NC Sports Betting Regulators Remove DFS Ban, Push Off January Launch

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NC sports betting

North Carolina regulators delayed a proposed daily fantasy sports pick’em ban for later consideration as they advanced a set of NC sports betting rules Tuesday and sought to expedite the online launch.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission’s Sports Betting Advisory Committee approved an initial set of online NC sports betting regulations Tuesday. The full NC Lottery Commission will vote on the draft Thursday.

Following pushback from DFS industry stakeholders, the committee temporarily removed a ban on DFS pick’em contests and explained the regulatory agency would monitor the issue. Another set of more detailed rules is in a public comment period, set to end November 27.

North Carolina launch update

NC sports betting law, signed by Gov. Roy Cooper in June, requires an industry start between January 8, 2024, and June 14, 2024. NC Lottery staff members recommended the removal of the DFS language to help streamline the rulemaking process to meet the deadline.

However, Commissioner Cari Boyce said a launch at the beginning of the window would take “daily meetings,” and the next scheduled committee meeting is December 6. NC Lottery Deputy Director of Sports Betting Sterl Carpenter confirmed to the committee a launch would not occur January 8.

The process was set back when legislators unexpectedly altered the online sports betting law in September. Carpenter outlined the steps ahead, which include full approval of rules and operator applications and investigations.

DFS pick’em rule situation explained

The DFS inclusion was the most notable piece of the first draft of rules, as state regulators nationwide are increasing scrutiny of DFS pick’em games. During a public hearing last month, two DFS industry attorneys were the only speakers during a public hearing on the regulations.

The removal of the DFS section takes out a definition of five types of contests deemed not DFS, including those “based on proposition wagering or contests that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking proposition wagering or other forms of sports wagering.”

Several smaller sports betting operators asked for the removal of a tethering requirement for a license. The committee denied those requests, as the legal change in September requires sportsbook operators to partner with a professional sports organization to obtain a license.

NC sports betting still in process

The advisory committee will host a public hearing November 20 for the second set of rules. After the public comment period closes November 27, the committee will likely hold a final vote on those regulations in December.

A draft of sports betting applications will follow. At Tuesday’s meeting, Carpenter unveiled an expansive betting catalog of events, and the commission approved it.

Carpenter also introduced, an informational website.