As North Carolina moves closer to its online sports betting go-live date, iGB looks at what opportunities lie ahead for the market.

Last month, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission approved 11 March as the go-live date for online sports betting in the state. But players can register much sooner for accounts – from 1 March – and also fund them.

This didn’t come out of nowhere. When North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, signed House Bill 347 into law on 14 June last year, he also gave the thumbs-up to a timeline for implementation. The bill mandated that North Carolina must publish sports betting regulations before 8 January 2024, and operators in the state must accept wagers before 14 June 2024.

North Carolina sports betting
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission released two important updates on the impending sports betting market this week

Recent speculation abounded after North Carolina’s Commission set a deadline of 26 January for hopeful operators to submit their internal controls.

What are the latest updates?

This week brought two major updates as the state gears up for 11 March. On Wednesday, the Commission issued two full sports wagering supplier licences and seven additional provisional licences.

GeoComply and SBTech received the two full supplier licences. Combined with the seven provisional licences issued on 9 February, this brings the total to two full licences and 14 provisional licences issued by the Commission.

Provisional licences last for 180 days.

Also on Wednesday, the Commission approved a voluntary self-exclusion programme for North Carolina residents. It forms part of the NC Problem Gambling Programme, which offers gambling harm prevention, education and services. House Bill 347 stipulated that an additional $2m per year would be allocated to the programme in order to expand it.

Players can submit a voluntary self-exclusion enrollment form on the Commission’s website. Players can choose to self-exclude for one year, three years, five years or for their lifetime. Following this, players will be unable to place bets online, in a retail sportsbook or place bets on horses. Any winnings that may occur will be surrendered.

North Carolina sports betting
Players can choose to self-exclude for one year, three years, five years or for the span of their lifetime

In addition, North Carolina law now mandates operators to implement a number of gambling harm prevention rules. These include delivering responsible gambling training to employees and ensuring advertising does not target those under the age of 21.

The next steps for operators

Naturally, operators are clamouring to enter the state. Caesars Entertainment will be a heavy-hitter – in January it expanded its relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in order to launch mobile sports betting in North Carolina.

DraftKings, BetMGM and ESPN Bet have also secured market access. Fanatics Betting and Gaming entered a partnership agreement with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes ahead of the launch, while Underdog has partnered with McConnell Golf.

According to Legal Sports Report, on Wednesday the Commission confirmed that it was working with eight operators to have them licensed before the go-live date. In addition to the above, Bet365 and FanDuel are also on the list.

Much is happening behind the scenes to ensure North Carolina’s sports betting market hits the ground running. Mark your calendars – 11 March will certainly be a go-live date to remember.

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