The NC sports betting push to launch in January has a leader.
The North Carolina Education Lottery announced last week it hired Sterl Carpenter as its deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting. Carpenter begins his stint Wednesday and is tasked with building a new department within the North Carolina State Lottery Commission.
“After an extensive search, we have selected an experienced professional to serve in the newly-created role,” Education Lottery Executive Director Mark Michalko said in a statement. “Carpenter has experience in all aspects of regulations and licensing as well as compliance. We’re pleased to have someone with Carpenter’s experience and expertise leading this new gaming program in our state.”
The earliest NC sports betting can begin is Jan. 8, 2024. A spokesperson for the Education Lottery previously told LSR it would aim to launch as early as possible, and the law dictates a launch must occur before June 14, 2024.
Bringing experience to NC sports betting
Carpenter goes to North Carolina after spending eight years with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. He has more than 30 years of experience, including 23 years at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, according to Carpenter’s LinkedIn.
Most recently in Massachusetts, he served as the sports wagering operations manager. Massachusetts sports betting launched in January. Before the sports betting role, Carpenter was a regulatory compliance manager.
Carpenter will develop, implement and manage compliance for the regulated sports betting industry.
North Carolina moving forward, slowly
Gov. Roy Cooper signed sports betting into law in June. Unlike Kentucky, which also passed sports betting legislation this year, North Carolina will miss the NFL betting season, as it develops the framework for the industry.
In June, the Education Lottery also released its plans to roll out sports betting. Tops on the to-do list was hiring an “experienced senior leader in gaming and sports betting.”
Now with Carpenter in place, the Education Lottery will build a sports betting staff.
Not too slow for NC sports betting
While the sports betting market will not explode into activity as quickly as markets like Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas, it also will not take as long as others. Those three states were able to launch less than five months after bill signings, in part because their gaming regulators already oversaw robust casino or racing industries.
The path to NC sports betting rollout, however, is unlikely to take as long as it has in Maine, which could go live around the same time despite Gov. Janet Mills signing it into law last spring. North Carolina will also likely be quicker than Ohio, which took just over a year to implement the regulations.
Along with sports betting, the legislation passed this spring also legalizes online horse betting in the state.
Sports betting details in North Carolina
North Carolina will have up to 12 online sportsbooks when the industry launches next year. Eight professional sports organizations can also open in-person sportsbooks at their facilities.
The state will tax sports betting revenue at 18%.
Three in-person sportsbooks already are open at tribal casinos in North Carolina after legislators passed legislation in 2020.