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First Legal Sports Betting Venue in North Carolina to Open Thursday

harrah’s cherokee casinos

First legal sports wagers to begin in North Carolina today.

Bettors in North Carolina will be able to place their first legal sports bets in the state from today. This news is perfectly timed, as March Madness is about to get underway. The Book sportsbooks at the Harrah’s Casinos in Cherokee will open their doors at 10 a.m. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has revealed there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion. Due to the Old North State’s current gambling laws, the two Harrah’s Casinos are the only places throughout North Carolina where you can legally place a bet.

A deal struck between the tribe, Caesars Entertainment, and William Hill saw the creation of ‘The Book’ sportsbooks, according to a news release. A couple of weeks ago, upon receiving federal approval, Principal Chief Richard Sneed stated that final steps were being taken discussed regulators before the NCAA Tournament. This tournament is regarded as one of the nation’s biggest sports betting events.

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Sneed said that they are “excited to offer legal sports betting at The Book” and confirmed the timing was intentional with March Madness in mind. Sneed added that he would “like to thank our partners at William Hill and Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos” for making this opening a possibility.

Brooks Robinson, regional senior vice president of Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos, said earlier this week that they “are ready for sports fans to join us at The Book.” Robinson added that they are “proud to house North Carolina’s first sports betting venues” and said they are entirely confident it will be a location that their customers will enjoy.

Compact in North Carolina Received Approval March

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau gave their consent for a compact between the state and the tribe in early March. This compact paved the way for legalized sports betting. Consequently, the notice was posted on the Federal Register and came into effect on March 2.

Following discussions, Gov. Roy Cooper and the tribe reached an agreement on an amended compact in early December. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was required to advertise a 45-day public comment period. The North Carolina legislature passed the sports betting bill in July 2019. Later that month, Cooper signed it into law, meaning that in-person wagering at the two casinos was now legal. Both of the properties are located in the western part of the state.

The process was not without its problems and was delayed for over a year while an amendment to the gaming compact was negotiated. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been given as one reason for the long delay in coming to an agreement.

Online sports betting has also been mentioned as a possibility in North Carolina. Neighboring Tennessee and Virginia have thriving online sports betting markets, and the Old North State could seek to join them.

Want to stay up to date on the latest legal sports betting news across the US? Then come and follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa.

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