Is Any Gambling Legal in North Carolina?
Yes. The North Carolina State lottery, legalized in 2005, generates considered tax revenue, a large portion of which is directed to education funding. Lottery games offered in the state include scratch cards, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Mega Millions, Powerball, and Lucky for Life.
Casino are legal in the state on lands owned by the Cherokee. The tribe currently owns and operates two casinos in the state. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is located in Qualla Boundary territory and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino is located in the Nantahala National Forest.
They are operated in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment Corp which owns the Harrah’s brand. Both casinos offer table games, slots and bingo. The only poker room in the state is at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
Charitable gambling has its own special section under state law. It allows certain nonprofit organizations to run limited charitable gambling fundraisers, including bingo and raffles. These fundraisers are held to strict rules and regulations around how much prize money they can award.
Social gambling is covered under section 14-292 of the state statutes. It states that any bet in an unlicensed game of chance is illegal. There is no exception given to this law for social gambling. This means it is illegal to gamble in your home, including a small stakes weekly poker game. Social gambling may be illegal but enforcement is generally not concerned with low stake poker games as long is there is no entry fee or rake.
North Carolina used to allow video gambling terminals in bars and other businesses. However, after the industry got out of hand, according to regulators, a limit of three games per property was enacted. After these limitations were ignored by many businesses state lawmakers went a step further and completely banned the video terminals in 2007.
In July 2019 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that legalized sports betting in the state. Under the new laws sports betting was allowed at sportsbooks in the state’s two casinos. A study was also started to look at the potential for a statewide implementation of sports betting.
North Carolina Laws Pertinent to Online Poker
Gambling laws are found in Article 37 of the state’s criminal code. Under section 14-292 of Article 37 it states:
“any person or organization that operates any game of chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
Nowhere in article 37 does it mention online poker or internet poker. This does not make online poker legal in North Carolina.
However, North Carolina authorities have never arrested anyone specially for playing online poker. Unless authorities changed their tune on online poker or other laws specifically related to online poker are written, online poker players in North Carolina should be comfortable playing at offshore sites.