December 7, 2020 Sports Betting, Casino, Legal, Land-Based

Tribe reaches deal with North Carolina governor for sports betting

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are set to launch retail sportsbooks at two North Carolina casinos after reaching a gaming compact amendment agreement with Gov. Roy Cooper.

The amendments will allow the EBCI to operate sportsbooks at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River and Casino, which are both in rural, western North Carolina.

Sports betting should launch in spring 2021, nearly two years after Gov. Cooper originally legalized the activity through a gaming compact with the EBCI.

The EBCI sent Gov. Cooper their sports betting proposal over a year ago, but the Governor’s office was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic in accepting the deal’s terms.

“We are excited to immediately begin implementing sports betting at our gaming properties,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed, according to news outlet Cherokee One Feather. “COVID-19 has negatively impacted funding for critical community services within our Nation, so we welcome this new diverse revenue stream. The addition of these new services is a positive step towards a more stable and secure future for our Tribal members and government operations.”

The EBCI Tribal Council unanimously approved terms to the revised gaming compacts at a session last week. The compacts still must be signed to law by Gov. Cooper and North Carolina’s attorney general and secretary of state.

From there they will be approved by the U.S. Dept. of Interior.

The Covid-19 pandemic and administrative change at the federal level could delay the Dept. of Interior’s response, Tribal Gaming Casino Enterprise attorney Ann Davis told Cherokee One Feather.

According to the news outlet, Davis said that sports betting could potentially arrive ahead of the Super Bowl in early February but admitted, "I wouldn't hold your breath though."

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