• Bookies
  • News
  • North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable
Most Valuable Offer

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

Visit site
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 6 mins

North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

Visit site
Used 70 Times Today
Popular in Virginia
Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

We now know that North Carolina sports betting won’t launch before the Super Bowl. 

While that may disappoint bettors on Tobacco Road, it’s not the end of anyone’s world, nor it is reason to raise concerns about unreasonable delays and panic over sports betting’s eventual launch. It’s not like the Carolina Panthers will be representing the NFC when Super Bowl 58 kicks off in Las Vegas on February 11. 

Groans rang from Cape Fear to Boone when Ripley Rand made that pronouncement about Super Bowl betting during the North Carolina Lottery Commission meeting in November. 

That inevitable and obvious pronouncement of the obvious triggered some who thought that the process of bringing sports betting from nothing to launch could happen in a matter of weeks if not a few months. 

The bill legalizing sports betting in North Carolina was signed into law on June 14. It says betting must begin by June 14, 2024. Betting can begin as soon as January 8. It won’t. 

Given the average run of about 8 months from legalization to launch, betting by Super Bowl kickoff was possible, if not probable.   

Track Parallels With Massachusetts 

North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable 1

Sterl Carpenter is the point person charged with bringing sports betting to life in North Carolina. Carpenter is tasked with overseeing rules and regulations in accordance with HB 347, which Gov. Roy Cooper some six months ago. 

Carpenter came to the Tar Heel State after being the sports wagering operations manager for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). He helped to guide Massachusetts sports betting into reality from its legislative inception a year ago.

The MGC had to create and implement more than 225 regulations leading up to sports betting being launched in the Bay State. Carpenter worked for the MGC in various roles between 2015-23. He previously spent nearly a quarter of a century at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. He knows the business.

The journey of sports betting in North Carolina has, not surprisingly, mirrored its path in Massachusetts a year ago.

The Massachusetts 2022 Sports Wagering Act was signed into law by then Gov. Charlie Baker – now head of the NCAA – on August 11. Retail betting launched in Massachusetts on January 31 of this year. Mobile betting went live on March 10. 

While North Carolina’s calendar appears to be about 6 weeks behind, there were certain advantages inherent in the Bay State. For one, the MGC has been active for a decade. It commenced with the launch of casino gaming there 10 years ago. That means it also boasts a deep and experienced staff which was already in place before sports betting was approved. Carpenter didn’t begin his current job until August. That’s when the clock began to run in earnest in North Carolina.  

Retail licenses in Massachusetts were granted to three casinos and two parimutuel operators. All had been previously licensed and vetted by the state for other wagering activities. 

Up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets if Your First Bet Loses
Promo Code: BOOKIES

Visit site
Used 67 Times Today
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO, DC, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY) Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY). Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-327-5050 (MA), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Visit BetMGM.com for T&Cs. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Openly Competitive Market Transcends Timetable

North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable 2

The North Carolina Lottery Commission created its Sports Betting Committee earlier this fall.  

Like Massachusetts, North Carolina promises an openly competitive market with a focus on the consumer. That goal must triumph over any push to meet an arbitrary deadline. 

In North Carolina, 11 different sports book operators have taken out license applications. In Massachusetts, that number was initially more than 30. Massachusetts eventually ended up with 8 different mobile operators approved at its launch last March. Of those, seven were running on opening day.

Depending on staff, and the content of the applications themselves, there is a decent chance North Carolina could get through its full screening process within the 60 days it has allotted to make a final determination on each would-be sports book, operator, and vendor. It has set a December 27 deadline for all applicants. 

North Carolina hopefully has learned from the process that often-slowed licensing in Massachusetts. It also has a multitude of current jurisdictions from which to draw its rules and regulations, including nearby states like Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. And unlike their colleagues in Massachusetts, regulators in North Carolina appear to be in no hurry to re-invent the wheel. 

Meetings of the Lottery Commission are efficient and short on bloviation. That is a good harbinger of a business-focused mentality. 

March Madness To Begin On March 19

North Carolina Sports Betting: No Need To Panic Over Timetable 3

A launch by March Madness would be a boon for operators and the state. The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts on March 19, with Selection Sunday falling on St. Patrick's Day, March 17. You can sign up with North Carolina sportsbook promo codes if sports betting starts during the tournament.

Operators who have gone through this process in other jurisdictions should know what is and isn’t expected. The role they play in getting a state to launch is often overlooked. 

Carpenter expects the state to receive "hundreds" of license applications, some of which could contain more than 1,000 pages of related documentation. 

Three operators – Bet365, FanDuel, and ESPN BET North Carolina – have taken the first necessary steps by entering into a "written designation agreement" with a professional sports team, the owners of certain big-league sports venues. the PGA Tour, or NASCAR before being licensed. 

DraftKings, Caesars, Fanatics, and other operators are expected to follow into North Carolina betting apps. Only then can the Commission approve "interactive sports wagering operators." 

Eight retail betting sites allowed to take wagers are those that play host to a NASCAR Series race, a pro golf tournament with more than 50,000 live spectators. And those facilities that are home to MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, or NWSL franchises. The NBA Charlotte Hornets, NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, and NFL Carolina Panthers all call the Tar Heel State home.

Those 21 and over located within the state at the time are allowed to wager on sports.  A five-year license costs $1 million, plus $80,000 in various application fees. 

Betting is allowed on pro and college events. The state tax rate on net gaming revenues for the books is 18%. 

Q1 Launch 'In Line' With Expectations

Martin Lycka, SVP of American Regulatory Affairs & Responsible Gambling for BetMGM’s parent company Entain, told bookies.com that BetMGM is in the process of acquiring a partner to launch in North Carolina. He sees a Q1 launch “in line” with expectations. 

“March Madness would be the next opportunity to link up the launch date,” Lycka said. “North Carolina is an interesting market. I’m sure it will turn out to be competitive. There is a good number of licenses. It has a thriving sporting culture. As the regulations are set up, it should provide for an ecosystem that should allow the industry to thrive.” 

BetMGM North Carolina in their trading update on December 4 said it expects a NC launch in June. That seems excessively cautionary. 

Veteran gaming lobbyist Bill Pascrell III says an April launch is “doable” in North Carolina. “I think it's going to be a great market. There's a rich tradition, particularly in college basketball, but also in some of the pro leagues there. I think it's going to do very well. It's got a decent population, and I think Carolina's going to be a great jurisdiction.”

And that’s true whether betting begins by Selection Sunday or Final Four Weekend.  

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.