North Carolina Gambling Laws in 2021

2021 Update: Can I Play Online Poker in North Carolina?

North Carolina hasn’t taken up online poker legislation yet, but they did start regulating sports betting. A flood of states moved to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court paved the way in 2018. Gov. Roy Cooper signed bill S154 in mid 2019, becoming the seventh state to legalize sports betting.

The bill gives the East Band of Cherokee Indians authority to allow sports betting at two casinos. The bill had bipartisan support, but it doesn’t include online sports betting. The online part is something tribes tend to oppose. But it is a step in the right direction. We’ll see if the state picks up any online poker legislation soon.

Charlotte North Carolina Poker

Charlotte, North Carolina (Photo by Daniel Weiss on Unsplash)

Online Poker and Gambling Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina gambling laws are pretty strict. The state has been opening a bit in the last few years though. Sports betting is now legal in the state, but only at tribal casinos. Native American tribes in North Carolina have a monopoly on gambling in the state. Gambling, is defined by state statute, Section 14-292. It reads:

“Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in Part 2 of this Article, 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.”

North Carolina’s definition relies on “game of chance.” This is good news for online poker, and it could exclude it from current gaming compact restraints. In 2012, a federal judge ruled that poker is a game of skill. This ruling let several states start legalizing online poker. Therefore, it wouldn’t constitute gambling and could face an easier path to legalization.

Is there PokerStars in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, there PokerStars isn’t available for players in North Carolina. PokerStars was once the most popular site in the United States, but after the DOJ seized its domain in 2011, it left the country. It’s slowly been coming back though. States who regulate online poker usually have a licensing procedure and choose which sites can operate in the state. So far, only New Jersey and Pennsylvania have licensed PokerStars in the US.

Best Online Poker Sites for NC Players

Players loved PokerStars because of its extensive game offerings, large tournaments and player pool. Luckily, there are plenty of sites that have re-emerged that have many of the same qualities people loved like the game variants offered. So if you’re in North Carolina and are looking for some PokerStars alternatives, we have a few recommendations. Ignition Poker and Black Chip Poker are two rooms we’ve reviewed that accept players from all 50 states. For our full reviews, just click on the sites below:

Ignition

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 5/5

Min Deposit $20

2500+ Players

Rating: 5/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 5/5
BetOnline

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 4.9/5

Min Deposit $25

1000+ Players

Rating: 4.9/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 4.9/5
Bovada.lv

$500 Bonus

Rating: 4.7/5

Min Deposit $20

2500+ Players

Rating: 4.7/5

$500 Bonus - Rating: 4.7/5
Intertops

$1000 Bonus

Rating: 4.6/5

Min Deposit $25

900+ Players

Rating: 4.6/5

$1000 Bonus - Rating: 4.6/5
SportsBetting.ag

$2500 Bonus

Rating: 4.5/5

Min Deposit $20

1000+ Players

Rating: 4.5/5

$2500 Bonus - Rating: 4.5/5
America's Cardroom

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 4.4/5

Min Deposit $25

1500+ Players

Rating: 4.4/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 4.4/5
Black Chip Poker

$1000 Bonus

Rating: 4.3/5

Min Deposit $25

1500+ Players

Rating: 4.3/5

$1000 Bonus - Rating: 4.3/5

Legal Forms of Gambling in North Carolina

North Carolina has a few forms of legal gambling. It doesn’t have as many as other states, but it does have a state lottery, Indian casinos, raffles and bingos. Even the state lottery came fairly late, in 2005. The state has slowly been moving towards more legalisation though, so there might be more forms in the future.

Lottery

The North Carolina Education lottery is one of the newest. The state approved the lottery in 2005 and it started in 2006. The North Carolina State Lottery Act created the 9-member Lottery commission that oversees the lottery. 100 percent of North Carolina Lottery net proceeds go to education. Lottery funds pay teacher salaries, school construction, need-based college financial aid, and pre-kindergarten.

They offer scratch-off games, mega millions and powerball drawing games.  60% is paid out in prizes, 29% is transferred into the education fund, 7% paid to the retailers and 4% to lottery expenses.

Indian Casino

North Carolina’s only federally recognized tribe, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owns Harrah’s Cherokee and Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. In 1994, the tribe reached an agreement with the state to build a casino with electronic games requiring “skill or dexterity”. The $82-million permanent casino, managed by Harrah’s Entertainment, opened in November 1997. After negotiating a new agreement, the casino began offering table games in August 2012. So you can play poker at these casinos.

On October 15, 2013, ground broke for the second tribal casino in the state, the $110 million Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. The new Indian casino opened on September 28, 2015, and employs 900 people in the 60,000 square foot gaming space building with 300 hotel rooms. The casino offers 70 table games and around 1,000 slot machines.

Bingo and Raffles

Non-profit organizations are allowed to operate bingo games and raffles for fundraising. The organization must receive a bingo license from the Department of Public Safety. Bingo prizes cannot be more than $500. Raffles cannot exceed $10,000 in cash or $50,000, not in cash items. Organizations can hold two raffles a year.

Play Safe

It’s important to read reviews and understand how the poker rooms work before signing up and putting your money somewhere. There are definitely blacklisted sites that should be avoided, however, there are plenty safe and secure sites, such as the ones suggest on this page.

This page will provide further information on how to keep your information and money safe while gambling online in NC.

State-by-State Laws

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