As the application deadline draws near, more operators are expressing interest in North Carolina sports betting licenses.
At Wednesday’s North Carolina State Lottery Commission meeting, Sterl Carpenter, the deputy executive director for gaming compliance and sports wagering, said staffers have received 14 requests from sports betting operators. Last week, Carpenter told the commission’s Sports Betting Committee that 11 requests had been made.
Operators interested in a license must apply by Dec. 27 if they wish to start taking wagers on the first day sports betting and NC betting apps are authorized. That date has not yet been set, although lottery officials said they expect to make an announcement on that soon.
Also on Wednesday, the commission approved the second package of rules the lottery will use to license and regulate sports betting operators in the state. Those rules and the tranche passed last month can go into effect on Jan. 8.
Limited Number Of Licenses Available
The lottery has not revealed which operators have expressed interest in an application. However, three have already announced their intentions through partnership announcements. More are expected to be revealed soon.
The partnership announcements are required thanks to a provision North Carolina state lawmakers inserted into the budget in September, three months after passing House Bill 347, which legalized sports betting. For the lottery to consider an applicant for a license, the operator must secure a partnership with a local major professional sports team, a golf course hosting a PGA Tour annual event, a track hosting an annual NASCAR race, the PGA Tour or NASCAR.
Bet365 was the first to announce a partnership, signing with the Charlotte Hornets. ESPN BET North Carolina paired up with Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club, which hosts the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship. Last week, FanDuel and the PGA Tour inked a deal.
Based on the language in the budget amendment, 11 teams, venues, or professional sports organizing bodies would be eligible to partner with a sports betting operator. The partnerships will also allow for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
HB 347 also included a provision for the state’s two tribal casino operators, which already host sportsbooks at their venues. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has two Harrah’s casinos on its tribal land in the western part of the state. The Catawba Nation operates a casino in Kings Mountain, about 30 miles west of Charlotte.
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