North Carolina Legal Poker Sites

North Carolina StateNorth Carolina is saved from being a completely dry State for poker players by a single tribal casino which has a poker room. Harrah’s in NC is on Cherokee Indian land and offers a large poker room with plenty of cash game and tournament action. Other than this casino, only free bar tournaments are available – and even the small prizes given in these are the subject of attention from law enforcement agencies.

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This article provides you with an overview of how and where to enjoy poker games in North Carolina. The live poker scene is covered first of all below, with a focus on Harrah’s. After that you will find information on the various forms of social poker, including home poker games, bar leagues and charity events. Next up a look at online games, where is looks unlikely that there will be any significant movement towards regulation. Finally you can find some details from the NC Statutes which pertain to poker, followed by a high level summary of the current climate.

Live Poker Games In North Carolina

Even the single tribal casino in North Carolina was unable to offer table games until 2012, when an addition to the compact with the Cherokee tribe enabled table games to be spread. Nowadays, there is a large poker room offering 20 tables. The action here includes daily and weekly tournament events and a ton of cash game action.

North Carolina residents do not have any easy options for crossing State borders. The equally restrictive South Carolina and Georgia are to the south, and the casino-less Virginia and Tennessee to the North and West respectively.

Are Home Games Legal In North Carolina?

Home poker games are not carved out under North Carolinian law – making even a small stakes social home game technically illegal. There are no charity poker events in this State either, with charity fund-raisers restricted to bingo and raffle type games.

Bar poker leagues are currently the subject of legal challenges and debates. As long as no prizes are offered, these should be considered as legal. Where things get complicated is when the hosting bar offers tokens for free food for the winners – even if this is a small amount. The enforcement of laws concerning bar leagues appears to depend on the local agencies at a county level.

Online Poker Games In NC

As usual there is no specific wording in the Statue books of this State which focuses on gambling or poker over the internet. As you can imagine given their generally anti-gambling stance, online poker is considered completely illegal under the existing laws by the government here.

I really can’t see any future scenario by which North Carolina would regulate or legalize online gambling. The best that can be hoped for is that the current situation where residents are able to access the offshore poker sites who still welcome US players continues. There are several sites based out in the Caribbean who continue to offer a selection of real money poker games. These sites are legal within their own jurisdictions, though there are restrictions on some banking transactions between them and US banks.

What Do The North Carolina Gambling Statutes Say?

The key element making poker illegal in the North Carolina Statutes relates to the ‘game of chance’ definition. This could potentially provide an out for poker players. Historically, legal challenges in this State have led to the laws being toughened up rather than relaxed – so it might be best to leave things in their current ambiguous state instead.

Here is the key passage which relates to illegal gambling games, carve outs are mentioned, though these are very limited and include only Bingo and Raffles for charity fundraising. This excerpt is from chapter 14, part 292:

…any game of chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor…

North Carolina Poker – Summing It Up

North Carolinians have the Cherokee Indian tribe (along with Harrah’s) to thank for the fact that there is any poker at all in this State. With even social home games banned, the 20 tables at the single casino keep the poker scene alive in what is otherwise a very conservative State. Bar poker leagues are a current legal battle ground, with only those leagues that do not offer prizes being truly within the restrictive Statutes here.

The other outlet for residents of North Carolina is to play at offshore poker sites who do welcome players from this State. The government here believe that this activity is illegal, though no individual has ever been prosecuted for playing real money poker online.