Like the majority of southern states, North Carolina has restrictive gaming laws. North Carolina gambling laws ban commercial casinos, online poker, sports betting, and pari-mutuel wagers. Two Native American casinos exist, while charitable gambling is widespread. North Carolina is somewhat more progressive than most of its immediate neighbors, so it should come as no surprise that it allows an idiosyncratic form of gambling: Beach Bingo.
While North Carolina bans many forms of gaming, it does give nods to residents who like to gamble. Punishments for illegal gambling are light, while the laws do not spell out what a game of chance is. There are exceptions, such as the energetic enforcement of Internet sweepstakes cafes in the past ten years. Local police do raid the illegal cyber-cafes at a brisk rate, so that many Internet sweepstakes cafes which once operated no longer exist.
Throughout most of its history, North Carolina gambling laws were not permissive at all. In the 21st Century, that has begun to change. 2005 saw the North Carolina Education Lottery pass on the slimmest of margins. The controversial vote meant that $5.7 billion have gone into the state’s education system over the past 13 years that otherwise would not have been earmarked for salaries, scholarships, and school construction. And while North Carolina restricts most forms of gambling, its laws against such activities are not that strict.
Section 14-292: Punishments for Illegal Gambling
Except as provided in Chapter 18C of the General Statutes or in Part 2 of this Article, 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.
Illegal gambling is a Class B misdemeanor in North Carolina. Interestingly, organizing an illegal game is a misdemeanor, where it is a felony in many states. Also, North Carolina’s statutes give little direction on what constitutes a “game of chance”. Residents should understand that the stakes are not high and a crime is ill-defined, but North Carolina restricts legal gambling to only a few activities. If it’s not in a lottery vendor, Indian casino, bingo hall, or beach, it’s illegal.
As a Bible Belt state, North Carolina restricts most forms of gambling. The Tarheel State does have two tribal casinos and the North Carolina Education Lottery, which was passed by then-Gov. Mike Easley in 2005 when he signed the North Carolina State Lottery Act and the 2005 Appropriations Act. The bill barely passed, because then-Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue had to cast a tie-breaking vote in the state senate to place the bill on Gov. Easley’s desk.
The North Carolina Education Lottery places 100% of all funds in state’s education, including school construction, transportation costs, college financial aids, pre-school for at-risk 4-year old children, and salaries for educational support staff. Sixty percent is paid out in prize, while 29% goes to the education fund and 4% to general lottery expenses. The remaining 7% is collected by the lottery ticket vendors and retailers.
Other than Indian casinos and the state lottery, only two other forms of gambling are legal: charitable gambling and “beach bingo”. Charitable bingo and raffles are organized by nonprofit organizations across the state, much like you’ll find in dozens of other US states. Beach Bingo is a form of gaming relatively unique to North Carolina. It is a form of inexpensive bingo ($10 or less) which licensed operators can run. Beach bingo targets tourists on the North Carolina beaches along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.
North Carolina Online Poker Laws
Online poker is a nonstarter in North Carolina. No online gambling bills have ever been introduced in the state legislature. Online casinos and online poker are not likely to be legalized anytime soon. Internet sweepstakes cafes might have ended any hope North Carolina lawmakers would pass an iGaming bill.
While online gambling aficionados know that Internet sweepstakes cafes have nothing to do with online or mobile gambling, the wider public might conflate the two. Earlier in the 2010s, the General Assembly passed a bill which banned Internet sweepstakes. In 2014, Lenoir County District Attorney Matt Delbridge determined the sweepstakes cafes were illegal after Bonus Spins Internet Cafe was robbed at gunpoint one night. Delbridge’s attempts to enforce the law led to a protracted legal battle.
In 2017, Superior Court Judge Ebern Watson issued an injunction on behalf of Sandhill Amusements Inc. and Gift Surplus LLC. For the time being, sweepstakes cafes were allowed to remain in operation. The cafes might have remained in business, had it not been for the introduction of “fish game tables” to the cities of North Carolina.
A fish game table is similar to the skill-based gambling machines you’ll find at the Level-Up Studio in the MGM Grand or the games you might find at Dave & Buster’s. It’s a game of skill played on a 55-inch screen embedded in a 6-foot electronic gaming table. Fish games swept across North Carolina businesses in 2017 and 2018, but it led to action on the part of the General Assembly.
In August 2018, State Senator Andy Wells introduced a bill to ban fish game tables in North Carolina. The bill also imposed a ban on Internet sweepstakes cafes. The bill passed in September 2018 and went into effect on October 15, 2018. Businesses were given until that day to remove their illegal games.
