(The Center Square) – The North Carolina Lottery Commission’s Sports Betting Committee will review another round of proposed rules on Tuesday at it moves toward next year’s launch.
Sterl Carpenter, deputy executive for gaming compliance and sports betting, will join with the commission’s legal team to present for action a second rules package.
Details of the proposed rules were not publicly available on Monday, according to Van Denton, communications director for the Lottery Commission. Denton declined The Center Square’s request for an interview on the status and timeline for sports betting, writing in an email the reason is because the regulatory body is in the midst of rule-making.
The legislation approved by lawmakers and signed into law five months ago gives the commission until June 2024 to go live, though it authorizes a launch any time after Jan. 1.
Tuesday’s meeting comes about a week after the close of a public comment period on rules proposed in October that involve definitions of terms used in the legislation and others; the scope and application of rules; duties and authorities of the commission’s director; methods of payment; confidential materials; application details; timelines; and other provisions.
Once finalized, those rules are set to take effect on Jan. 8.
Other progress in recent months includes a $571,500 contract with Gaming Labs International to help guide rulemaking, licensing, audits and risk control. Gaming Labs International conducted similar work setting up betting systems in Massachusetts, Kentucky and Vermont.
Carpenter, a 30-year veteran in the industry, was hired by the commission this summer after successfully shepherding the Massachusetts Gaming Commission sports betting launch earlier this year.
He said in October the Lottery Commission is “on track to meet our statutory deadline,” suggesting a January launch is unlikely.
The road to launch was complicated somewhat by a change in the sports betting law included in the state budget that took effect in early October. That shifted how the state will grant licenses for operators. Instead of what was initially a cap on “no more than 12 interactive sports wagering operators,” the law now requires a “written designation agreement” with sports teams and facility owners.
It remains unclear how the change will impact the number of available sports betting licenses, but the rules proposed in October clarify that licenses for operators are contingent upon maintaining the designation agreements.
A legislative fiscal analysis pegs revenues from the state’s 18% betting tax at $64.6 million in fiscal year 2024-25, while other estimates have ranged from $47 million after three years to $126 million in the first year.
Several sportsbooks have already signaled intentions to pursue licenses, including BetMGM, DraftKings, Tipico Sportsbook, ESPN BET, and FanDuel.
Sports betting in North Carolina has been limited to casinos on tribal lands, with active retail sportsbooks at Catawba Two Kings Casino, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel.
In addition to mobile sports betting, North Carolina lawmakers authorized retail betting sites at facilities that host professional sports, including NASCAR and golf. North Carolina is home to the NFL Carolina Panthers, NHL Carolina Hurricanes, NBA Charlotte Hornets, MLS Charlotte FC and NWSL’s North Carolina Courage, as well as multiple NASCAR tracks and golf pro tour stops.