Seven sports betting operator applications up for review

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(The Center Square) – Applications of seven sports betting operators are likely to be reviewed Thursday when the Sports Betting Committee of the North Carolina Lottery Commission meets.

Lawmakers gave the green light for launch by June 14. A proposed date is eagerly anticipated, though it is unlikely before the Super Bowl next month. March Madness is the next big calendar event in sports.

The full commission meets Wednesday of next week.

Seven of more than a dozen sports betting operators that requested applications met a Dec. 27 filing deadline. They are FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, Bet365, ESPN Bet and Underdog Sports Wagering.

In addition, Caesars Entertainment applied for a service provider license targeted as securing one of two tribal sports betting licenses. Caesars Entertainment operates two Harrah’s casinos in western North Carolina.

Amendments to the sports betting law included in the state budget require online sports books to secure a written designation agreement with one of 11 professional sports entities in North Carolina. The state is home to the NFL Carolina Panthers, NHL Carolina Hurricanes, NBA Charlotte Hornets, MLS Charlotte FC, NWSL’s North Carolina Courage, as well as multiple NASCAR tracks and golf pro tour stops.

At least four operators that applied for licenses have announced sports betting partnerships. Bet365 will partner with the Hornets, ESPN Bet will be with Quail Hollow Club, FanDuel with the PGA of America, and Fanatics with the Hurricanes.

The commission set a 60-day deadline for reviewing applications committee Chairwoman Cari Boyce said could stretch to 1,000 pages. Operators will also have an additional 10 days to correct any issues.

“Vetting an application will be a detailed process,” Boyce said in a video message.

Factors that could impact the timing for launch include the number of applications received; date completed; when supporting information is submitted; completion of the rulemaking process; and time necessary for background, internal control checks, and certifications from an independent testing lab.

Since the sports betting law was approved in June, the commission has hired an executive director, licensing and legal staff, and an international gaming firm to guide testing and certifications. The commission also launched NCgaming.gov in November to provide public updates on the progress toward going live.

A legislative fiscal analysis suggested the state’s 18% betting tax will generate $64.4 million next fiscal year, though other estimates have ranged from $47 million after three years to $126 million in the first year.

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