A North Carolina tribal nation is pushing for a launch of sports betting before the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. It appears that this support could help sports betting take the next step in the implementation process in North Carolina.
The NCAA Tournament is the most wagered sporting event in the United States. Therefore, the addition of sports wagering in North Carolina before March Madness would benefit multiple parties.
A Long Road to Sports Betting
The sports betting bill was legalized on July 16, 2019, by the North Carolina General Assembly. The negotiations were delayed for a year because of an amendment disagreement between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the state legislature.
Sports betting has launched in multiple border states like Tennessee and Virginia, which has caused the state to compromise.
Support from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Richard Sneed, the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, stated that the final steps are being taken with the sports betting platforms to assure a launch before the start of the NCAA Tournament.
The tournament begins in the middle of March, so there are still many questions from bettors in the state. North Carolina law states that there are only two locations where legal sports bets can be placed in the state.
This could change by the end of the 2021 legislative session because there are desires to legalize mobile betting in the state.
These two books will be located inside the two Harrah’s Casinos in Cherokee and Murphy. When tribal compacts were negotiated, the deal was made between the legislature and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Sports Betting Locations
Since sports betting will only be allowed at the two Harrah’s Casinos in the state, sports betting will not be easily accessible to everyone in North Carolina. Although, Sneed is very excited about the revenue that is expected.
Sneed did not assure that sports betting will launch in time for the opening round, but he is hopeful because of the steps that have been taken with the regulators.
Sneed wrote to Gambling.com that, “We are excited to begin implementing sports betting at our gaming properties in the immediate future. We are down to the last few steps with regulators and are hopeful that the process will conclude in time for March Madness.”
If sports betting launches in time for the tournament, it will benefit a gambling economy that has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Community programs in the tribal nation are funded by casino revenue, so the virus has impacted these extensively.
Sports betting revenue will help jumpstart a reliable recovery for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. An official launch date has not been set, but two books are set to open at Cherokee and Murphy as soon as the final approval is granted.
The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the new compact between the tribe and the state on Tuesday. The tribe and the state agreed on the deal at the beginning of December.