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North Carolina Considering Major Changes to Sports Betting Licensing Ahead of Launch

Written by: Michael Savio
Published September 20, 2023
6 min read
North Carolina Changes to Sports Betting Licensing

While North Carolina's launch of legal sports betting is still a few months away, the state is already considering an overhaul of its licensing rules. The state’s current sports betting law, signed off on by Governor Roy Cooper in June, limits the number of online sportsbook licenses to 12. However, a new budget proposal would eliminate the cap of 12 licenses and require operators to partner with a pro sports team or venue owner. This would be a significant change while the ink is still drying on the original bill, but the move is far from guaranteed.

Budget talks in the Tar Heel state have reached a standstill, putting potential sports betting changes on hold. The biggest reason for the standoff is the budget’s inclusion of the expansion of online gambling. There has been a big push to bring online casinos to North Carolina, but it has been met with fierce opposition. The issue is so controversial that both sides refuse to compromise, delaying the entire budget.

“It’s outrageous that casinos alone are holding up the entire state budget,” Governor Cooper said of the budget standoff. “It’s holding up investments in our public schools, health care and mental health, law enforcement, state employees, and community colleges, and it’s wrong.”

There are no signs this standoff will end soon, which means North Carolina’s sports betting launch could be delayed further into 2024. While the North Carolina Lottery Commission could potentially be hearing bids, they will be forced to wait until the budget is passed due to the drastic changes to the licensing process.

Licensing Changes Would Hand Power to Pro Sports

If the new budget is passed with the sports betting licensing changes, it would be a drastic departure from the process used by the majority of sports betting states. While the North Carolina Lottery Commission would still be the state’s top regulator, it would make pro sports teams and venues the main entry point for operators. That means each can negotiate directly with the operator, finalizing a deal before getting the state to approve the license.

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Michael Savio

504 Articles

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.

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