- By Tribal Business News Staff
Ahead of the March launch of online sports betting in North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee has announced a partnership with Caesars Entertainment to offer online betting.
The agreement grants Caesars Sportsbook access to the state gaming license held by the Eastern Band — in line with the state requirement that online betting platforms partner with a state tribe, sports team, or sporting venue in order to access North Carolina’s market. Subject to regulatory approvals, the platform could go live as soon as March 11, when sports betting officially launches in the rest of the state.
“We are excited for this new venture with Caesars Entertainment and the enhancements it provides to our tribal enterprise,” Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said in a statement. “We look forward to the continued opportunities that will benefit the future of our membership.”
The mobile betting agreement builds on a partnership that has “spanned more than two decades,” according to Eric Hession, president of Caesars Digital. The entertainment company began offering sports betting in the 1990s at the Eastern Band’s gaming facilities: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, N.C., and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in Murphy.
“Expanding this long standing partnership allows us to build on the premier sports wagering experience enjoyed at our in-person sportsbooks by bringing a responsible way to enjoy sports at a deeper level to the hands of North Carolinians 21 and older across the state,” Hession said in a statement.
North Carolina stands on the cusp of opening its doors to online betting, which has historically led to explosive market growth for gaming markets where the practice is legal, per prior Tribal Business News reporting. In many cases, new revenues measure in the billions.
So far, a report by Sportsbook Review lists the Eastern Band of Cherokee as the sole tribal online betting partner in the state, next to non-tribal partners including the Charlotte Hornets NBA basketball team’s partnership with bet365, and NASCAR partnering with DraftKings.