The legalization of sports betting in North Carolina earlier this year had set the stage for wagers to be placed in time for the college football national championship on January 8. However, regulators have announced that the sports betting program will not be online by then, with the possibility of it being available as late as June 15.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission is responsible for developing new regulations for sports betting. During a meeting on Tuesday, regulators informed the commission’s sports betting committee that they would not be able to meet the January 8 launch date. Sterl Carptenter, North Carolina’s deputy executive director for gaming compliance, highlighted that there are numerous steps that need to be taken before North Carolinians can start placing their bets.
Commissioner Ripley Rand asked Carpenter if betting would be authorized by January 8, to which Carpenter responded, “Absolutely correct.” Commissioner Cari Boyce also expressed concern, stating that the commission would have to meet daily in order to get sports betting online as soon as envisioned under the law.
The commission is taking steps to bring sports betting closer to reality, including plans to meet to adopt its first set of sports betting rules and a sports wagering catalog. The draft sports wagering catalog includes dozens of professional, collegiate, and international competitions across 45 different events. North Carolina has also launched a new website, ncgaming.gov, to provide updates on the rulemaking and licensing process.
Before sports betting can begin, additional steps are needed. Regulators will have to approve additional rules, proceed with an application and licensing process, conduct background checks on key applicants and personnel, and oversee sportsbooks programs. Sportsbook operators will be required to enter into designation agreements with a sports team or governing body and will only be authorized to operate in that team’s facility.
The sports betting law authorizes in-venue sportsbooks at four professional stadiums and allows temporary sportsbooks to open during events hosted at other venues. Van Denton, director of communications for the North Carolina Lottery, stated that no start of sports betting is anticipated by January 8, 2024, the earliest date allowed under law, but the commission remains committed to ensuring that sports betting gets up and running as soon as possible, and is on track to achieve that ahead of the June 15 deadline.