North Carolina Online Poker Law
Historically, North Carolina has been one the more resistant states to allow any form of gambling within its borders. In fact, it was one of the last states to incorporate a state lottery. (There are still seven hold-outs, including Nevada.)
There is no significant push, at local or state level, for online poker legalization on North Carolina, but don’t count North Carolina completely out.
It is the home to two Indian casinos, both run by the Cherokees, that opened in spite of a harsh fight against them conducted by the governor’s mansion. A lengthy battle in the federal courts eventually ruled that casinos can be opened on Indian land, as per The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, the law that established jurisdictional framework for Indian gambling across the country.
North Carolina has two casinos run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee. In 2012, they started to offer live table games, including live poker run on electronic, dealerless PokerPro tables. Incidentally, the PokerPro tables are made by North Carolina-based PokerTek.
North Carolina is experiencing something of a plague with sweepstakes Internet cafes opening up across the state. These officially illegal joints, opening in old fast food restaurants and strip malls, basically offers unregulated slot play on computers.
Florida famously signed a law in 2013 designed to shut down this rogue industry, but may have accidentally and humorously outlawed all computers.
North Carolina lawmakers will surely take up the sweepstakes industry there, but there’s a sign that instead of cracking down on them, legislators may move to tax and regulate it. Since 2010, more than $700,000 has been donated to lawmakers by members of the sweepstakes industry.
That money bought them access to some of the highest-ranking state officials. Whether those officials go to bat for these people is hard to say. Although not the most conservative of all the southern states, politicians still face loud opposition to any form of gambling expansion by its vocal, more religious members of the voting public. Also, the Cherokee Band will surely protest, as well.
So what does this have to do with online poker in North Carolina?
Any movement toward electronic gambling expansion in states with no online poker legalization momentum is newsworthy. The door in North Carolina is shut tight on online poker, but the guy who picks locks has just pulled up with his truck.
It’s harder to say if he will ever get the door unlocked.
When Will I Get to Play Online Poker in North Carolina?
Play golf. Go swimming in the pretty Atlantic Ocean. Go see the Carolina Hurricanes face the Pittsburgh Penguins. Go play a poker tournament with the Cherokees on an electronic tabl. But try to dial up a sit-n-go on your home computer? Forget it.
With no real push by any state lawmakers, it’s going to be awhile for online poker to come to North Carolina. There are two nuggets of hope, though. The aforementioned donation from the sweepstakes industry, as well as the fact that Caesars Entertainment has a foothold in North Carolina through its Harrah’s Cherokee casino, should give online poker players located in North Carolina slight hope. Just a sliver. Don’t look for any real online poker bills here until at least 2017, but probably later, if ever.