North Carolina’s Sports Betting Rules Proposal Submitted, New Fantasy Sports Regulations Included

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North Carolina’s gambling regulators have convened to lay down the first set of proposed rules for the upcoming launch of sports betting in the Tar Heel state.

In a meeting on Tuesday, board members of The North Carolina Lottery Commission met to agree on a preliminary rule set. In a meeting that lasted just 30 minutes, state officials agreed on a set of technical sports betting definitions and some details of the licensing process.

As well as the upcoming North Carolina sports betting rules, the Commission also clarified some definitions relating to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operations. The rise of Pick ‘Em prop bets as an option at DFS sites in North Carolina and across the U.S. has not gone unnoticed by lawmakers.

Regulators for New York sports betting and lawmakers in Florida are among those to have made moves against operators offering pick ‘em games. Now it looks like North Carolina may be heading in the same direction.

As well as a preview of its rule set for sports betting, the Commission’s deputy executive of gaming compliance and sports betting, Sterl Carpenter, also updated everybody on the time line for launch. Mid-June 2024 is the date written into legislation, and Carpenter believes everything will be ready for that time.

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

Defining Fantasy Sports

One of the key events of the meeting was an agreed new definition for fantasy sports, aiming to provide clarity on what constitutes such contests in the state.

Fantasy contests are now concretely defined as games where outcomes are determined predominantly by the accumulated statistical results of individual performances, such as athletes in sporting events. However, the definition also explicitly excludes contests based on proposition wagering, or those that mimic other forms of sports betting. This includes games where users pick whether a player will exceed a given statistical achievement.

Furthermore, the regulations stipulate that fantasy contests should not involve games where an individual chooses if individuals or a single real-world team will surpass a statistical achievement.

Additionally, contests where a participant submits a team without their knowledge, skill, input, or control are excluded. The rules also state that a player should not submit a team consisting of a single individual, an entire roster of a real-world team, or solely members of the same real-world team. Lastly, a fantasy player must compete against at least one other player.

This clear delineation seeks to differentiate traditional fantasy sports from prop-style fantasy games. Currently, daily fantasy sports operate in North Carolina without regulation, including several sites that offer pick-style fantasy contests.

Related: The best online casinos in North Carolina, rated and reviewed

Feedback and Future Steps

Regarding all the new rules for sports betting and DFS, stakeholders and interested parties have until November 1 to submit their written comments to the Commission.

Additionally, a public hearing is scheduled for October 27 in state capital Raleigh, where feedback on the proposed regulations will be heard.

Once these regulations are ratified, they are expected to come into effect on January 8, 2024. The initial set of rules also delves into the specifics of the licensing process for applicants that were already known.

For example, North Carolina retail sportsbooks will have to partner with sports franchises in the state before being considered for a license. This change, made last month, means that only seven licenses will be granted, rather than the initially predicted 12.

Regardless, North Carolina’s bettors will be happy to know that efforts to get the market ready for 2024 were not held up by the unsuccessful attempt to include legislation for three potential North Carolina casino venues in last month’s long-delayed state budget.

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