Now that a March 11 online sports betting launch date is set, operators who have applied for sports wagering licenses must clear several down-the-stretch hurdles if they want to be ready to accept bets on opening day.
While the North Carolina Lottery Commission still has a lot on its plate as it continues to review applications and perform operator background checks, the agency indicated confidence in getting North Carolina online sports betting off the ground in time for the beginning of the ACC Tournament.
“We’ve built our infrastructure. We’ve put together a regulatory framework from scratch, and we assembled a team,” Sterl Carpenter, the NCLC’s deputy director of sports betting, said. “To be sure there is still much to do, and we will always be working to improve our processes as they mature. But with this proposed authorization, we are telling the public that we are ready for sports wagering. Now, it is up to our operator applicants to show us that they can meet the requirements set by our General Assembly and by this commission.”
What regulators want to see from NC sportsbook applicants
Upon applying, the NCLC begins a background investigation of operators.
In addition to the license application, operators must also provide the NCLC with internal controls documentation. The commission’s recommended deadline for submitting those documents is Jan. 26.
After internal controls receive approval, operators must meet a final checklist of requirements before receiving a Certificate of Compliance.
The NCLC’s estimated turnaround date from submitting a completed application to obtaining a license is 60 days. The agency will post a list of licensed operators that are eligible to accept wagers on ncgaming.gov.
Commercial retail sports betting will come at a later time and launch dates will be determined on a case-by-case basis as operators meet NCLC requirements.
Nine operators could go live on March 11
As of Jan. 24, nine operators (seven commercial and two tribal) have applied for online sports betting licenses.
– ESPN Bet
– Fanatics Sportsbook
– Underdog Sports
– Catawba Nation (sports betting partner TBD)
– Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (likely Caesars Sportsbook)
Action for NC bettors begins March 1
On March 1, bettors can begin registering with licensed operators who have obtained a Certificate of Compliance. Bettors can also begin funding their accounts on that date. Carpenter explained the reasoning for enabling pre-launch sign-ups.
“The registration and enrollment period before the beginning of the authorized betting gives players time to familiarize themselves with the approved applications that support sports betting platforms. For example, they can look at who offers the best interface, they can look at the most favorable terms and ease of use for their responsible gaming features. It also gives operator applicants incentives to move quickly to meet commission expectations and build awareness about their offerings.”
The fields for the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I basketball tournaments will be announced on Selection Sunday, March 17. The First Four of the tournament on the men’s side is March 19-20 and March 20-21 for the women.
Per NCSharp estimates, North Carolina could generate $7-$10 million in tax revenue for March with a launch of online sports betting ahead of March Madness.
Image credit: AP