North Carolina Sports Betting Regulator Hires Veteran Compliance Chief

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North Carolina is gearing up for the launch of its sports betting market in 2024 with the recent appointment of Sterl Carpenter, a seasoned industry veteran, to lead the regulatory compliance department at the North Carolina State Lottery Commission (offices pictured).

Carpenter has more than 30 years of experience in the gaming industry. That includes six years as Regulatory Compliance Manager with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, or MGC.

He will assume the role of deputy executive director of gaming compliance & sports betting for the North Carolina Lottery starting August 2.

North Carolina legalized sports betting in June 2023. Regulators are now aiming for a January launch so state bettors can wager on Super Bowl LVII in February.

“Carpenter has experience in all aspects of regulations and licensing, as well as compliance,” said Mark Michalko, NC Education Lottery executive director, in a press release.

“We’re pleased to have someone with Carpenter’s experience and expertise leading this new gaming program in our state.”

A Strategic Hire for a New Market

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission announced the appointment of Carpenter late last week, highlighting his extensive experience in all aspects of regulations, licensing, and compliance.

Carpenter’s appointment comes at a crucial time for North Carolina, as it aims to get a full market up and running in just six months.

The state is expected to allow up to 12 commercial online sportsbooks to operate, as well eight retail betting venues. But uniquely for the U.S., the two operations aren’t required to partner, and retail books will only be allowed at sporting venues with 50,000 or more capacity.

Carpenter’s experience at the Massachusetts regulator will be invaluable, as North Carolina navigates the complexities of its own unique take on sports betting market rules.

If he continues policies anything like his past employer, North Carolina’s books will be in for a good deal of scrutiny from launch. The MGC has been one of the most active state gambling regulators in the country since launching its market in January. It has been unafraid to introduce controversial new rules, dish out several fines, and generally take operators to task over exact regulations.

Timeline to Launch

The state’s sports betting market is expected to open as early as January 2024, with the new law stipulating that sportsbooks should begin operating by June 14 at the latest.

While the exact time line for the launch remains uncertain, the appointment of Carpenter signals North Carolina’s commitment to ensuring a smooth and well-regulated introduction of sports betting.

Currently, only the state’s three tribal casinos offer sports betting. No operators have been confirmed as of yet. But with predictions of a market worth $100 million a year at maturity, there will no doubt be many interested parties.

Any interested online operator that is approved for a North Carolina license will pay a $1 million license fee and a 18% flat tax on gross revenues. Retails books will pay $50,000 for a five-year license, reflecting their expected market disadvantage under the national dominance of online sports betting over retail books.

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