Sports betting is not on the General Assembly’s docket at the moment. While Eilers & Krejcik estimates 32 US states will pass sportsbook legalization bills in the next 7 years, North Carolina does not appear to be near the top of the list of states supporting sports betting. Virginia looks like it will pass sports betting, which might put pressure on North Carolina to do the same. It isn’t likely.
While North Carolina’s legislature has not legalized and regulated the daily fantasy sports industry, almost all DFS operators are active in the state. FanDuel and DraftKings each accept play from real money daily fantasy sports owners.
Yes, North Carolina has two land-based Indian casinos, located in the cities of Cherokee and Murphy. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and managed by Caesars Entertainment (Harrah’s). It has three times as many slot machines and gaming tables as the Murphy casino, along with a poker room.
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy is a much smaller operation, but it still has more than enough gaming tables (65) and slot machines (1200) to serve the people of southwestern North Carolina. While the main Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Valley River Casino is accessible to visitors from Chattanooga, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.
|City||Name Of Casino||Address||Phone Number||Details|
|Cherokee||Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort||777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, North Carolina 28719-8735||(828) 497-7777||3,280 Gaming Machines, 20 Poker Tables, 170 Gaming Tables|
|Murphy||Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel||777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, North Carolina 28906-5212||(828) 497-7777||1,018 Gaming Machines, 64 Poker and Gaming Tables|
No. North Carolina does not have any horse tracks or dog tracks. Pari-mutuel betting is illegal in the state.
No. North Carolina does not have any off-track betting facilities (OTBs). Simulcasting and pari-mutuel wagers have no place in North Carolina.
Yes. The state has a lot of charitable gambling organizations. You’ll find bingo halls in many of the small towns and mid-sized cities of North Carolina. On the beaches, you’ll find about 200 licensed operators of Beach Bingo.
Beach Bingo requires its operators to offer prizes no greater than $10 in cash. If non-cash prizes are offered, they cannot be exchanged for cash and they must not be more than $10 in value. If you see someone running a bingo game on the beach, you might ask to see their license, but it’s probably legal.
|City||Name Of Casino||Address||Phone Number||Details|
|Ahoskie||Ahoskie Beach Bingo||315 Main Street East, Ahoskie, North Carolina 27910||(252) 332-1945||N/A|
|Archdale||A&S Beach Bingo||10418 North Main Street, Archdale, North Carolina 27263-3281||(804) 549-3879||60 Bingo Seats|
|Cherokee||Cherokee Tribal Bingo||91 Bingo Loop Road, Highway 19 North, Cherokee, North Carolina 28719||(828) 497-4320||1,110 Bingo Seats|
|Conover||Back In Time Bingo||815 Conover Boulevard West, Conover, North Carolina 28613||(828) 464-5680||96 Bingo Seats|
|Conover||Whaley’s Beach Bingo||433 1st Street West, Conover, North Carolina 28613-2131||(828) 464-1978||60 Bingo Seats|
|Dunn||Dunn Bingo||10 Jonesboro Road, Dunn, North Carolina 28334||(910) 818-2897||250 Bingo Seats|
|Durham||Tri Beach Bingo||1020 Highway 70 East, Suite 105, Durham, North Carolina 27703||(919) 596-1368||80 Bingo Seats|
|Fayetteville||Tri Beach Bingo||512 McArthur Road, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28311-6930||(910) 488-6000||88 Bingo Seats|
|Goldsboro||Bingo Bonanza||1316 West Grantham Street, Goldsboro, North Carolina 27530-1151||(919) 736-3665||200 Bingo Seats|
|Goldsboro||Grand Slam Bingo – Goldsboro||1041 North Berkeley Boulevard, Goldsboro, North Carolina 27534-3415||(919) 222-3075||5 Bingo Seats|
|Goldsboro||Pinewood Beach Bingo||1809 North Berkeley Boulevard, Suite B, Goldsboro, North Carolina 27534-3391||(919) 920-8490||250 Bingo Seats|
|Greenville||Lou’s Beach Bingo||1202 North Memorial Drive, Greenville, North Carolina 27834-1429||(252) 758-6846||150 Bingo Seats|
