Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

North Carolina Closer to Flip-Flopping on Poker

Bill to Legalize Live Table Games Passes Senate Wednesday


On Wednesday, lawmakers in North Carolina approved a bill that would authorize the state’s only casino — the Harrah’s Cherokee near the Tennessee border — to offer traditional live table games, including poker, instead of just the electronic version.

The casino currently has automated poker tables that spread a handful of limits.

Currently, live dealer-based poker is illegal everywhere in the state. Historically, North Carolina, which views poker as a game of chance, has aggressively cracked down, sometimes violently, on underground games. The legislation would not change laws pertaining to home games.

The bill passed out of the Senate by a margin of 33-14, with three abstentions. It now goes to the House. Both bodies are controlled by Republicans.

The reasoning behind the measure is to put more revenue in the hands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the state, as well as create some jobs.

The legislation — sponsored by two Republicans and one Democrat — advances months after the state renegotiated a compact with the tribe. Under the 30-year agreement, the tribe would have exclusive rights to offer table games. In exchange, a percentage of their revenue would go toward the state’s education budget.

Bell after his WSOP win in 2010Professional Chris Bell, who has more than $2.5 million in lifetime tournament earnings, currently grinds the underground circuit in North Carolina. He told Card Player the games are technically illegal.

If the state were to have casino poker games, Bell said that no longer having the fear of being robbed, more so than being raided, would be a relief. According to the World Series of Poker bracelet winner, five or six underground games run in the state every single night, and every few months one is busted by police.

“This is exciting for North Carolina,” Bell added, “and the action in the [casino] games would be great.”

According to the Associated Press, the Cherokees could eventually open up satellite locations in order to offer more games. The tribe owns the casino, which is managed by Las Vegas-based giant Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus



over 8 years ago

N.C., like many other states are missing out on millions of dollars in rakes that could go toward education or whatever by not pursuing online poker in the state or a parimutuel venture with other states.

I'd rather play in a SitnGo or tournament than waste money playing the lottery that I will never win. Also, I'm not driving to the edge of the state to play live poker at Harrah's Cherokee when I can play live poker at my house, legal or not.

Most of us play part-time while working a full-time job and driving several hours to play legally isn't practical.

Oh well, if they rather lose out on the money, I don't mind making illegal non-taxable dollars. Maybe one day, we will become the land of the free again, seriously doubt it though.