Recently, Gov. Cooper signed HB 347 into law, paving the way for the complete legalization of online sports betting in 2024. It remains unlikely that legal proceedings will be completed by January. Instead, industry sources predict North Carolina online betting will fully live in the basketball-loving state by March Madness.
Recently, the licensing page on the North Carolina State Lottery Commission’s website went live, allowing sports betting operators to apply for a license to operate in the state. The application process is currently underway, and the last date to apply is Dec. 27. As per the commission, it will take roughly 60 days to carry out background checks and approve licenses for each applicant.
To speed up the process of handling hundreds of applications simultaneously, North Carolina regulators have issued a series of guidelines to streamline the licensing process. Here is a glimpse of the guidelines that operators are recommended to follow:
- Operators need to obtain a ‘written designation agreement.’ Unique to North Carolina sports betting law, these private business agreements need to be established between an operator and sports team, league, or venue prior to the submission of a licensing application.
- The commission has requested operators to submit their applications so that they can begin background checks as early as possible.
- Operators must demonstrate the presence of internal control systems to protect bettors and comply with the rules.
- Demonstrate the establishment of a responsible gaming program.
- Applications must also complete internal control checks and obtain testing certification from an unaffiliated third party.
When the bill was signed into law, the original date for the start of sports betting in the state was fixed for Jan. 8, 2024. The commission has yet to approve a revised set of sports wagering rules drafted by the committee, with the next meeting to discuss these rules set to take place on Dec. 6, 2023.
While state bettors eagerly await the launch of online sports betting in North Carolina, wagering has been legal in North Carolina since 2019 — although it was limited to in-person wagers at the state’s three tribal casinos. At the end of the upcoming licensing process, the state expects to issue as many as 12 licenses. The state’s sports venues, including the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of American Stadium, the Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Center, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be allowed to accept wagers at retail sportsbooks located on-site.
The lottery commission chairman recently acknowledged that North Carolina residents will not be able to wager on the Super Bowl in 2023. While he refrained from providing further indication of launch readiness, the law explicitly states that sports betting needs to be ready by June 15, 2024.
North Carolina Sports Betting Licensing Fee
To operate in the state, operators will have to apply for the Interactive Sports Wagering Operator license, one of the three license types offered by the North Carolina State Lottery Commission. This license comes with a substantial fee of $1 million and is valid for a period of five years. One of the other two license categories includes Service Provider Licenses, which apply to services that create sports wagering markets. The licensing fee for the Service Provider License is fixed at $50,000.
Lastly, the third form of license available is the Supplier License, which applies to entities that provide services, goods, software, or other auxiliary services to support the creation of sports wagering markets. The fee for the Supplier License is fixed at $30,000.
Agreements With Teams and Venues
North Carolina sports teams lobbied the state legislature ahead of the sports betting law’s passage to secure a share of the revenues generated by sportsbooks. Despite the stipulation for sportsbooks to enter into agreements with venues, sportsbooks will still be prohibited from becoming the primary sponsor of arenas or stadiums.
The new law places prominence on retail betting at sports venues, treating it on par with mobile/online sports betting. Accordingly, professional sports venues in the state will be allowed to host retail sportsbooks. Apart from the permanent venues, temporary sportsbooks will be allowed to operate at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during NASCAR races and at the Sedgefield Country Club and Quail Hollow Club during the PGA tour.