Charities Get the Go Ahead
A bill making it legal for charities to host casino nights will soon become law in North Carolina.
Yesterday, the state’s House of Representatives voted 95-17 to approve changes the Senate had made in the bill. Governor Roy Cooper will soon sign the legislation, reports the Associated Press. As long as charities follow a few restrictions, they will be able to host occasional casino nights.
However, while this is certainly a step in the right direction for charities who want to raise funds, the bill will only apply east of Interstate 26, complying with Cherokee casino agreements.
North Carolina has two tribal casinos, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino. Other gambling establishments in the state offer only bingo-style games. A third casino is being proposed.
In 1997, Harrah’s Cherokee opened its doors with only video poker machines available. Bingo was eventually added but the idea of building a casino brought a disagreement between North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), which was settled in federal court.
Fast-forward to 2011 and the state reached an agreement with Harrah’s Cherokee to offer live cards at the casino. In 2012, live game tables were introduced. With the revenue brought in from the casinos, the tribe has been able to improve services such as building a new school and hospital.
Governor Vetoed Similar Bill
Although Governor Cooper appears likely to sign this bill, he vetoed a similar proposal in 2017. His fears, at the time, centered on the fact that such a move would attract video poker machines.
House Bill 511 would have permitted nonprofits and charities that had an alcohol license to host “game nights” four times a year. With reportedly open-ended language, Cooper felt the bill might give nonprofits a reason to add video poker machines.
It seems that those fears have been addressed in this new bill.
Sports Betting Coming to Cherokee Casinos?
According to a report from Cherokee One Feather, sports betting could be making its way to EBCI.
The March story noted that state Senator Jim Davis had introduced SB154, which would authorize sports wagering on tribal lands, at the end of February. The aim of the bill is to amend existing law so that it includes sports wagering as a Class III game that “may lawfully be conducted.”
The report goes on to note that the EBCI is working with the tribe’s casinos to expand its game offerings.
“Sports betting would create a new clientele for the casinos and create a new revenue stream for Cherokee,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed.