Today, the North Carolina Lottery Commission announced a meeting for Wednesday, Jan. 24 to discuss topics related to sports betting.
The meeting, which was not originally on the calendar at ncgaming.gov, the state’s legal gaming website, comes two days before the recommended deadline for operators to submit their internal controls and six days before a scheduled meeting of the NCLC Sports Betting Committee.
With enough pieces in play, NCSharp thinks there’s a chance the state could announce a launch date for NC online sports betting this Wednesday.
Residents are getting antsy, and with good reason, according to NCSharp content manager Matt Schoch.
Schoch, who has helped oversee sports betting launches for NCSharp parent company Catena Media in Michigan, Ontario, Maryland, Ohio and Massachusetts, said the apparent delay is normal.
“We see this in every state and province where they are introducing a new online sports betting market,” Schoch said. “Regulators want to get it right, and part of that is being confident the legwork can be done by a certain date before announcing it. While we understand potential bettors are bummed about missing football season, the perceived delays are evidence the commission is doing its job thoroughly.”
Why hasn’t North Carolina announced a sports betting launch date yet?
As regulators announce more and more progress down the road to legal NC online sportsbooks, the sound of people grumbling about a launch date has gotten louder.
We are now more than seven months into a launch period that must conclude by June 15, 2024. A group of operators have met the recommended deadline to submit their applications and have four more days to submit their internal controls to be on the state’s expedited timeline to launch.
Regulators have stated that they expect to take 60 days to vet applicants, and they’ve given applicants a final launch checklist to complete once they successfully pass their vetting.
After regulators announced that a 2024 Super Bowl launch would not occur, interested parties turned their attention to the next major sports betting event on the calendar: March Madness.
Among these interested parties is Gov. Roy Cooper, who has, no fewer than three times, suggested that he’d like to see the NCLC launch online sports betting by March Madness.
For their part, the NCLC and Deputy Director of Sports Betting Sterl Carpenter have insinuated that advancing through the launch process expeditiously falls on the shoulders of the applicants. In doing so, the NCLC could be implying that setting a launch date is contingent upon the progress of the applying sportsbooks.
With four more days before the recommended deadline for internal controls documentation, the NCLC might finally have a clear picture of enough operators meeting the recommended deadlines to put a launch date on the calendar.
In short, if we get a launch date on Wednesday, it’ll be because regulators feel abundantly safe that the operators in the running to launch have done their homework correctly.
A March Madness NC sports betting launch will be top of mind
As Gov. Cooper and many of us have stated, a launch prior to the start of March Madness (First Four games begin March 19) is within reach.
Launching before one of the biggest sports betting events of the year will do a lot for the North Carolina sports betting market. Further, for a state so heavily invested in collegiate athletics, March Madness may be the biggest event of the year for fans across the state.
The NCLC has the virtual meeting scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24. Keep tuned to NCSharp for immediate updates on the launch of NC online sports betting.