As of Dec. 6, 11 sports betting operators have requested online sports betting applications in North Carolina.
Sterl Carpenter, deputy director of sports betting for the NC Lottery Commission, presented the numbers for operator application requests as well as suppliers and service providers at today’s NCLC Sports Betting Committee meeting.
The application portal opened on Dec. 1 and will remain open until Dec. 27. In his presentation today, Carpenter stressed the importance of operators submitting their completed applications before the deadline to give regulators enough time to vet them properly.
The NCLC has 60 days from the submission date to either approve or reject an application. As a result of this timeframe, the Commission has indicated that online sports betting in North Carolina will not launch before the 2024 Super Bowl on Feb. 11.
North Carolina sports betting application process off to a fast start
In only five days, the NC sports betting application portal has received 43 total requests from sports betting operators, suppliers and service providers.
Operators represent sportsbooks like DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel. Service providers refer to entities that form strategic partnerships with sportsbooks, like geolocation tracking providers and user authentication platform providers. Suppliers refer to entities that provide a needed asset to a sportsbook, such as data analytics.
As it currently stands under the sports betting law, the state has room for 11 total sports betting operators. This is determined by the need for all operators to secure a written designation agreement with a pro sports entity. Those entities include five pro sports teams, two NASCAR tracks, two PGA courses, the PGA itself and NASCAR.
Two sportsbooks, Bet365 and ESPN Bet, have already partnered with sports entities. Bet365 with the Charlotte Hornets and ESPN Bet NC with Quail Hollow Club. These partnerships will be solidified with the written designation agreement included in the application packet, but they indicate that both books will likely launch in North Carolina.
No online sports betting launch date set yet
Regulators did not address a target launch date at today’s meeting.
As noted, the most recent update is that the 2024 Super Bowl is off the table. Considering the 60-day vetting period for all applications, NCSharp has projected five potential launch dates, and we think a March Madness 2024 launch could still happen.
As Carpenter and other regulators have stressed, the ball is now in the operators’ court. The sooner they submit applications and background checks, the sooner regulators can begin vetting them.
A full NCLC meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13, where we will likely get another update on applications and find out if the Commission will need to draft more rules to implement NC online sports betting effectively.