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Newly Proposed North Carolina Budget Alters Sports Betting Licensing Rules

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Sep 19, 2023 · 6:48 AM PDT

First overall pick Bryce Young is making his NFL debut Sunday for the Carolina Panthers against the Atlanta Falcons
Aug 25, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) runs on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
  • A proposed North Carolina budget includes language that changes the sports betting licensing requirements
  • If approved, sports betting operators must partner with a professional sports team or a sports facility, NASCAR track, motor sports facility, or PGA Tour course
  • Each operator must have a “written designation agreement” before applying for a license

North Carolina sports betting is not close to being launched, but could already be facing some major changes.

As first reported by Brian Murphy of WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, a newly proposed version of the state’s $30 million budget includes language that drastically alters the way North Carolina sports betting operators would be licensed.

Under the new language, sports betting operators hoping to receive a license must have a “written designation agreement,” or partnership, with a professional sports team, sports facility, NASCAR track, or PGA Tour golf course to be considered.

Big Proposed Changes to Licensing Process

Under the bill signed by Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on June 14, 2023, North Carolina will allow 12 online sports betting licenses and allows brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at eight “places of public accommodation” throughout the state.

The new wording included in the propsed budget strikes the maximum amount of online sports betting licenses from the budget and clarifies that the Lottery Commission “shall only license interactive sports wagering operators who have a written designation agreement” with a professional sports franchise, owner of a sports facility, motor sports facility, NASCAR track, or PGA Tour course in the state.

It’s unclear in this version of the budget if the allowable licenses in the state will remain at 12.

The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will remain in the budget, but the operators partnered with their respective facilities are expected to run the retail sportsbook as well.

The eight facilities eligible to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are PNC Arena in Raleigh, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, Bank of America Stadium and Spectrum Center in Charlotte, Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro and Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.

The North Carolina Lottery Commission has not yet begun accepting online sports betting license applications, but the change in licensing requirements is a massive alteration from what was originally approved. Operators will have to work out these “designation agreements” with teams and facilities before even applying for a license.

The commission has a scheduled meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 12:30 p.m. and could perhaps address this new proposed licensing change.

North Carolina Sports Betting Timeline

North Carolina sports betting can launch as early as Jan. 8, 2024, or as late as June 15.

The commission must still draft sports betting rules and regulation, begin accepting sports betting license applications, and award those licenses before it can begin to formulate a launch date.

To help educate North Carolina residents on the timeline, licensing, and where sports betting revenue is distributed, the commission has published a new website to help provide information for interested individuals.

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