The North Carolina Sports Betting Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the second round of proposed rules for the state’s anticipated launch of online gambling. The committee gave insight into the timeline of the sports betting launch in North Carolina with the most meaningful takeaway being that the state’s initial target of a Jan. 8 launch date is likely no longer feasible.
North Carolina Sports Betting Could be Live by Super Bowl
January 8, 2023 – the first day North Carolina can launch sports betting– “probably won’t be the date that betting is authorized, considering everything we still have to do,” Ripley Rand of the North Carolina Sports Betting Committee said at the Tuesday meeting.
North Carolina Executive Director of Gaming Compliance and Sports Betting Sterl Carpenter confirmed this.
While the committee lent insight into when sports betting would not be launching, they did not answer when it would be launching. They have until June 15, 2023.
During his June interview with Lineups, North Carolina Rep. Zack Hawkins — one of the bill’s primary sponsors — said that the state wanted to make sure that all potential “kinks” were worked out before the Super Bowl on Feb. 11. He reiterated that operators have “expressed interest in being ready to go,” then.
Both sportsbook operators and the state of North Carolina stand to gain millions by launching prior to this year’s Super Bowl.
Pick ‘Em Fantasy Contests Allowed For Now
In the lottery’s first set of proposed rules – first discussed on Oct. 17 – deliberation over what constitutes a fantasy sports contest was a big debate. Specifically, whether or not it includes pick ‘em contests.
The first set of rules states that fantasy contests are not “based on proposition wagering or contests that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking proposition wagering or other forms of Sports Wagering.”
Representatives for Prize Picks and Underdog Fantasy then testified at a committee public hearing, arguing that pick ‘em contests have been legal in North Carolina for years.
At this week’s second reading of the proposed rules, the committee said it would remove the fantasy sports definition from the introduced sports betting rules based on public comments and input. They plan to reevaluate the definition at a later date.
NC Sports Betting Catalogue Receives Initial Approval
The sports catalogue was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Betting on professional and college sports (including North Carolina schools) will be allowed in all the major leagues. Betting on the Olympic Games and the XFL were also listed as two legal events to wager on.
eSports is not included in the sports betting catalogue; however, there may be a path for operators to offer it in the future. Wagers on political events and award ceremonies are also banned.
The committee unanimously approved the catalogue, but now it must be approved by the full North Carolina State Lottery Commission. The commission meets on Thursday and could approve it as soon as then.