Many would call it perfect timing. Right before the start of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday – commonly called “March Madness” – the two casinos operated by the Cherokee tribes in North Carolina opened live sports betting. The two new outlets bring live sports betting to casinos that, only a decade ago, only had slots and table games for betting action.
Cherokee Indian Tribe Joins with William Hill, Caesars
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina has operated two casinos in the western half of the state. Partnering with Caesars Entertainment under the Harrah’s banner, the Cherokee Casino Resort and the Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel have provided the only legal gaming in the state. For several years, the two sites only offered electronic poker tables, but that was changed to live tables back in 2012.
The last barrier for the two casinos to break was live sports betting, which was achieved on Thursday morning when the ribbon was cut on the two new sports betting venues, which will both be called “The Book.”
“We are grateful for our relationship and partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and are ready for sports fans to join us at The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos,” Brooks Robinson, Regional Senior Vice President & General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, said to WBTV in North Carolina. “We are proud to house North Carolina’s first sports betting venues and are confident that it will be an amenity our guests will enjoy.”
Patrons will be able to bet on a multitude of sports in both locations. Professional and college sports, horse racing and the first day of the NCAA basketball tournament will be quite popular in a state that is rabid about sports. The NCAA tournament is expected to be a big draw, especially on the opening weekend for both sports betting outlets.
State of the Art Sports Books
According to WBTV and Harrah’s, the two sports books will seek to give feel of a Las Vegas betting experience. From the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort:
“The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort has plush reclining chairs for viewing games, highlights and score tickers on the 90-foot ultrahigh-definition screen. Guests have the option to place bets at one of the seven ticket-writer windows or from one of the ten self-service betting kiosks available. For a more private group viewing experience, guests of The Book can reserve one of the Fan Caves or seating in the Upper Deck.”
And the similar page from the Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel:
“The Book at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel has a 32-foot, ultra-high- definition screen for viewing with plush reclining chairs and full beverage service. An additional lounge area can also be reserved for private viewing parties. Four ticket-writer windows and five self-service windows are available for guests to place bets.”
At this time, there are no mobile sports betting options in North Carolina, but there may be new casinos coming. The Catawba Indians of North Carolina have recently been authorized to open casinos outside of Charlotte by Governor Roy Cooper, which would in theory be able to offer the same gaming options as the Cherokee operations. These new betting options in North Carolina should certainly add to the overall gambling revenues in the state.