Guide to Online Gambling in North Carolina
The southern states in the US are known to be conservative. And that’s especially evident when it comes to the Tar Heel State’s stance on gambling. Opportunities for real money gambling in person are limited, and North Carolina online gambling is not yet regulated by the state.
However, there are some options for residents who enjoy placing a bet or spinning the slot reels. While the state lottery was late to the party, it has been in full swing since 2006 with web-based products as well. The best North Carolina gambling sites also offer multiple options for internet betting and gaming.
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North Carolina has experimented with gambling legislation throughout its history. Lotteries helped to establish a state budget in the early 1800s. Then, pari-mutuel wagering emerged in the 1940s, only to be short-lived like the lottery.
While the lottery has returned, and now even offers the only state-regulated online betting product, there’s not much more in NC. Two tribal casinos are located on the west side of the state, far from Charlotte and Raleigh. They’re approved for sports betting, but it doesn’t extend to mobile or web-based services.
So, land-based betting is sparse, and most options for real money online gambling in North Carolina come from out-of-state providers.
Best North Carolina Gambling Sites
Without official state-regulated online programs, locating the best gambling sites in North Carolina is slightly more complicated. You won’t find any listings of approved websites issued by the state government, and there’s no print, radio, or TV advertising to give you some ideas.
That leaves you with two hurdles to jump.
- Find real money gambling sites open to North Carolina players
- Determine which of those sites offers the best service with safe, secure, and fair gaming
If you’re not up to the challenge, that’s okay. Our team of experts is up to the task and has taken care of the legwork for you.
We’ve assembled a complete directory of all North Carolina online gambling sites, meaning operators that have opened their doors to residents of the Tar Heel State. Instead of the final product, though, the list is just the beginning. Reviews of every website start with the home page and continue to the payout process.
Observations combine with everything else we know about the ownership, as well as actual player feedback. That gives us a much more accurate evaluation so that we can then compare one site to another.
Our method translates to a direct route to the best North Carolina gambling sites. You can pick one of our recommendations or research them further. We’ve even published full reviews of each one so you can read them and make your assessment.
Evolving NC Gambling Laws
Unlike many of its sister states, North Carolina has taken a backseat when it comes to gambling expansion.
Other places have experienced periods of exponential change, while the Tar Heel State has slowly chugged along.
Betting Back and Forth
The lottery, pari-mutuel wagering, and video poker machines have come and gone, and then returned once again. There’s never been a decade that’s made a significant impact on North Carolina gambling legislation, though. One of the closest things to a big shift would be 1995’s unveiling of the first Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
Since then, a second Harrah’s opened in 2012 and table games added to high-stakes bingo and slots. So, there are now two Vegas-style casinos, but they’re hours away from the larger metro areas.
Even the lottery didn’t reappear for almost 200 years since its first go-round. While the lottery proved to be beneficial to the state from 1809 to 1835, conservative voices had their say. While other states unveiled their games of chance in the 1960s and ‘70s, North Carolina waited until 2006.
Since then, the NC Education Lottery has once again showcased its value by adding to the education budget.
While it was slow in coming, the lottery zoomed past everything else with an online product. Residents can now buy draw tickets online, but there’s no instant play option as is common in other locations with iLottery.
DFS and Sports Betting
North Carolinians play daily fantasy sports even though it’s not officially sanctioned. DFS is more of a subject that’s ignored by the government. It’s common knowledge that residents can register an account with the top providers, but nothing is on the books that allow the state to reap benefits.
Another typical online opportunity is mobile sports betting in states like NC that have approved land-based sportsbooks, but that’s not the case here. Both of the Harrah’s casino properties have the go-ahead for in-person sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering, but they don’t have virtual counterparts.
The final in-person betting opportunity, charity gambling, isn’t going to get the online ball rolling either. Non-profits can host bingo, skilo, and raffles, but they’re exclusively land-based activities.
