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North Carolina Tar Heels fans cheer during the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kenan Memorial Stadium, as we lay out everything to know about North Carolina launching sports betting.
North Carolina Tar Heels fans cheer during the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images via AFP.

Legal North Carolina sports betting took a step closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday following the state's lottery commission meeting and voting on a set of preliminary sports wagering rules for the best sportsbooks and betting sites. That comes after Gov. Roy Cooper finally signed a mobile sports and horse racing wagering bill into law in June tied to the best sports betting apps.

It was the first time that the newly formed sports betting committee met, signaling the desire to get a framework for an eventual platform to be launched in the Tar Heel State that will include North Carolina sports betting apps with North Carolina sportsbooks promos. It was a short 30-minute meeting, and potential wagering definitions were laid out, with details for the licensing process heard.

While preliminary, the topics discussed in the brief meeting were void of much controversy and are expected to be accepted by regulators and the sports betting providers hoping to make a splash in the North Carolina market.

“The proposed rules before you are only a preliminary portion of the extensive rules that staff will propose to the commission," the lottery’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting Sterl Carpenter said. "We are talking and taking your instruction and directions and putting together a comprehensive regulatory program to open the North Carolina market with a focus on public interest, clear expectations for regulated actors, responsible gaming initiatives, and consumer protection.” 

What was discussed?

During the brief 30-minute meeting on Tuesday, the Committee was mostly interested in just getting the ball rolling on the drafting of rules and regulations for the impending legal sports betting platform.

A launch deadline of June 15, 2024 will be here soon, and the rule makers know they need to at least start the process of governing on the issue of mobile sports betting.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission's legal sports betting committee simply voted and agreed on basic rules proposals such as the definitions of mobile sports wagering, technical issues, and a few subjects regarding the licensing process for North Carolina sports betting apps.

There were 48 regulations mentioned in the meeting, all of which were necessary to move the idea of mobile sports betting forward in the state. All will likely be mere formalities and will be expedited for the Commission and the state to meet the summer launch deadline.

Retail exists but when will mobile?

North Carolina is currently home to a retail sports betting platform housed at three tribal casinos in the state. A mobile wing has long been in the works in the Tar Heel State, and existing rules mandate that North Carolina sports betting apps must launch by June 15, 2024.

The newly formed commission can kick off its internet-based platform as early as January, but it can't exceed the mid-June timeline. It's unclear exactly when the North Carolina mobile sports betting apps platform will indeed go live, but the Super Bowl in February and March Madness are the two most important and bet on sporting events on U.S. soil annually.

It would benefit all if mobile sports betting were up and running in time to take advantage of one or both of those events.

So, what's next?

Public comments on mobile sports betting will end Nov. 1, according to the rules posted on the North Carolina Lottery Commission website, and a public hearing is planned for Oct. 27.

With the promised expedited definitions and rules for the platform as well as the next phases of the rules-making process set, it appears regulators in the state are on track to hit fast forward with their legalization efforts.

“Importantly, this means we are on track to meet our statutory deadline,” Carpenter said.

The next steps will likely take place after the public hearing at the end of the month, and will surely include the kickoff of the licensing process. The usual suspects and biggest U.S. sports betting apps will be in on the North Carolina process.

“Under the rule, they (the applicants) will need to submit complete, sworn, and timely applications for the commission staff to review. In the coming weeks, we will be presented proposed copies of the sports betting application form and ask that you review and approve these as an action item,” said Carpenter.

Things are starting to move quickly toward a North Carolina legal mobile sports betting platform after years of the state dragging its feet. The Tar Heel State regulators benefit from plenty of templates to use in the U.S. market, too.

Look for the North Carolina mobile platform to come together quickly as the appetite for internet-based sports betting becomes more evident.