also in the works. The casinos are part of a $1.5 billion dollar investment by the state to transform the gambling industry in North Carolina1.

North Carolina is not regarded as a gambling hub in the United States. However, with these additions, and legal online gambling, North Carolina is expected to have a significant gambling footprint. Currently, North Carolina gambling laws prohibit casino gambling on non-tribal grounds.

Amendment of North Carolina Gambling Laws

There are three casinos located in North Carolina, but all of them are situated on tribal land. These are Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, and Catawba Two Kings Casino2.

With the introduction of three casinos on non-tribal land, the gambling landscape could be changed forever in North Carolina. Referred to as the Rural Tourism Incentive Program, the intention of the $1.5 billion investment is to encourage the development of casinos for the advancement of tourism in rural areas.

Specifically, North Carolina is seeking to build three casinos on the state border and along major transportation lines. According to the Rural Tourism Incentive Program, the initiative is a response to competing states expanding their gambling industry3.

Virginia vs. North Carolina Casino Wars

In fact, the action by North Carolina is likely in response to Virginia opening casinos on the NC-Virginia border. In May, Caesars Virginia opened their temporary casino in Danville, Virginia. The facility will remain open until the permanent casino is finished being built.

When Caesars Virginia is expected to open next year, residents of Virginia close to Danville will have easy access to a Vegas-style casino resort. The intention of the State of Virginia is to attract gambling-starved residents of North Carolina who do not have a convenient option nearby4.

Durham resident Kendrick Mitchell said this of Caesars Virginia5:

“With inflation and everything, people want to find something close to travel to, and they want to enjoy themselves without having to drive or fly miles or a hundred miles away, so this is a perfect location.”

Moreover, the casino is attracting workers from Virginia. It is money and labor that North Carolina would rather keep in their state. This is not the first attempt by Virginia to deliver a blow to North Carolina, and likely won’t be the last.

Last year, the first Virginia casino opened just 20 miles from the North Carolina border. In July 2022, the Hard Rock Casino & Resort opened in Bristol, Virginia. With 870 slot machines, blackjack, and craps tables, the Hard Rock is another entertainment destination for residents of Virginia6.

North Carolina couldn’t afford to stand idle for much longer. The Rural Tourism Incentive Program is a strike back at Virginia for building casinos targeting North Carolinians. The alternative is continuing to watch Virginia bringing gamblers over the state line to their casinos.

Where Are The New North Carolina Casinos Being Built?

North Carolina has a strategic plan for where the new casinos are going to be built in the state. While official sites for the casinos have not been announced, the criteria for casino sites have been selected. The following four requirements must be fulfilled to have a casino developed in their community:

  • Located east of Interstate 77
  • A border county or a county traversed by Interstate 95
  • Population of less than 100,000 people
  • 40 most economically depressed counties in the state

Along with looking to counter Virginia, North Carolina lawmakers want to spur economic activity and jobs into regions that are currently suffering. Certainly, one concern with this approach is that opening casinos in underprivileged communities could lead to problem gambling.

Under this criteria:

Three counties are in the preliminary stages of preparing for new casinos:  Anson, Nash, and Rockingham counties. According to a study done by a research group, the casinos could generate up to $1.7 billion in gross wagering revenue on a yearly basis and hundreds of millions in taxes7.


Note that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be involved in the discussions for the new casinos. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River are both owned by the tribe. Final decisions at the state level will be made in accordance with the tribal casinos before proceeding.

The State of North Carolina will only accept one bid. One operator will be in control of all three casinos. The proposed casino from the Lumbee Tribe will fall under their own jurisdiction.

Video Gambling Machines Proposed

The Forgivable Loans/HBCU Supplemental Funding bill would amend North Carolina Gambling laws to legalize video gambling terminals in the state.

Known as House Bill 512 in the North Carolina Legislature, gambling machines in bars, restaurants, and “sweepstake parlors” throughout the Tar Heel State would be legalized.

Backed by Rep. Harry Warren, the Lottery Commission would be responsible for regulating and tracking gambling on the machines. Retail establishments will be required to apply for a license, with a pay-per-machine tax paid by manufacturers and property owners8.

In other words, casinos are not expected to be the only new gambling outlet in North Carolina. The North Carolina gambling expansion goes well beyond land-band casinos. While House Bill 512 goes through the motions in the state Legislature, online sports betting and casinos are opening soon in North Carolina.

Online Sports Betting Launching In 2024

In 2019, sports betting was legalized in the state. The first legal sports betting locations were opened at the three authorized tribal casinos. However, there weren’t any North Carolina online casinos included in the original online gambling bill.

On June 14, 2023, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law. With the passing of the bill, online gambling will be permitted in North Carolina. The law opens the door for up to twelve mobile sports betting licenses.


The new North Carolina gambling laws will also allow sportsbooks to operate in professional sports arenas. North Carolina is quickly transitioning from a state with minimal gambling options to an extensive network of gambling options for residents of North Carolina.

Virginia is poaching gamblers from North Carolina for now. But, Virginia should enjoy it while it lasts, because North Carolinians are going to have multiple avenues for gambling in their home state shortly. If you moved to Virginia from North Carolina to wager at legal sportsbooks, you can move back in 2024.

The law will become effective on January 8, 2024. Although, the earliest online gambling can launch in North Carolina is on January 249.

Where Can You Gamble Online In North Carolina?

There are North Carolina sports betting sites for residents to bet on sports right now. You will not have to wait until next year to bet on sports in North Carolina.

With several online sportsbooks available, it can be a daunting process to sift through every betting site to find the best. For residents of North Carolina, we recommend checking out rated online sportsbook and casino, BetUS.

BetUS is a full-service online sportsbook and casino. No matter if you prefer sports betting or casino gaming, there is something for everybody at BetUS. Right this minute, you can find thousands of betting options on sports and on casino games.

BetUS’s online casino comes equipped with all of the classic games and more unique offerings. Live dealers are ready to deal you in at blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and more. Free daily tournaments offering blackjack, baccarat, and slot tournaments, are also available for BetUS members.

Casino players and sports bettors can both take advantage of a significant welcome bonus. New casino accounts are eligible for a 100% sign-up bonus of up to $2,500, with a special bonus of 25% of up to $625 for the casino.

Deposit into the BetUS casino and get a 150% casino bonus of up to $3,000. The sports betting and casino bonus are both eligible for an additional free cash bonus with a crypto deposit. Head to BetUS for more information today.

Ready to play at BetUS?


  1. Draft casino bill calls for $1.5 billion investment, one company to run 3 sites | WRAL News. Retrieved From “

  2. North Carolina Sports Betting Launch and Legal Updates 2023 | The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved From “

  3. Virginia’s casinos target border to attract residents from N.C. | AXIOS Raleigh. Retrieved From “

  4. Triangle residents flock to opening of new Virginia casino | ABC11. Retrieved From “

  5. 1st Virginia casino opens just 20 miles from NC line | CBS 17. Retrieved From “

  6. Four new casinos, video gambling could be on N.C. horizon | Spectrum News 1. Retrieved From “–video-gambling-could-be-on-horizon-as-n-c–republicans-negotiate

  7. Proposal to authorize video gambling machines draws mixed reviews in state House committee | NC Newsline. Retrieved From “

  8. North Carolina Sports Betting Launch and Legal Updates 2023 | Charlotte Observer. Retrieved From “

About the Author
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Kyle Eve
Sports/Casino Writer
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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