Already passed by the state senate, a bill that would legalise sports betting on tribal lands within the US state of North Carolina has been sent to the state’s House of Representatives for approval.
Senator Jim Davis, a Republican, introduced S154 which would allow tribal gaming facilities to expand their offerings to include sports betting along with other forms of gambling that are already permitted under existing agreements with the state. The bill was easily passed in the Senate at its second reading as only seven senators voted against, with 43 voting in favour.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is the only Native American tribe that currently has a pact with the state regarding gambling. If S154 is passed by the House of Representatives and state Governor Roy Cooper, they would be able to launch sports betting operations on specific tribal land.
The bill states that any establishments offering wagers on sporting events must be placed on land that is already permitted to conduct class 3 (casino) gaming activity. Wagering on horse racing was also added to S154 under the same requirement.
Currently, this would seem to indicate that legal wagers on sports and horse racing would be restricted to two locations within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ tribal lands. Those would be the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (operated by Caesars Entertainment) on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy.
It is possible, however, that bets could be placed online from anywhere in the state in the future. In New Jersey, for example, all online bets are considered to be placed and settled within the casino as long as the servers that facilitate those transactions are located on the casino premises. So wait for new online casinos coming soon!
The Catawba Indian Nation has recently proposed plans to build a new tribal casino in Kings Mountain, leading to speculation that the market in North Carolina may continue to expand.
As is, the bill does not set a tax rate on these new activities, meaning that the state and the tribal communities will have to come to an agreement about both taxes and revenue sharing before any legal betting on sports or horse racing could actually be launched. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians currently pays the state of North Carolina 8% of revenue generated through live table games as part of a pact established in 2012.
S154 also establishes an Indian Gaming Education Revenue Fund that would receive funds raised through sports betting revenue.
No House Committee has been assigned to handle the bill so far, but there is no constitutional or statutory requirement for then when House regular session must end.