Sports Betting in North Carolina a Step Closer as Amended EBCI Compact Signed.

Posted on: December 15, 2020, 11:45h. 

Last updated on: December 16, 2020, 11:29h.

Sports betting in North Carolina is one step closer to reality, as Gov. Roy Cooper has signed the amended gaming compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a spokesperson told Tuesday.

North Carolina sports betting
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, seen here about to give a COVID-19 briefing earlier this month, recently signed the amended gaming compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. That moves the tribe closer to operating sportsbooks at its two casinos. (Image: NC Gov. Roy Cooper/

Along with Gov. Cooper, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein also have signed off on the compact, a copy of which was sent to The agreement was dated Dec. 3 on the front page of the 36-page document. However, none of the signatures for state officials or EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed nor Interim Attorney General Michael McConnell were dated.

The Governor has signed a compact agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians allowing for additional gaming, and the compact will be submitted to the Department of Interior for Review,” said Dory MacMillan, press secretary for Gov. Cooper, in an email to

Under federal law, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has 45 days from receipt of the document to approve the amended compact. According to federal regulations, if there’s no response within that 45-day period, then it’s “considered to have been approved, but only to the extent it complies with the provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

A message to the bureau’s public affairs office was not returned Tuesday.

READ HERE – Second Amended and Restated Compact between the State of North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Drawn-Out Process

The North Carolina state legislature passed the sports betting law last year that granted EBCI the right to offer it at its two tribal casinos in the western part of the state. Those casinos are operated by Caesars Entertainment as Harrah’s casinos.

However, it also required an amended gaming compact between the tribe and the state. That process is supposed to take six months, but Sneed told last month as the agreement was being reached that the entire process took more than a year.

In a recent meeting with the EBCI Tribal Council, Sneed said to members that he expressed his displeasure to Cooper about the drawn-out process.

While federal officials have 45 days upon receipt to review the amended compact, the fact that the President-Elect Joe Biden takes over in 35 days may complicate matters. When the council approved the amended compact at its Dec. 3 meeting, tribal officials said sports betting may not necessarily be live by the Super Bowl. But they were confident it would be open for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

North Carolina Sports Betting Regulations

North Carolina’s sports betting law allows only for retail locations within the casinos. Mobile wagering will not be allowed.

In addition to sports betting, the new law also allows wagers on horse racing. That includes pari-mutuel and fixed-odds markets.

The amended compact includes an appendix with 25 regulations the EBCI must follow. Notable regulations include:

  • “The Tribe shall publish and prominently display the average takeout fee and the range of these takeout fees with respect to horse race wagers. At a minimum, this average and range will be posted adjacent to the House Rules.”
  • “The Tribe shall not use lines or odds, or offer wagering propositions, designed for the purpose of ensuring that a patron will win a wager.”
  • “Prior to making a sports or horse race wager, the bettor shall represent that: 1) the bettor is not a participant, referee, official, coach, team owner or employee or immediate relative of any of the foregoing and 2) has no non-public, confidential information that may have a material effect on the outcome of the event. In addition to prominently displaying this condition of sale where betting tickets may be purchased, the bettor’s representation shall also be printed on the face of the ticket.”
  • “Prior to conducting fixed-odds horse race wagering, the Tribal Gaming Commission shall develop internal controls and protocols specific to fixed odds horse race wagering. Fixed-odds horse race wagering may not occur until the Chair of the Certification Commission certifies to the Governor and the Governor concurs that these internal controls and protocols are sufficient to protect consumers and the integrity of horse race wagering. Should the Tribe offer fixed-odds horse race wagering, the Tribe must make available to patrons a written explanation of the differences between fixed-odds and pari-mutuel wagering…”
  • “No wagers shall be allowed on any sporting event or horse race in which the Tribe, the Tribal Gaming Commission, members of the Tribal Gaming Commission, or any officers or employees of the Tribe or Tribal Gaming Commission have an ownership interest or partial ownership interest in any team or horse participating in the event…”