Legal Online Poker in Alaska
North Carolina is one of the least gambling-friendly US states, and this sentiment doesn’t pertain only to iGaming. Legal forms of gambling in the Old North State include only the lottery, charitable bingo, and raffles. There are a few tribal casinos with Class III gambling licenses that can host sports and horse race wagering.
Though internet sportsbooks are currently outlawed in NC, a bill to allow sports wagering is currently heading to the State Senate. If it passes, online casino and poker legalization might follow suit. In the meantime, players from North Carolina must turn to offshore sites to satisfy their poker cravings. Even so, not every platform is trustworthy — so research and caution are paramount.
Don’t worry, though. After consulting relevant law books, we will provide an overview of online poker in NC. Not only that, but we’ll introduce you to poker rooms that cater to NC folks and explain how to join without hassle.
Is Online Poker Legal in North Carolina?
In short — no. North Carolina citizens have no right to operate online poker sites within the state. Video poker was banned in 2000 and again in 2006, along with other types of electronic gambling. House Bill 80 from 2009 added “electronic machines and devices for sweepstakes,” effective December 1, 2010, and this prohibition was further cemented by the Supreme Court decision in February 2022.
However, no official laws (state or federal) ban poker fans from the Old North State from playing a few rounds on offshore poker websites.
North Carolina General Statutes recognize gambling as operating or organizing “any game of chance” or betting on such games with “money, property, or other thing of value.”
ALE special agents enforce legislation related to gambling (among other things) in NC that treats illegal wagering as a Class 2 misdemeanor. So, if you’re caught participating in unlawful gaming, you may be looking at 1–60 days of intermediate, active, or community punishment, plus a fine of $1,000.
Here are the relevant pieces of legislation that address gambling in NC:
- Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988
- North Carolina General Statutes Article 37: Lotteries, Gaming, Bingo, and Raffles
Best Legal Poker Rooms in North Carolina
If you’re a North Carolinian, or a visitor looking for poker action, you can find it only at tribal casinos. When it comes to playing this classic card game online, the possibilities are broader. Let’s find out where you can shuffle (virtual) chips.
Legal Online Poker in North Carolina
NC residents may lack state-approved online poker sites, but they have other options — internet social and sweepstakes casinos, Global Poker, and offshore poker sites.
Despite the ban on physical sweepstakes game machines, North Carolinians can play casino-style games on online sweepstakes hassle-free, without using real cash (but with real winnings).
If playing for fun doesn’t do it for you, and you prefer the thrill of real-money poker, you should look into online poker sites based abroad. These operators offer an extensive range of poker variations and host regular tournaments with large prize pools.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Land-Based Poker in North Carolina
Following the enactment of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, Native tribes throughout the US received the right to own and operate casinos on their reservations, regardless of state laws. It’s unlikely that such establishments would operate in NC if it were up to lawmakers.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is currently the only federally-recognized tribe in NC allowed to own two full-fledged casinos and one bingo hall.
Additionally, the Catawba Indian Nation from South Carolina signed an agreement with the North Carolina government and got approval for the Catawba Two Kings Casino in March 2021, pending construction. However, this tribe opened a temporary casino in 2021, where you can play slots and electronic table games on more than 1,000 machines.
Sportsbooks fans in the Tar Heel State are also loyal customers of all Indian casinos, as only these venues can legally offer sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering.
How to Register on a Legal Online Poker Site in North Carolina
Despite having legal brick-and-mortar casinos, North Carolinians view online poker rooms as “a better place to be.” If you’re interested in joining an international platform to compete against players from all over the globe, here’s how to do it:
Pick a site from our listOur experts have tested multiple sites that cater to North Carolina to recommend you the best. So, you can rest assured you won’t get scammed at any poker room from our list.
SignupThe registration process is quite simple; just provide your first and last name (or username), email, phone number, and address.
Complete a verification may not be mandatory on every website. However, with some operators, the process can entail verification by clicking on a link in your email or KYC, where you must submit proof of identity, residence, and payment method. Keep in mind that the site may not ask you to complete the KYC verification right away, but you’ll still have to do it before being allowed to cash out.
Deposit & PlayGo to the Banking section and choose the most convenient payment method to top up your account.
Offshore poker rooms commonly offer a rakeback deal or some other type of welcome bonus, but be sure to read the fine print. Sometimes these bonuses come with unreasonable time limits and rollover requirements and aren’t worth your time.
Visit the gaming lobby or tournament page to see what suits your budget and skill level. Pick a game and have fun, but don’t forget to play responsibly.
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
As we’ve already mentioned, there are no commercial casinos in the state, so NC residents are limited to three tribal casinos, only one of which has a dedicated poker room with regular cash games and tournaments.
The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI) opened its first casino in 1997 after signing a gaming compact with the state in 1994. The venue in question is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, and it’s operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
Harrah’s Cherokee started by offering gaming machines in its bingo hall, adding other games over time. Years later, North Carolina and the EBCI agreed to include live table games and open two more facilities, and the United States Department of the Interior approved it in 2012.
This establishment is at 777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719. If you decide to visit, try your luck at some of the 3,000+ slot machines and 160+ table games. Those interested in poker can head straight to a poker room with 32 poker tables offering constant action, including daily tournaments and WSOP and WSOPC events. Meanwhile, sports fans will enjoy watching their favorite teams on a massive 90-foot screen.
In 2015, the second EBCI casino opened — Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Hotel & Casino, located at 777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906. However, the construction of the third casino doesn’t seem to be underway yet. Even though Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River doesn’t have a poker room, you can still grab a seat at tables offering Mississippi Stud and 3 Card poker.
Even though North Carolina lawmakers are hesitant to allow iGaming, including online poker, two out of three tribal casinos in the state do offer live poker games. That said, there is only one poker room at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
Alternatively, NC residents can access sweepstakes sites, join platforms like Global Poker, or get in on the action on numerous offshore poker websites listed here.