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Off-track betting in North Carolina

On this page, you will learn everything you should know about off-track betting in North Carolina, including where you can participate, what off-track betting (OTB) is, how to get involved, and much more.

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Unlike other states, many of which surround the Tarheel State, there are no independent off-track betting facilities in North Carolina. There is, however, off-track betting offered at the state’s three Tribal Casinos located throughout North Carolina. 

Also known as pari-mutuel wagering, off-track betting allows bettors to wager on horse races happening throughout the country. Once you place your bet (more on that, below), you can then watch the race on a closed-circuit television known as the OTB’s simulcast. Despite there being no active horse race tracks in the state, off-track betting in North Carolina is a popular form of gambling that rivals only casinos in the state.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about off-track betting in North Carolina, including where and how you can get involved.

Off-track betting locations in North Carolina


There are three off-track betting locations in North Carolina where residents (and visitors) can participate in horse betting throughout the year. Below is where you can find each of them.

OTB

Address

Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel & Casino

777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC 28719

Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel

777 Casino Parkway, Murphy, NC 28906

Catawba Two Kings Casino

538 Kings Mountain Blvd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086

What is off-track betting and how does it work?

Known as pari-mutuel wagering, off-track betting is a facility in which bettors can place wagers on horse races happening throughout the country. In some states, off-track betting facilities are independent locations, often at bars or restaurants, or are located at active horse race tracks. Off-track betting facilities in North Carolina, however, are exclusively located at one of the state’s three Tribal Casinos. 

Once you place your bet at the OTB, you can then watch the races unfold on one of the dozens of closed-circuit televisions in the facility known as the simulcast section. Off-track betting facilities make their money by taking a small commission, known as the takeout, from each wager placed. In addition to paying for the administration of the OTB, including the staff needed to operate them, the OTB also uses these commissions to make a small profit.

How could I place a wager at OTB locations in North Carolina?

For residents (and visitors), placing a wager at OTB locations in North Carolina might seem like a complicated task. It is not, however, as we here at Betting NC have you covered on how you could place a wager at an OTB location in North Carolina today. Using the increasingly popular self-serving kiosks, let’s dive into what to expect in placing your first OTB wager today.

  1. Find the OTB: When visiting one of the three Tribal Casinos in North Carolina, Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort, or Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort, you’ll have to locate the OTB. Typical located just off the casino floor, this is where the horse betting is done and where you’ll need to start.
  2. Research Your Wager: Each off-track betting location in North Carolina will offer tip sheets, typically less than $15, that contain information on each of the day’s races. This will include data on each of the races, including jockey history, horse records, and trainer information on each of them. Using either these or your own online research, try to make an educated decision on the wager you’re about to place.
  3. Prepare Your Wager: With your research complete, note down the track name, race number, and horse number (posting number) of the wager you are about to place. You’ll also want to know the type of wager, whether it be a win/show/place or exotic, that you are getting ready to place. With this information in tow, approach one of the self-serving kiosks located on the main floor of the off-track betting location.
  4. Place Your Wager: When you approach the kiosk, you’ll first have to deposit cash into the machine, typically a minimum of $5. From here, follow the prompts on the touch screen which are intuitive enough for a first-time bettor to follow. You’ll need to enter all of the information you prepared in step #3 before reviewing your bet and printing your bet slip.
  5. Collect Your Winnings: With your bet slip in hand, which contains all of your wager’s information, watch the race on one of the closed-circuit televisions at the OTB which will be simulcasting all of the day’s races. If it’s a winner, head back to the machine to receive a voucher with your winnings on it. From here, all that is left is to head to the OTB’s cashier, who will give you cash in exchange for your voucher.

Expert tips when off-track betting in North Carolina

If it’s your first time visiting an off-track betting location in North Carolina, you might be wondering what else to think about. Based on nearly two decades of OTB experience, below are some expert tips when off-track betting in North Carolina.

  • Monitor Weather: With the horse races you are wagering about being located throughout the country, the weather will likely not be the same as it is in North Carolina. Look into the weather forecast of where the race is, and then dive deeper into how the horses involved perform in different types of weather.
  • Successful Trainers: The more you bet on horses, the more you will notice that certain trainers often have all of the success. Pay attention to which trainers train each of the horses involved, and you’ll often find the same ones win over and over. Take advantage of this information when researching and preparing for your bet.
  • Bet Favorites: Just like in sports betting, the horses favored to win often do. While it might be tempting to bet on longshots due to the higher payouts, lean more toward the favorites and instead find creative ways to bet them (vs. other horses).

FAQ

What types of bets can I place at OTB locations?

There are many types of bets you can place at OTB locations including, win, place, show, Exactas, Trifectas, Superfectas, Quinellas, and Boxing.

Are there any age restrictions for participating in off-track betting in North Carolina?

Yes, there are age restrictions for participating in off-track betting in North Carolina, with the minimum age being 18 years of age or older.

What are the operating hours of OTB locations in North Carolina?

Unlike the casinos in which they are located, OTB locations in North Carolina do have operating hours. While they vary by location, they are typically open from approximately 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM, seven days a week.

Are there any special promotions or events at OTB facilities?

While there are rarely, if ever, special promotions or events at OTB facilities in North Carolina, there are reward programs to consider. Harrah’s Cherokee Resort and Casino, for example, has the Caesars Rewards program which includes wagers made at their OTB.

Can I watch live horse racing broadcasts at OTB locations?

Yes, you can watch live horse racing broadcasts at OTB locations in North Carolina during their operating hours. With no horse race tracks in North Carolina available for betting, all of the live horse racing broadcasts at OTB locations in the states will be races happening in other states throughout the country.

Do I need to pay an admission fee to enter an OTB facility?

No, you do not need to pay an admission fee to enter an OTB facility in North Carolina.