In North Carolina, sports betting enthusiasts are on the edge of their seats, anticipating the green light to legally engage in online sports wagering. This eagerly awaited development hinges on a series of critical preparatory steps. On a recent Wednesday morning, the North Carolina Lottery Commission accomplished one such vital step.
The commission not only approved two independent testing labs for prospective online sportsbook operators but also set a submission deadline for compliance certificates from these labs. This decision marks significant progress, especially considering the involvement of tribal casino operators in the state’s emerging legal online sports betting framework.
Selection of Independent Labs for North Carolina’s Online Sportsbooks
The role of independent testing is paramount in the regulatory process for online sportsbooks, ensuring adherence to both state and federal regulations. Prospective operators, or online sportsbook brands, must first acquire a compliance certificate from one of these designated labs to be eligible for a license in North Carolina.
On Jan. 10, the North Carolina Lottery Commission authorized two testing labs for this purpose: BMM Test Labs and Gaming Laboratories International. This approval allows operator applicants to commence the certification process with these trusted labs, both of which are well-regarded and familiar due to their involvement in other state launches.
During the commission’s meeting, Sterl Carpenter, the Deputy Executive Director of Gaming Compliance and Sports Betting, expressed the commission’s expectation to receive compliance certificates from applicants by Jan. 26.
Since the commission’s latest report, the list of potential licensees has expanded by two, names likely already known to North Carolina bettors.
Tribal Casino Operators Submitting Online Sports Betting License Applications
Carpenter also revealed that complete online sports betting license applications have been received from both of the state’s tribal casino operators: the Catawba Indian Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has an established relationship with Caesars Sportsbook for retail operations, suggesting the possibility of Caesars’ online app debuting in North Carolina, subject to regulatory clearance.
Conversely, the Catawba Indian Nation, with no existing partnership with external entities, has applied under the branding consistent with its land-based sportsbook and casino. This move indicates the Catawba’s intent to independently venture into online sports betting in the state. The addition of these applications potentially brings the number of legal online sports betting options in North Carolina to as many as nine, including:
- ESPN Bet
- Underdog Sports
- Catawba Two Kings
While the precise timeline for the launch of online sportsbooks in North Carolina remains undetermined, the recent approval of testing labs is a critical advancement. With compliance certificates expected soon, the possibility of launching these platforms in time for March Madness 2024 is increasingly likely.
Anticipating the Economic Impact of Online Sports Betting in North Carolina
As North Carolina edges closer to launching online sports betting, there’s growing curiosity about its potential economic impact. The introduction of major players like Caesars, BetMGM, and DraftKings, among others, could significantly boost state revenues through licensing fees and taxes. This influx of funds has the potential to support public sectors such as education and infrastructure. Additionally, the creation of new jobs within the sports betting industry could invigorate the local economy. The success of online sports betting in other states suggests a promising financial outlook for North Carolina once these platforms go live.
The advancement in North Carolina’s online sports betting scene, marked by the approval of testing labs and the influx of applications from major operators, signals a transformative phase for the state. It’s not just about legal sports wagering; it’s about the economic uplift and employment opportunities that come with it. With the industry’s launch potentially coinciding with major sporting events like March Madness 2024, North Carolina is poised to make significant strides in this burgeoning sector.