Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has confirmed that he will permit a forthcoming budget bill for 2023-25 to pass into law without his endorsement. The legislation bears notable alterations to the impending regulatory standards set to govern the state’s new commercial sports wagering arena.
The budget bill has noteworthy implications for North Carolina’s burgeoning online sports betting sector. The most immediate impact is the diminishing of available online sports betting licenses from the initial twelve to merely seven. However, these betting operations will not commence until sometime after January of 2024.
Earlier this year, Governor Cooper and North Carolina legislators collectively passed House Bill 347. This law provides authority to the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, entrusting them with the establishment of necessary regulations to supervise the expansion of online gaming. The newly orchestrated game plan not only includes online betting but also introduces the possibility of in-person betting at select sports venues.
The sports betting law that Governor Cooper previously signed decrees the Lottery Commission with the power to award up to a dozen online sports wagering licenses once the requisite application guidelines and operation conditions are determined. The industry’s introduction can potentially begin as early as January 8, 2024, but must occur no later than mid-June of the same year. Meanwhile, lottery commissioners, advisors, and consultants are working tirelessly to finalize the regulatory conditions, hoping to pave the way for a swift launch of these sportsbooks.
However, the delayed passage of the state’s budget bill, originally due in June, has added complexities to the regulatory process. Casino discussions were a major point of contention, contributing to a significant delay in passing the General Assembly’s spending plan.
The attempted integration of commercial casinos into the budget bill faced resistance, leading Senate Republicans to abandon the venture after lukewarm support from the House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. Subsequently, a tangible roadblock to the bill’s advancement surfaced with casino considerations, drawing sharp criticism from Governor Cooper, Democrats in Raleigh, and local leaders of areas earmarked for potential casinos.
While the proposal for commercial casinos failed, GOP lawmakers were able to integrate key amendments which impact Lottery writing rules as well as the sportsbook application process. Most notably, future sportsbooks must now secure a “written designation agreement” with a sports betting venue to qualify for a license.
The changes appear poised to ensure that sports teams and venues receive a substantial portion of the proceeds from the sports betting market.
Previously, the sports betting legislation empowered major professional sports venues to operate retail sports betting with self-service wagering kiosks and computer-based counters. As it stands now, an online sportsbook can only seek a license after securing a relationship with one of these specific venues. Each location has the limit of hosting a single sportsbook operator, which cuts the approved dozen down to approximately seven online sportsbook licenses up for grabs in the state.
As North Carolina moves toward the normalization of sports wagering, both in-person and online, there’s growing interest in expanding risk-taking game-play to other internet-based platforms. At the West Island Blog, we highly recommend expanding your gambling experiences from sports risk-taking to exploring the best online casinos. Made readily accessible for those residing in the Tar Heel State, we have sifted and sorted through countless platforms to bring you the top-performing online casinos this month.
Sports betting may be a awakening venture in North Carolina, but legal betting is no stranger to the state. Currently, in-person betting is available at the state’s three tribal casinos. As the lines between sports and other forms of gambling continue to blur, we anticipate a surge of interest in digital wagering platforms, ensuring an exciting period ahead for risk-takers and rewards chasers alike.