The recommended submission deadline for North Carolina sports betting operator applications is today. Meeting this deadline gives those applicants the opportunity to launch online sports betting when the market goes live.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission recommended late last month that operators, suppliers and service providers meet that deadline to give regulators enough time to evaluate lengthy application packets.
The expected turnaround time for vetting a North Carolina online sports betting operator license is 60 to 90 days, a process that includes a background investigation.
Operators with a head start
As of last week, Fifteen operators had requested applications, but only four have secured a partnership with a pro sports entity.
- Bet 365 (Charlotte Hornets)
- ESPN Bet (Quail Hollow Club)
- Fanatics (Carolina Hurricanes)
- FanDuel (PGA Tour)
Notably, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers have not yet announced a sports betting partner. Each operator partnering with a pro sports entity is required to form a written designation agreement confirming their partnership to state regulators.
Per state law, the state will issue 11 commercial licenses and two additional tribal licenses to the tribes that operate casinos in North Carolina. The license fee is $1 million for operators.
Sportsbooks can still apply after today’s recommended deadline. They will risk not having their applications approved before online sports betting goes live, perhaps in time for the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament.
Caesars, which runs the two casinos owned by the EBCI, is expected to submit an application. BetMGM, which has targeted North Carolina as its next expansion state for online sports betting, and DraftKings are also expected to be among the sportsbooks going live in NC at some point in 2024.
No launch date set yet, but Gov. Cooper targets March Madness
Outside of retail sports betting at the state’s three tribal casinos, sports fans will have to wait until June 15, at the latest, to place an online sports wager.
The NCLC will return to work after the New Year to continue setting regulations and approving license applications. The commission’s Sports Betting Committee has a meeting scheduled for Jan. 4. The full commission meets on Jan. 10. NCSharp expects a launch date to be announced soon, and possibly at one of those two meetings.
It is possible that wagering could begin by March Madness if the vetting process goes smoothly. Gov. Roy Cooper, for his part, has leaned on the NCLC to get the industry up and running by March.