Despite recent changes to online NC sports betting law, its top regulator promises efforts to launch before the June 2024 deadline.
The North Carolina Education Lottery will continue to work toward having online NC sports betting live by June 14, 2024, according to a lottery commission meeting update Wednesday from Sterl Carpenter, deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting at the agency. Gov. Roy Cooper signed sports betting into law in June, which requires a launch between Jan. 8, 2024, and June 14.
Carpenter’s comments come after legislators adjusted NC sports betting law’s licensing framework in the state’s budget. The commission also took several small steps forward in setting up the industry.
What could delay North Carolina launch?
Before the recent budget changes, North Carolina regulators promised to go live with sports betting as close to the Jan. 8 date as possible.
Last week, an industry source told LSR the changes have the lottery thrown off course. The agency might have to redo some work already completed because of the change in licensing structure.
The new framework also might create additional steps for licensing throughout the regulatory process, which would take longer than previously thought.
What next for NC sports betting?
During Wednesday’s meeting, the lottery commission created an internal sports betting committee. Commissioners also approved a rule-making policy for sports betting.
Commission Chair Ripley Rand and commissioners Cari Boyce and Pamela Whitaker make up the committee.
The commission plans for meetings in October and November to work on sports betting.
North Carolina regulators decline bid
The commission declined to award a contract Wednesday for an automated regulatory system to accept and review operator applications.
There were four bidders for the system. The evaluation committee decided no applicant provided the value sought, and it was in the best interest to move forward without a partner.
The lottery staff will instead accept and review applications without an automated system.
NC sports betting framework adjusted
In the initial NC sports betting law, the state capped the market at 12 non-tethered sports betting licenses. In the $30 billion budget, lawmakers amended the law’s language to tie licenses to partnerships with professional sports teams, venues and governing bodies.
There are 11 organizations that qualify for licenses:
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Carolina Panthers
- Charlotte FC
- Charlotte Hornets
- NC Courage
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- North Wilkesboro Speedway
- Sedgefield Country Club
- Quail Hollow Country Club
- PGA Tour
Sports expansions in North Carolina could add qualifying licensees and open the door for more operators. There are also three in-person sportsbooks open at tribal casinos in North Carolina.
NC sports betting process slowly going forward
Following Cooper’s signature in June, the lottery laid out the to-do list to get sports betting off the ground.
The lottery then hired Carpenter in August to lead the sports betting effort. The lottery hired Gaming Laboratories International to assist in the regulatory process.