The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has given the green light for sports betting operators to start applying for licenses. This is a big step for the state, as it moves closer to launching legalized sports betting. However, Commission Chairperson Ripley Rand was quick to temper expectations during the recent Commission meeting. He stated that while the approval of applications is a significant step, there is still a lot of work to be done before sports betting can officially begin in North Carolina.
Rand emphasized the need for thorough and thoughtful rulemaking, ensuring fairness for all parties involved. While he did not give a specific launch date, he mentioned that the commission expects to be in a position early in the New Year to announce when sports betting can commence in the state.
The process has been in motion since June 7th, 2023 when the North Carolina House of Representatives approved the amendments made by the Senate to HB 347, which allows for mobile betting on a variety of sports, including horse racing, professional, college, and Olympic sports, as well as esports. The legislation also outlines the application process for 12 mobile sports betting operators to apply for five-year licenses at a fee of $1 million each. Additionally, the bill expands retail sports betting beyond the state’s three tribal casinos to include eight additional venues, such as sports arenas and golf clubs.
The approved venues for retail sports betting include PNC Arena in Raleigh, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, Bank of America Stadium and Spectrum Center in Charlotte, Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, and Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.
Overall, the approval of the application form for sports betting licensing applications is a positive development for North Carolina. It signifies progress towards the launch of licensed sports betting operators in the state, while also underscoring the need for careful consideration and fairness in regulatory decision-making.