Sometimes getting a foot in the door is the most important step. The state of North Carolina approved retail sports betting at the two Harrah’s properties up in the Smoky Mountains in July 2019. Because of delays and complicated gaming compacts, the first bets still hadn’t come in by the end of 2020.
Construction has been completed on the sportsbooks and 2021 will mark the first year with a legal sports bet in North Carolina, but it is not really accessible for most of the state. Except for the small population in Cherokee territory and those that vacation up in the mountains, sports betting in North Carolina won’t be what it could be.
There has been a major population migration to North Carolina in recent years, as snowbirds are settling down for their retirement years in the Carolinas instead of in Florida or other warmer destinations. The Charlotte metro area has exploded, pushing the suburbs further and further out. Areas like Raleigh, Durham, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro continue to house impressive populations.
Sports betting is effectively not available to any of those areas with the current law on the books. Hopefully it will change at some point, but expansions of gaming in the southern states are hard to come by and it seems like progress will continue to be slow.
There are options for North Carolinians that are willing to drive a little bit. Along with the retail sportsbooks in NC, Virginia launched mobile and online betting in 2021 and Tennessee launched on November 1, 2020. It isn’t the most convenient solution, but sports betting is available if you want to participate.
In North Carolina, specifically, your only options are retail sportsbooks that belong to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River are both William Hill books now that Caesars and William Hill have come together with the Eldorado Resorts merger.
Those are your only two options in North Carolina. You can leave the state for more options.
Fortunately, Tennessee is an option. The state of Tennessee is a Remote Registration state, which means that you can sign up from anywhere for a sportsbook account. You just have to be physically located inside the state of Tennessee in order to make a deposit or place bets.
There are no brick-and-mortar gaming facilities in Tennessee, so sports betting falls under the purview of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation and is fully, 100% all mobile and online. Online and mobile betting in Tennessee is a breeze and something very easy to do.
BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all launched on November 1, 2020, the first day of legal betting in the state of Tennessee. Action 24/7 is another operator exclusive to Tennessee. The three nationally-known brands all take bets in multiple states and offer fair odds and their own spins on deposit bonuses. We’ll discuss those more in a second.
Virginia took a little bit of time to get the infrastructure for sports betting up and running because the State for Lovers is also a state with no brick-and-mortar gaming facilities. That will change because of the November 2020 vote to allow casinos to be constructed. At the outset, though, Virginia, like Tennessee, will be 100% online and mobile.
Virginia will also be a Remote Registration state, which means that you can sign up from anywhere and bet on sports. While we listed Virginia second because of the alphabet, it will be the most popular state for sports bettors from North Carolina. Virginia is much closer than Tennessee for most of the major population centers in North Carolina.
Sports betting was actually legalized in Virginia on July 1, 2020, but lawmakers, even up until the official launch date, were still talking about caps on the number of licenses available.
DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, William Hill, and BetMGM will be the major names in Virginia for the foreseeable future.
There are a few options for those willing to travel to Tennessee or Virginia to place mobile and online wagers. You can also drive up into the Smoky Mountains to stay at home and place bets at the retail sportsbook.
BetMGM Sportsbook is a global giant in the gambling world and that reach extends to sports betting. BetMGM is in several states and has a reputation as a safe and secure place to bet on sports with extremely fair lines and great customer service. Because MGM has a lot of additional ways to generate revenue, they don’t have to take advantage of sports bettors with unfair lines like some of the other operators. As far as bang for your buck, The King of Sportsbooks is one of the best.
You can get a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $500 in Tennessee and Virginia when you make your first deposit with BetMGM.
BetRivers is not in Tennessee, but was one of the earliest sportsbooks in Virginia. BetRivers has a strong presence throughout the Rust Belt States and it only made sense to start the move south a little bit into VA. BetRivers has a sleek look and a clean design to go along with one of the best live betting interfaces in the business.
You can get a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 at BetRivers Virginia.
Everybody knows the name DraftKings. Even if you don’t bet on sports or play in daily fantasy sports contests, you know the name. It is everywhere in the post-PASPA world and its influence in the sports gambling world dates back to the first DFS contests. DraftKings has everything that a sports bettor could want, including one of the most extensive prop betting collections and tons of futures odds.
You can get up to a $1000 Deposit Bonus spread between a Risk-Free Wager and a Deposit Match at DraftKings.
The other sportsbook operator with a large market share is FanDuel. Both FanDuel and DraftKings had a big head start with large client bases due to DFS and the addition of sports betting was seamless. FanDuel is a really popular sportsbook for a variety of reasons, including a clean look and a lot of different betting options. They offer fair odds, lots of contests and promotions, and continue to gain steam as the most popular sports betting operator in the United States.
You can get up to a $500 Risk-Free Bet by signing up at FanDuel.
William Hill is the only sports betting company in operation in North Carolina. The Eldorado/Caesars merger turned Caesars sportsbooks into William Hill sportsbooks, so they operate the sportsbooks at the two Harrah’s Cherokee properties. William Hill is also likely to be a major player in Virginia, but has not yet made it to Tennessee.
You can get up to $500 in value with a deposit bonus at William Hill.
We’ll keep you updated if things change in North Carolina, but for now, it looks as though betting will be restricted to the Harrah’s properties in the mountains for the foreseeable future. That will force many of the state’s residents to either go to Tennessee or Virginia to place wagers from the convenience of their mobile devices.
If enough money leaves the state to bet elsewhere, maybe government officials will rethink their sports betting strategies, but expansions of gaming are hard to come by in NC and that will likely remain the case.