Beyond Historic Sites: Exploring North Carolina’s Diverse Gaming Options and Activities

North Carolina is gradually making a name for itself in the gaming sector as it has expanded beyond traditional gaming to encompass a wide range of betting and gambling activities. Recent legislative successes have provided the circumstances for a more robust gaming environment, aiming to increase state revenues and prevent gambling funds from fleeing the state for neighboring states, creating diverse gaming options.

The Expansion of Casino Gaming

One of the biggest developments in North Carolina’s casino sector is the expansion of tribal casinos, which boost local economies and offer more gaming options. For example, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino is undergoing a substantial $275 million expansion scheduled for completion in 2024. It includes adding 25,000 square feet of gaming space, 300 new slot machines, and more table games. A noteworthy aspect of this expansion is the introduction of a World Series of Poker room, which aims to position this venue as a new competitive hub for poker enthusiasts​.

The expansion plans also extend to accommodations and amenities, with the construction of a new hotel tower that will add 296 rooms, enhancing guest capacity significantly. These developments will include a rooftop restaurant offering panoramic views of the North Carolina mountain ranges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a full-service spa and salon​.

The economic impact of this expansion is projected to be substantial. It promises to inject approximately $35 million into the local economy and create over 900 jobs during construction, with additional staff required once the expansion is completed​.

These upgrades aim to improve gaming and leisure experiences and boost the local economy through the creation of jobs and more tourists. With the growth of North Carolina’s casino sector, these initiatives are expected to draw more visitors from inside the state and from neighboring locations where there might not be as many casino gaming opportunities.​

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The Rise of Sports Betting

North Carolina’s gambling choices have changed since the state legalized sports betting in 2023. This has enabled both locals and tourists to partake in both online and in-person sports betting. Thanks to this progression, sports bettors can now wager on various sports in physical venues around the state as well as through mobile applications and websites.

The official rollout of mobile sports betting began on March 11, 2024, coinciding with major sports events like March Madness, thus catering to a surge in betting activity. As a result, prominent betting platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, among others, have become accessible, offering competitive bonuses and promotions to attract new users​.

Retail sports betting has also been included within the state’s tribal casinos, including locations such as Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, where sports enthusiasts can engage in live betting experiences. These venues provide a comprehensive array of sportsbook services under the regulation of the state, ensuring a secure and fair betting environment​.

Moreover, the state has facilitated partnerships between North Carolina betting sites and local sports teams and venues, enhancing the community connection and providing fans with special betting opportunities linked to local sports events. This strategy not only boosts engagement but also supports local economies.

North Carolina’s approach to sports betting includes rigorous regulatory measures to ensure responsible gambling practices are upheld. The state offers resources and support for those seeking assistance and emphasizes the importance of betting as a form of entertainment without adverse consequences, advocating for responsible gambling habits among its participants​.

Gaming Conventions and eSports

North Carolina’s vibrant gaming culture is prominently showcased through various conventions and eSports events, reflecting the state’s commitment to becoming a key player in the gaming and eSports industries. The state hosts several major gaming conventions, such as the Playthrough Gaming Convention in Raleigh and Mythic Con in Charlotte. These events feature diverse activities, including gaming tournaments, panels, cosplay competitions, and more, catering to a wide audience ranging from casual gamers to industry professionals.

Additionally, North Carolina is establishing itself as an eSports hub, highlighted by the presence of several significant eSports events and extensive community engagement initiatives. For instance, the East Coast Game Conference is a major event that returns annually to Raleigh, offering keynote speeches and panels from leading industry figures. This conference and others like the Carolina Games Summit provide crucial networking opportunities and showcase the latest trends and innovations in the gaming industry.

Its educational initiatives and infrastructure developments further evidence the state’s investment in eSports. Universities such as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina State University include eSports in their curriculum and campus activities, including building dedicated arenas and offering programs that prepare students for careers in this fast-growing field. Such efforts are supported by state incentives such as a 25% rebate on qualifying eSports expenses, underlining North Carolina’s strategic approach to fostering a thriving eSports gaming options ecosystem​.

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Economic Impact

In North Carolina, the gambling industry contributes to the state’s economy by bringing in large sums of money, providing employment for thousands of people, and promoting growth in a number of industries.

The presence of tribal casinos, notably managed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Catawba Indian Nation, is a primary factor. These establishments alone have an economic impact of approximately $2.65 billion and support over 15,000 jobs. A considerable portion of their revenue is shared with the state, enhancing educational and community funding​.

Beyond traditional gaming, North Carolina’s video game industry also plays a crucial role in the state’s economic landscape. Home to major players like Epic Games, NVIDIA, and Ubisoft, the video game sector supports nearly 7,500 jobs and drives over $1.25 billion in economic output.

Conclusion

North Carolina is committed to establishing a regulated environment that is advantageous to all parties involved, even as it adjusts to the gaming industry’s shifting dynamics. The state is eager to take advantage of the benefits of its gaming sector, from increased entertainment gaming options to economic improvements, while also tackling any obstacles that may emerge.

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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