Cheif Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has indicated that the tribe is ready to launch North Carolina sports betting upon approval from Governor Cooper.

  • North Carolina sports betting was made legal in the summer of 2019.
  • The industry has not yet opened in the Tar Heel State even though the Cherokee Tribe has submitted all of the paperwork that is still awaiting approval.
  • Once Governor Roy Cooper signs the Tribal Compacts, Caesars sportsbook is ready to open at both Harrahs’ locations in North Carolina.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina legalized sports betting in July of 2019 but their industry has still not launched well over a year later.

Once they roll out to the public, sportsbooks will open at the two Cherokee owned casinos in the state, Harrah’s in Murphy and Harrah’s in Cherokee, NC.

LegalSportsBetting spoke to Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) to discuss what stage the legal sports wagering industry in the Tar Heel State is in at this point.

Talking With Chief Sneed

When it comes to Tribal gaming, it’s an entirely different ball game than that of commercial gaming.

Tribes need to go through more processes for their markets to open, one within their own government and then one with the state.

Considering that sports wagers are classified as Class III gaming, the EBCI expected that they would have already opened their sportsbooks because it was a mere addition to the compacts that they have in place already. But that has not been the case.

“The legislature passed the legislation to allow for sports betting on Tribal land and it was signed by the Governor. However, the second part of the process is under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) where we have to negotiate the compact to add sports betting which we thought would be a very short process because it’s just another form of Class III gaming but for whatever reason, it has turned into this big, long drawn out process that’s coming up on a year,” said Chief Sneed to LegalSportsBetting.

Compact negotiations with the Governor’s office began in September 2019, two months after the signing of Senate Bill 154 into law. This marks a year of the state being in limbo without a sports wagering market being offered to the people of North Carolina.

All compact paperwork to add sports betting to their current documents has been submitted to Governor Roy Cooper’s office for his signature. The ball is now in Cooper’s court as everything has been ironed out on the Tribal end of the process.

“That’s where we are at right now, we are just waiting on the Governor to sign it because when that happens, we’re ready to roll,” said Sneed.

Upon the signing by Cooper, legal sports betting in North Carolina can finally launch.

The sportsbook operator chosen by the EBCI for their two locations is Caesars Entertainment. They are prepared to open their sportsbook immediately after the compact is signed. Everything has been constructed and is ready to go once pen hits paper.

“My hope is that he (the Governor) will sign it by sometime next week but that’s entirely up to him, I don’t have any say on the matter. We had hoped to have been open already,” said Sneed.

With any luck, North Carolina will have legal sportsbooks at Harrah’s in time for the NFL season. Until then, Chief Sneed and sports bettors in the Tar Heel State continue to sit and wait for the green light by Governor Cooper.

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