Gaming Laboratories International, a respected New Jersey company with experience in several jurisdictions, has been hired by the North Carolina Lottery Commission to assist in regulating sports betting in the state.
GLI has established itself as a prestigious gaming lab and certification company in the gaming industry. It will provide the NCLC with its services, including risk control, licensing procedural controls and auditing under a vendor agreement license, the state announced yesterday.
Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Vermont have each previously hired GLI to assist in their rollouts of legal sports betting, or else have current contracts with the company, which was founded in 1989.
Online North Carolina sports betting can launch as early as Jan. 8, 2024, and with only four months to get there, the NCLC will need the aid of GLI to orchestrate an efficient launch.
North Carolina taking deliberate steps to launch sports betting
In mid August, the NCLC hired Sterl Carpenter as its sports betting director, poaching him from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Just a few days ago, North Carolina posted a job opening for a director of sports betting licensing, a position that will likely work closely with GLI as a consultant. This posting won’t close until mid September, meaning the state could still be looking at another month before it begins taking sports betting operator applications.
North Carolina’s gaming division has a daunting task ahead as it prepares for a launch in early 2024. The state must establish rules and processes for regulating mobile sports betting, horse racing, and pari-mutuel wagering for the horse racing season.
State law allows up to 12 untethered commercial licenses for online sports betting and two further tribal licenses. That means commercial sports betting operators like BetMGM, Caesars, and DraftKings can apply for licenses without partnering with an in-state tribe or professional sports team.
The NCLC has until June 14, 2024, to launch a sports betting market. However, there is an outside chance it could be in place before the Super Bowl next January.
If it does so, that would be a windfall for the state. Regardless of the launch date, NCSharp projects that North Carolina online sports betting could generate $6-$7 billion in total bet spending in its first full year of operation.
North Carolina a battleground for nations’s top sportsbooks
North Carolina already has three retail sportsbooks open for business: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino, both located in the western part of the state; and the Catawba Nation’s Two Kings Casino, in Kings Mountain.
This state will be a battleground for the new roster of sportsbooks competing for market share. FanDuel and DraftKings are dominant across the nation, with the latter creeping up on the top position.
Two new contenders, Fanatics and ESPN Bet (operated by PENN Entertainment) will likely enter the market in North Carolina shortly after their nationwide debuts in the industry. UK-based Bet365, a giant in the sports betting industry in Europe, is also eying new markets in the United States.
Another sportsbook, WynnBET, announced it was shutting down operations in several states, and seems likely to scale back any efforts in the market, while PointsBet, whose US offerings were purchased by Fanatics, is now out of the picture.
The 2024 landscape will look much different than it did at the start of 2023, and consumers in North Carolina will be the benefactors of a leaner, more competitive product offering. That should lead to excellent NC sportsbook promos.