North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law on Friday that will make sports betting legal at two Native American casinos in the state.

Sports betting North Carolina
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has approved a bill allowing sports betting at two tribal casinos in the state. (Image: Matt Bush/Blue Ridge Public Radio)

The legislation, which does not include mobile wagering, only applies to two venues operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in the western, mountainous portion of the state.

Few Restrictions in Tribal Betting Bill    

The bill is relatively straightforward, with few other restrictions or regulations, allowing the tribe to determine for itself how it would like to implement sports betting. Bettors will be allowed to wager on any sporting event the operator wishes to offer, with no restriction on in-state collegiate teams or events.

Outside of the tribe itself, the biggest winner of the bill will likely be Caesars, which operates the two casinos. Currently, the casinos offer slot machines, table games, and poker.

Iowa Betting Likely to Start This Summer

Gamblers in Iowa are closer to being able to bet on sports as well, as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is expected to approve Aug. 15 as a start day for wagering in the state. That’s assuming that the commission decided to approve the proposed rules and regulations for the industry in a Tuesday meeting in West Des Moines.

According to reporting by The Gazette, 18 of the 19 casinos in Iowa have applied for sports wagering licenses. The report cited Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko as saying that the Casino Queen Marquette was the only operator who had yet to apply, but that it too was expected to seek a license.

DC Bars Seek Regulatory Clarity

The coming sports betting market in Washington, D.C. will have three types of operators: the D.C. lottery itself, large sportsbooks at venues like major arenas in the city, and smaller establishments like bars and restaurants.

So far, the D.C. Lottery hasn’t established regulations for exactly what sports betting might look like at the individual bar or restaurant level. But that hasn’t stopped at least three bars – Duffy’s Irish Pub, The Brig, and Wet Dog Tavern – from applying for a new liquor license that is a necessary prerequisite for any other licensing that may be needed.

Unfortunately, bars throughout the district are finding it difficult to navigate the process, as the D.C. Lottery hasn’t yet laid out what the small venue betting market will look like. Nobody knows how many licenses will be awarded, for instance, or if bars and restaurants will be able to band together to share expenses – something a coalition of bars known as Bet D.C. has been lobbying for.

“The concept of having the network of bars together and the terms and the commercial agreements, those are very far along,” lawyer Jeff Ifrah, who leads Bet D.C., told wtop.com. “The current problem is that there’s a lot of contingencies around what the regulations are going to look like, and there’s been no guidance on that from the lottery.”

Baker: MA Betting Unlikely Before 2020

Massachusetts is among the many states that has already seen legislation introduced to legalize sports betting, but which hasn’t seen the movement towards passage that proponents had hoped for.

On the Greg Hill Show, a morning talk show on sports radio network WEEI, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that he still expects wagering to come to the state, but that it’s unlikely to happen in 2019.

“It was my hope that we would get this done by the end of the summer so that it would be open and available here in Massachusetts for the football season in the fall,” Baker said. “But I have a feeling it’s going to slide into the next calendar year. I certainly hope we get this done by the end of…June of 2020, but I would like to have seen it done sooner to tell you the truth.”

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