North Carolina sports betting will not launch on Jan. 8, according to lottery commissioners who spoke during a sports wagering committee meeting Tuesday morning.
The announcement is not a surprise. Rather, it’s official confirmation of what’s been hinted at during previous North Carolina State Lottery Commission meetings. House Bill 347, which became law in June, set that date as the earliest any sports betting rules and licenses could take effect. The law gives the commission until June 14, 2024, to have North Carolina sports betting apps and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks up and running.
Commission Chair Ripley Rand said licensed operators will not be allowed to take bets until all the rules have been enacted, operators submit applications and the commission approves qualified applicants. He then added that a Jan. 8 launch “will not necessarily or probably won’t” happen, given the remaining work. Commissioner Cari Boyce, who chairs the sports betting committee, confirmed that sentiment. “Otherwise, we would be probably meeting daily instead of weekly to get all that done,” she said.
After some amendments to the initially recommended rules, the committee on Tuesday approved sending them to the full commission, which will meet to review them on Thursday.
Partnership Provision Questioned
After releasing a draft of the initial North Carolina sports betting rules, the lottery commission received comments at an Oct. 27 public hearing and online via email or the commission’s webpage. Several comments focused on the designated agreement language lawmakers inserted into the state budget, which was approved several months after HB 347 became law.
“Unfortunately, due to the statute, we are not able to do that,” North Carolina Lottery Chief Legal Officer Billy Traurig told the committee.
The provision requires interested operators to have a partnership with an in-state major professional sports team, a certain venue, the PGA Tour or NASCAR to qualify for a license. Smaller operators claim that would put them at a disadvantage to gain access in North Carolina.
Sporttrade Founder and CEO Alex Kane posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) after the meeting that the committee chose to pull proposed regulations regarding fantasy sports restrictions from its recommended rules.
Kane questioned how that provision helps the state or interested bettors.
“In other words, the regulators are not the first to decide who gets to operate in North Carolina, leagues/teams are,” he posted.
Sports Betting Catalog in Development
North Carolina regulators also unveiled how they plan to review and approve events for wagering in the state. Such events will be listed in an online catalog that will be searchable for the public.
Operators and other interested parties will be allowed to request events for wagering.
“If the petitioner was not a licensed operator in the state, they would have to get a sponsor from one of these approved operators,” Deputy Executive Director for Gaming Compliance and Sports Betting Sterl Carpenter told the committee.
The committee also unveiled a new website, NCGaming.gov, that will allow the public to keep track of the rule-making progress, submit comments and receive the latest news.
Stay tuned to BetCarolina.com for developments on the road to the launch of sports betting in the state as well as for North Carolina sportsbook promos.