The North Carolina Lottery Commission on Wednesday agreed to form a new committee that will help it oversee the new era of North Carolina sports betting. It’s the first of what will likely be several steps the agency takes in preparing for the start of statewide wagering next year. Commissioners unanimously approved the charter for the Sports Betting Committee, which will be led by Commissioner Cari Boyce. It will handle all matters related to sports betting, except for those the entire commission takes up on an emergency basis, Chairman Ripley Rand said during the meeting.
“We’ve determined that putting an individual committee to deal with sports betting issues that don’t fit neatly into the other committees - Revenue Generating, Operations and Personnel, and Finance and Audit - is an effective way to move things forward with sports betting in a more focused way,” Rand explained.
Other states have created similar workgroups to help their regulatory bodies manage the launch of sports betting. Kentucky’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council has met twice to recommend approving sporting leagues and events for the state’s wagering catalog.
Budget Changes North Carolina Sports Betting Law
The commission was charged with becoming the regulatory agency for sports betting when the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 347 in June, the measure that expands sports betting in the state beyond just sportsbooks at tribal casinos and authorizes NC sports betting apps.
While HB347 was signed into law three months ago, it underwent some substantial changes earlier this month when lawmakers approved a new two-year budget. The spending bill revised the licensing process to require an online operator partner with an in-state major professional sports team, a golf course that holds an annual professional tournament or an auto track that hosts a NASCAR race.
The new state law gave the lottery a window between Jan. 8 to June 14 of next year to set up the regulations, license operators and allow them to start taking bets. While the exact launch date remains unknown, the commission expects to hold special meetings in the coming weeks to help prepare for that rollout.
Budget Also Targets Online Lottery
Not everything commissioners discussed Wednesday dealt with sports betting. They also received an update on the lottery’s online plans.
The state budget bill also included language that addressed what kinds of games the lottery could offer online. Lottery Director of Governmental Affairs Hayden Bauguess told commissioners that measure was inserted to prevent the lottery from offering iGaming, or online casino-style games. It doesn’t, however, preclude the lottery from offering instant-win games online.
The lottery expects to start offering those digital games later this year.