The NC Lottery Commission Sports Betting Committee is edging closer to announcing a launch date.
At today’s meeting, Sterl Carpenter, deputy director of sports betting, indicated a launch announcement could come as soon as the Jan. 10 full NCLC meeting.
Carpenter’s notice comes just over a week after the recommended deadline for sports betting firms to submit their applications to enter the North Carolina online sports betting market.
NC Lottery Commission remains cagey around launch date
We first learned that online sports betting would not launch at the earliest possible launch date of Jan. 8. That came as no surprise considering the Sports Betting Committee convened for the first time more than four months after Gov. Roy Cooper signed online sports betting into law.
Next, the NCLC indicated that online sports betting would not go live before the 2024 Super Bowl on Feb. 11. As the largest betting event on the American calendar, this represented the next clear target launch date after Jan. 8.
Missing out on the Super Bowl means leaving a boatload of tax revenue on the table, and so on Dec. 20 Gov. Cooper told the Ovies+Giglio podcast that he wanted to see regulators get the market up and running by March Madness.
The first-four round of March Madness begins on March 19 and the first full round on March 21. Being live for the biggest two-week betting period of the year now appears to be the goal.
What’s more, regulators could be eyeing a bit of history if they launch on March 18. On that date in 2021, the first retail sportsbooks in the state opened at Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.
Fewer than half of those requesting applications submitted by the deadline
Carpenter shared at the meeting that 17 online operators requested sports betting applications, but only seven submitted completed applications by the Dec. 27 deadline.
Considering all three submission types (operator, supplier and service provider), of the 75 total application requests, the NCLC received 31 completed packets.
While applicants can still submit their applications, Carpenter indicated that they would not necessarily be on track to go live at the initial launch date. Staggered launches though are not uncommon across the country, and completed applications are still filtering in into the new year.
NCSharp projects that when the state eventually launches online sports betting, it could expect to take in $6-$7 billion in total bets in its first full year of online sports betting.
Image Credit: Wayne Parry / AP Images