Published: November 18, 2023

North Carolina: Lottery Commission approves mobile sports betting rules; launch date still uncertain

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has officially approved a set of regulations for mobile sports betting, though the commencement date for wagering activities remains undisclosed. Officials have confirmed that betting will not commence on the earliest possible date of January 8, as acknowledged earlier this week. The legal deadline for the launch is June 15.

During a meeting of the commission's sports betting committee on Tuesday, several members indicated that January 8 is not feasible, WRAL reported. However, they refrained from specifying an alternative start date.

Sterl Carpenter, the state's deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting, outlined the numerous steps that the commission must navigate before gambling activities can commence. Currently, the commission is not accepting applications from sports wagering operators.

Carpenter highlighted the subsequent steps in the process, stating that operators, once they submit applications, will undergo investigation, adhere to internal controlsdemonstrate non-acceptance of wagers outside of North Carolina or on federal or tribal lands within the state, and provide details about their security and responsible gaming plans.

Additionally, operators must establish a "written designation agreement" with specific teams, leagues, or facilities in the state to be granted a license, though no such partnerships have been announced thus far.

The recently approved rules cover various aspects, including advertising guidelines for companies targeting players. The commission has also sanctioned a catalog specifying the sports and leagues on which betting operators can accept wagers. A petition process is in place to expand the catalog in the future, with current inclusions such as the World Cup, World Championship, and Four Hills Tournament, WNCN reported.

Contrary to some expectations, fantasy sports were excluded from the approved rules, raising questions about regulatory authority and language controversies. The commission continues to accept public comments on additional rules. The legislation permits betting on professional, collegiate, amateur, and electronic sports.

In addition to sports betting, the lottery recently introduced digital instant games with the appearance of online slot machines. The lottery imposes limits on player wagers on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

State leaders are expected to deliberate on the potential legalization of additional gambling options during the upcoming legislative short session in the spring. Republican leaders previously abandoned a plan to authorize four additional casinos and video lottery terminals at the end of this year's session, following internal party pushbacks regarding its inclusion in the state budget.

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