NC Online Gambling Originates Elsewhere
So, North Carolina online gambling, except lottery ticket sales, is handled by operators from other jurisdictions. A small number of casino, poker, and sports betting sites from outside of the area fills the void left by the absence of in-state licensed real money gambling sites in NC.
Most of the betting operations have at least a few years of experience in the industry, but new websites continue to emerge, providing North Carolinians with even more options.
Overview of Legal Gambling in North Carolina
- Casinos: Two Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos
- Sportsbooks: Approved for inside the casinos
- Lottery: Tickets available at retailers across the state
- Daily Fantasy Sports: Provided to residents without in-state approval or regulation
- Charity Gambling: Bingo, Skilo, and Raffles
- Pari-Mutuel: Approved for inside the casinos
- Online Gambling: Except for online lottery tickets, all NC online gambling sites are located outside the state
Safe Gambling Online in North Carolina
If you’ve never participated in any NC online gambling, then you may have quite a few questions and uncertainties. After all, it’s much different than walking into Harrah’s.
- How do you know where to play?
- Are you participating in fair gaming?
- Is your money safe?
The answer to the last two questions is “yes” if you know where to play.
Selecting the best online gambling site is the key to a safe and entertaining experience. When you’re not familiar with the various services, it’s not a good idea to “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” and blindly select a casino.
To make sure you have safe, secure, and fair gaming, you want ownership with a good reputation. It’s also imperative to have licensed gaming software, transparency with contact information as well as terms and conditions, and a pattern of good feedback from players.
The top North Carolina gambling sites that we recommended have been thoroughly vetted. They are all safe and trustworthy operations.
Evaluating NC Gambling Sites
We’ve been stressing the importance of finding the best online gambling sites for North Carolina residents, and we’ve mentioned a few of the things in which you should pay particular attention. Now let’s get into a bit more detail about how we rank real money gambling sites for NC (and everywhere else.)
We’ve got an evaluation process in place that results in our list of recommendations. It’s been refined over the years and is pretty complex, but here’s a quick breakdown of the basics.
There are three factors involved in evaluating all of the real money gambling websites that have opened their services to NC residents.
- Ownership reputation and longevity
- Comprehensive website review
- Our internal expertise, research, and impressions
Aside from the actual reviews, our team stays current in the online gambling industry. We monitor the news, as well as the comings and goings. Keeping track of any payout issues and patterns of feedback from players who use the service are invaluable in our assessments.
When it comes to the review process, we work off of a list of criteria to see if the sites meet or exceed expectations, or if they fall short.
NC Gambling Site Criteria
The standards include proper banking methods, fast payout turnarounds, and free (or reasonable) financial transactions. Gaming software should be provided by one of the top developers, and there should be plenty of games that cover a variety of preferences. There should be plenty of betting of options and coverage of different sports.
Additionally, we review the terms and conditions for transparency and attention to detail. There should be a variety of bonuses and promotions, as well as easily accessible customer service.
Combining all of these review elements with our knowledge base regarding ownership and news items results in an accurate ranking and rating system. So, you can pick any of the sites on the recommended list, knowing that safe, secure, and fair gaming are the primary objectives.
Recapping Our North Carolina Gambling Guide
The list of states with liberal gambling laws isn’t going to include North Carolina. While the Tar Heel State has progressed well beyond Utah and Hawaii, the most conservative in the country, it’s still not flush with possibilities.
Home-grown online gambling options are particularly scarce. Aside from the NC Education Lottery, which sells draw tickets on its official website, there aren’t any state-regulated opportunities.
North Carolinians aren’t left out in the cold, though. A limited number of online gambling sites, including casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms, are welcoming to area residents. So, virtual options ARE there. But be selective. You must stick with the best North Carolina gambling sites if you want the best possible experience.
In addition to the top real money gambling sites for NC we’ve listed on this page, we’ve also the ranked the best options in some more specific categories.