The North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC) has confirmed that sports betting won’t go live on Jan. 8, 2024, the date it becomes legal under state law. During a Nov. 14 meeting, Commissioner Ripley Rand said that a Jan. 8 launch had become a practical impossibility due to the amount of work needed. Commissioner Cari Boyce added that completing the job would take “almost daily meetings” if the NCLC were committed to that timeline.
North Carolina approved sports betting in June this year. Under the provisions of the law, the regulator has up to one year to wave the green flag, with the latest possible launch date being June 15, 2024. There was initially some hope that it would do so closer to Jan. 8, which marks the opening of the launch window. However, the state hasn’t moved as fast as bettors might have hoped.
An essential early step in the process didn’t happen until Sep. 27. That was the establishment by the NCLC of a three-person Sports Betting Committee (SBC) to create the administrative rules for sports betting and oversee the licensing process.
During the Nov. 14 meeting, Sterl Carpenter, NCLC’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting and member of SBC, shared with commissioners the scope of work that needed to be done. That included receiving operator applications and investigating them before approving them.
NCLC Approves First Set of Rules
While the launch date of sports betting in North Carolina has yet to be determined, the commission took a step forward at the following meeting on Nov. 16. During the virtual meeting, the NCLC approved the first set of rules, including how operators can advertise to users.
The commission also approved the wagering catalog, which includes types of bets operators can take and sports they can offer. Aside from popular sports like football and basketball, users in the state can place bets on over 40 sports, including some less common ones:
- Disc golf
- Pesapallo (the baseball-like national sport of Finland)
- Jai Alai
As part of the next steps in the process, the NCLC has scheduled a public meeting on Nov. 20 regarding the second batch of rules. These will include those related to responsible gaming. The public has until Nov. 27 to comment, and the commission meets again on Dec. 6 to review any recommendations.
DFS Props-Style Bets To Stay for Now
The Nov. 16 meeting also touched on daily fantasy sports (DFS). The NCLC stated that it wants to focus on the sports betting launch and recommended removing the definition of DFS from the rules. Under the proposed regulations, DFS prop-style bets, also known as pick ’em, would have been illegal.
In addition to focusing on the sports betting launch, the commission cited public disagreement on DFS rules as another reason for its decision. Commission staff said it would monitor developments from other states and any regulatory changes. It will then return and decide on props-style DFS rules. Any decisions will be made after sports betting is live in the state.
DFS props-style bets have received considerable attention recently, and multiple state regulators are investigating them. As a result, some states—like Michigan, Maryland, and New York—have banned picks-style DFS, while others, including Florida, Ohio, and Wyoming, are investigating the matter.