|Greenville||Tim’s Beach Bingo||2400 South Memorial Drive, Unit 1-G, Greenville, North Carolina 27834-5031||(252) 355-9200||70 Bingo Seats|
|Hamlet||KK’s Elite Bingo||120 Raleigh Street, Hamlet, North Carolina 28345-2757||(910) 716-2099||99 Bingo Seats|
|Havelock||Ben’s Beach Bingo||1333 East Main Street, Havelock, North Carolina 28532-1805||(252) 463-3585||140 Bingo Seats|
|Henderson||B1 Bingo||946 West Andrews Avenue, Suite R, Henderson, North Carolina 27536-2500||(706) 969-0778||300 Bingo Seats|
|Jacksonville||Miles Away Beach Bingo||244 Brynn Marr Road, Jacksonville, North Carolina 28546-5705||(910) 353-3329||100 Bingo Seats|
|Jacksonville||TNT Beach Bingo||207 Henderson Drive, Jacksonville, North Carolina 28540-5603||(910) 938-7940||150 Bingo Seats|
|Kinston||Mickey’s Beach Bingo||1229 West New Bern Road, Kinston, North Carolina 28504-4713||(252) 521-2301||100 Bingo Seats|
|Marion||Your Beach Bingo||466 East Court Street, Suite C, Marion, North Carolina 28752-4005||(828) 659-6210||50 Bingo Seats|
|Monroe||S&R Beach Bingo||103 Wilkes Drive, Suite A, Monroe, North Carolina 28110-2798||(704) 661-4650||49 Bingo Seats|
|Morganton||BJ’s Beach Bingo||101A East Main Street, Morganton, North Carolina 28655-6040||(828) 467-6638||N/A|
|Mount Olive||Grand Slam Bingo – Mount Olive||1130 North Breazeale Avenue, Suite C, Mount Olive, North Carolina 28365-1116||(919) 658-3551||60 Bingo Seats|
|New Bern||New Bern Beach Bingo||2522-A Neuse Boulevard, New Bern, North Carolina 28562-3322||(252) 514-9865||N/A|
|Pfafftown||Grandview Bingo||4685-E Yadkinville Road, Pfafftown, North Carolina 27040-8622||(336) 922-2662||200 Bingo Seats|
|Raleigh||Kenny’s Beach Bingo||2626 South Saunders Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-3583||(919) 758-1259||120 Bingo Seats|
|Reidsville||Frankie’s Beach Bingo||Highway 158 East 3511, Reidsville, North Carolina 27320||(336) 349-9911||40 Bingo Seats|
|Roanoke Rapids||Jackpot Bingo – Roanoke Rapids||1040 East 10th Street, Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina 27870-3006||(252) 537-0004||300 Bingo Seats|
|Rockingham||B & D Beach Bingo||1300 East Broad Avenue, Rockingham, North Carolina 28379-4407||(910) 817-9606||50 Bingo Seats|
|Rockingham||S & A Beach Bingo||564 West US Highway 74, Rockingham, North Carolina 28379-7006||(910) 334-3494||250 Bingo Seats|
|Rocky Mount||Tarrytown Beach Bingo||570 South Wesleyan Boulevard, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27803-1722||(252) 883-3444||150 Bingo Seats|
|Selma||Apollo’s Beach Bingo||1104 South Pollock Street, Selma, North Carolina 27576-2934||(919) 351-0282||N/A|
|Spring Lake||Lucky 3 Bingo||111 South Main Street, Spring Lake, North Carolina 28390-3901||(910) 497-0333||100 Bingo Seats|
|Statesville||Family Beach Bingo||1414 Wilkesboro Highway, Statesville, North Carolina 28625-3231||(828) 234-2779||75 Bingo Seats|
|Tarboro||Rose’s Beach Bingo||1408 Western Boulevard, Tarboro, North Carolina 27886-4100||(252) 641-1037||60 Bingo Seats|
|Wilmington||Winner’s World Bingo||4623 Market Street, Wilmington, North Carolina 28405-3421||(910) 796-0188||50 Bingo Seats|
|Wilson||Herring Ave Beach Bingo||1305 Herring Avenue East, Wilson, North Carolina 27893-4372||(252) 883-3444||140 Bingo Seats|
|Wilson||Treasure Island Beach Bingo||1501 Lipscomb Road East, Wilson, North Carolina 27893-5529||(252) 883-3444||100 Bingo Seats|
|Winston-Salem||No.8 Bingo||4240 North Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27105-1612||(336) 661-1031||280 Bingo Seats|
|Winston-Salem||Peggy’s Beach Bingo||13118 Old US 52, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27107||(336) 788-0268||81 Bingo Seats|
|Winterville||Connie’s Bingo||4735 Reedy Branch Road, Suite M, Winterville, North Carolina 28590-9934||(252) 689-6537||100 Bingo Seats|
Yes. Zynga, Double Down Casino, and Big Fish Games are playable social casinos. Also, Caesars Entertainment has a big presence in North Carolina, so several Caesars-affiliated social casinos are available: Slotomania, Caesars Slots, and Bingo Blitz. The MyVegas app, which is MGM Resorts’ mobile gaming app, is also available. MyVegas allows a player to receive MGM rewards points for play on the free casino.