North Carolina Believes Mobile Sports Betting Launch Will Happen by June

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A general view of the stadium in the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP

North Carolina is one of the next states to climb aboard the sports betting bandwagon, and it will likely occur by the self-imposed June deadline. Also, a new sports betting committee was formed in the last meeting to move things along.

First Half of ‘24

The deadline for the launch of sports betting in North Carolina is June 2024, but that would mean missing several major events like the Super Bowl and March Madness to name a notable few.

Therefore, the goal is to be up and running long before the deadline, and it appears as though the North Carolina State Lottery Commission (NCSLC) is motivated to do just that. Sterl Carpenter, the commission’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting, has expressed a desire to bring sports betting to North Carolinians and said, “We will get sports betting and parimutuel wagering up and running before the deadline.”

The NCSLC met last week and poured the foundation for what will be the rules and regulations for sports betting in North Carolina. They also formed a sports betting committee, which consists of commissioners Cari Boyce, Pamela Whitaker, and NCSLC Chairman Ripley Rand.

“We’ve determined that putting an individual committee to deal with sports betting issues that don’t fit neatly into the other committees… is an effective way to move things forward with sports betting,” Rand said.

Electronic Application Process Vendors Disappoint

Cari Boyce will chair the newly formed sports betting committee, which will work through the policies and procedures that will ultimately be implemented for mobile wagering in the state, while also fielding applications from the online sports betting platforms.

As to how the committee will receive those applications, it is still up in the air after four companies presented proposals to the committee for their electronic portals to facilitate the sportsbooks’ applications.

Unfortunately, none of those submissions proved to be acceptable and Sterl Carpenter stated, “Therefore, the evaluation committee recommended, and the executive director agreed, that it is in the best interest of the commission and the state not to award a contract at this time.”

Unexpected Changes

One other unusual turn of events that cropped up was an eleventh-hour change in the sports betting legislation that was buried in the final draft of the state budget. The previous version didn’t mandate that those online sportsbooks that were accepted to do business in North Carolina had to partner with a professional franchise or sports venue.

However, that was abruptly changed to requiring all North Carolina online sportsbooks to partner with one of the pro sports or sports facilities within the state. Moreover, the previous bill had the number of online sportsbooks capped at a dozen, but now there is no maximum number of books that can service the market.

While these changes don’t appear to be earth-shattering, they certainly change the game when it comes to the smaller books being able to compete. The profit margin changes substantially as some of the partners demand up to 70% of the revenue, which would make doing business in North Carolina untenable for the smaller books trying to gain a foothold in the marketplace.

As of this writing, it appears as though a January launch is not out of the question, but the new wrinkle in the bill only favors the industry giants and will likely preclude some of the lesser-known books from even applying for a license to accept sports bets in the Tar Heel State.