North Carolina Sports Betting Won’t Be Ready for Super Bowl 2024, Regulators Confirm
The upcoming North Carolina sports betting market is facing further delays, state regulators confirmed this week. Legal wagering will not be available in time for Super Bowl LVIII, which is set to take place February 11, 2024.
This announcement will be a disappointment for football betting North Carolinians, who would have been looking forward to legal wagering on the biggest event of the U.S. sporting calendar.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission is in the midst of a thorough preparation phase to ensure a responsible and compliant launch of sports betting in the state.
Lottery Commission Chairman Ripley Rand spoke at a commission meeting this week, stating that extensive work remains to be done. That includes the approval of sports betting rules, operator approvals, testing completion, and the finalization of the sports catalogue.
However, he also confirmed the disappointing news that the market would not be ready for the NFL’s headline match.
“We know people are excited. One question I know I have gotten a number of times … is whether sports betting will be up and running in time for the Super Bowl,” Rand said.
“While the commission is committed to making sports betting available in an effective manner as quickly as we can, with all the remaining work to be done, that unfortunately won’t be the case.”
Application Process for Operators
Earlier in November, the Commission confirmed it would not be reaching its previously stated January 8, 2024 target for the launch of North Carolina sports betting.
Despite that disappointment, regulators confirmed at Wednesdays meeting that they are making moves towards the ultimate June 15 deadline that Governor Roy Cooper signed into law earlier this year.
The commission is set to open the sports betting license application process for potential operators soon, with a deadline of December 27, 2023 for all submissions.
This deadline is crucial, as any applications received after this date will not be eligible for the state’s initial launch. The application process is expected to draw hundreds of applications, each running into thousands of pages, underscoring the complexity and scale of the regulatory undertaking.
To further complicate matters, each sports betting operator looking to launch first has to partner with a sports team in the state. Although, on the plus side for operators, that will also see North Carolina retail sportsbooks inside or at sports stadiums, which isn’t possible in all state markets.
One operator has already confirmed interest in the market – British operator Bet365. The fast-expanding sportsbook this month announced it has partnered with North Carolina’s Charlotte Hornets NBA team. This deal is not only promotional, but also the first step in the operator’s market application process.
Following the application submissions, the commission will initiate a 60-day review period to conduct comprehensive background checks on each applicant. An additional 30-day extension is possible if needed. This meticulous review process is integral to ensuring the integrity and compliance of operators within the state’s regulatory framework.
Challenges and Community Expectations
The delay in launching online sports betting means that North Carolina will miss the opportunity to capitalize on the high-profile Super Bowl event, traditionally a peak period for U.S sports betting. During the meeting, Rand emphasized that the Lottery Commission does not control all aspects of the sports betting launch process.
Deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting Sterl Carpenter also stressed the complex nature of the undertaking.
“Because of the variables involved in this process, it is too early to set a date to start sports betting in North Carolina,” he said.
The commission’s cautious approach, while ensuring compliance and integrity, also highlights the long and complex process of getting a market launched.
One Commission member jokingly suggested that a January or February launch would require the Commission to meet every day to get the job done.
“Thank you…for clarifying that this would not all be done by Jan. 8, otherwise we would be probably meeting daily instead of weekly to get all that done,” Commissioner Cari Boyce said.
Related: Gridiron Glory online slot, reviewed and rated