After the legalization of sports betting in North Carolina earlier this year, there were high expectations for a quick launch. However, recent updates indicate that the state is not yet ready to take this significant step. The implementation of the necessary regulatory processes is proving to be challenging and time-consuming, so the North Carolina government is prioritizing ensuring all measures are in place.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission, responsible for establishing the state’s sports betting, recently announced that the program won’t be operational by the previously targeted 8 January deadline. Sterl Carpenter, deputy executive director for gaming compliance, explained that several steps remain before betting can commence. The Commission believes these are crucial in ensuring customer safety and operator accountability.
While the Commission plans to adopt initial sports betting rules and a wagering catalog this week, more steps are required before wagering can begin. These include approving further regulations following public input, conducting background checks on applicants, setting up internal controls, and ensuring responsible gaming measures.
“Until the rulemaking and licensing are completed, a ‘go live’ date for sports betting can’t be scheduled,” said Van Denton, the North Carolina Lottery director of communications.
North Carolina’s sports betting legislation permits in-venue sportsbooks at four professional stadiums and temporary sportsbooks during specific events hosted at designated venues. While these measures are relatively conservative compared to other states, the launch of sports betting in the Tar Heel State remains highly anticipated by industry stakeholders and the general public.
A January 2023 Launch Was Highly Likely
While the recently announced delay may be disappointing to some, mid-2024 was always the North Carolina Lottery Commission’s original target for launching mobile sports betting. The state modeled its regulatory model after Massachusetts’, onboarding ex-senior regulator Sterl Carpenter as head of its gaming compliance and sports betting division. North Carolina lawmakers announced they were on track and expected no significant delays.
“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 15 June deadline,” said Van Denton, the North Carolina Lottery director of communications.
North Carolina is well underway to becoming a leading US gambling destination. The state plans to augment the upcoming sports betting launch with a casino expansion, hoping to legalize four new venues through the state budget. Although these measures have faced some resistance, they highlight North Carolina’s focus on expanding its gambling options.
While the lack of an immediate sports betting launch may disappoint some, the North Carolina Lottery Commission remains committed to ensuring a successful and appropriate launch as soon as feasible within the regulatory guidelines set forth by the law. Rushing out such a contentious measure could cause significant issues, motivating the state’s desire to take its time.