The NC Lottery expects a third round of sports betting and parimutuel rules to be necessary before the launch of online sports betting.
Van Denton, director of corporate communications at the NC Education Lottery, told NCSharp,
“The expectation is there will be a third rules package,” Denton said. “The committee and commission are focused on the second package right now. Like other state regulators that have implemented sports betting, the commission will examine its needs and the requests of the regulated public to determine what additional rules may be needed.”
Ripley Rand, chair of the NC Lottery Commission, announced on Wednesday that a Super Bowl launch of online sports betting in North Carolina was off the table as much work still needed to be done.
Along with drafting rules, the NCLC will need to vet all sports betting operator, supplier and service provider applicants who will soon submit application packets that can run over 1000 pages.
The sports betting rule-making process in North Carolina thus far
The North Carolina sports betting rule-making process entails several steps, including:
– The NCLC Sports Betting Committee Drafting a set of rules.
– Approval of the draft rules by the full NCLC.
– Two-week public comment period on drafted rules.
– Presentation of public comments to the NCLC Sports Betting Committee and the full NCLC and final approval of rules set by the NCLC.
An NCLC Sports Betting Committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 6 will present the public comments on the second round of rules for approval. A Dec. 13 meeting of the full NCLC will likely include a similar presentation of public comments before the full NCLC votes to approve the second round of rules.
Time frame for a third round of rule-making
Denton notes that a third round of rules could be contingent on public comments. Since the second draft of rules included over 200 pages of new rules, there’s a high likelihood that public comment will generate a need to expand on the current rule set.
We will determine if the NCLC’s expectation for three rounds of rules is accurate during the Dec. 6 Sports Betting Committee meeting. Currently, ncgaming.gov, the NCLC’s legal gaming website, does not provide an itinerary for the Dec. 6 meeting.
If the NCLC proposes a third round of rulemaking at the Dec. 6 meeting, the public comment period could run longer than two weeks, even into the new year, due to the holiday season.
Jan. 8 is the earliest date any sports betting rules could take effect though the NCLC hasn’t identified that date as a hard deadline for finalizing all rules. That said, it seems likely that the NCLC could approve a third round of rules by mid January.
Would a third round of rules push back the launch date even further?
Finalizing sports betting and parimutuel wagering rules is one of the major tasks before the NCLC, but the process of vetting sports betting applicants could impact a launch date more.
As Kari Boyce, chair of the Sports Betting Committee, noted at the last NCLC meeting, the NCLC has 60 days to vet all applicants, and how quickly that process goes largely depends on applicants doing their due diligence. The deadline for all applications is Dec. 27, but the 60-day vetting process starts from the date a completed application is submitted through the portal at ncgaming.gov.
NCSharp has projected five potential launch dates for NC online sports betting, and, even considering a third round of rule-making, a March Madness launch could still happen.