There is reason for optimism when it comes to legalized sports gambling in North Carolina.  Last week North Carolina Senator Jim Davis introduced a bill to the State Legislature that could potentially allow for sports betting on tribal lands in the Tarheel State.  State Senator Davis appears to the right lawmaker to get this legislation moving as his districts include at least two casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The subject bill is Senate Bill 154.  The good news about the bill is that it would apply to both college and professional sports.  State Senator Davis has noted that the bill could be approved in as quickly as 30 days. Davis is of the belief that there will not be much, if any, opposition to the bill.  Therefore, in an ideal world, the bill could be signed into law by this summer.

Once the bill is signed into law and approved, it would allow the two tribal casinos – including the popular Harrah’s Cherokee Casino to begin taking sports bets.  Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River and Harrah’s Cherokee are both under the control of the Eastern Ban of Cherokee Indians. The casinos both lie in Cherokee territory in the Great Smoky Mountains.  As a result, these two casinos will be able to offer sports gambling should the bill be passed.

The reason for the swiftness in potentially approving the bill is that the tribe itself had reached out to Davis requesting the bill.  It is believed that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians do not currently have a desire to step into the mobile or online sports betting world.  However, this does not mean that it can’t occur at some point in the future.

The speed in which the proposed bill may move is somewhat surprising given North Carolina’s past history of erring on the side of conservatism when it comes to sports betting.  Yet, there is a growing movement by the NCAA and the ACC that may try to block the bill.  Generally, the NCAA is wary of allowing sports betting when it comes to amateur sporting events.   Of note, the bill doesn’t address whether or not betting on college sports games played in the state of North Carolina would be allowed.  As you may recall, New Jersey does not allow in state college sports to be wagered on; however, Mississippi does.

While there will always seemingly be some trepidation by the college sporting community to allow collegial sports betting – all indications are that Senate Bill 154 won’t be stopped in North Carolina.  Therefore, we think it would be a good bet that legalized sports gambling will be coming to the Tarheel State based Harrah’s casino by this summer.

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