Online NC sports betting rules are in their final stretch as regulators push toward a launch in spring 2024.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission’s Sports Betting Advisory Committee approved a second set of online NC sports betting rules Wednesday, slightly altering their language. The full commission meets next week and likely will finalize sports betting rules. The committee also learned 11 operators requested applications for the market so far.
There was no timeline update on when sports betting in North Carolina might launch. Previously, regulators ruled out a debut on January 8, the earliest possible date, dimming hopes for a rollout in time for Super Bowl betting. According to NC sports betting law, sportsbooks must be live by June 14, 2024.
Changes to NC sports betting rules
The public comment period for the set of rules closed November 27. NC Lottery staff received more than 120 comments from 15 organizations and three members of the public.
Most of the changes were minor, including that operator agreements with sports organizations cannot be released during disciplinary hearings. The committee also deleted a proposed rule prohibiting sportsbook operators from securing stadium naming rights and marketing.
Additionally, they loosened advertising restrictions to allow more flexibility in delivering messages on problem gambling. The committee also said operators can work with marketing affiliates but cannot compensate the partners based on net sports wagering revenue.
North Carolina application updates
The NC Lottery opened the application period Friday.
NC Lottery has received 11 requests for operator licenses, according to an update from Sterl Carpenter, NC Lottery deputy director of sports betting.
Operators must submit applications by December 27. Around that time, the NC Lottery could announce a start date, according to previous comments from Carpenter.
NC sports betting dominoes falling
Operators are required to secure a written partnership agreement with a professional sports organization to apply for a license, following a last-minute change in the previously signed, settled law earlier this year.
This week, Penn Entertainment and its ESPN Bet announced its access partner, Quail Hollow Club and the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship, while FanDuel partnered with the PGA Tour. Last month, Bet365 Sports and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets unveiled their partnership.
There are at least eight other partners available for sports betting operators.
Speeding up for NC sports betting
Gov. Roy Cooper signed sports betting into law in June, with a regulatory process that took time to develop before legislators unexpectedly altered the sports betting law in September to require the written designations with professional sports organizations.
Carpenter was hired in July, but regulators completed little until September’s legislative change. Since then, regulators have met regularly to push for the launch early next year.
There are already three tribal casinos in North Carolina with in-person sportsbooks.