North Carolina sports betting committee opens consultation on draft regulations

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The North Carolina Lottery Commission’s sports betting committee has unanimously voted through a second round of proposed regulations to govern the market set to open in the first half of 2024.

In a meeting yesterday, the commission unanimously voted in favor of publishing the 256-page document, which details the proposals for the regulations of the state’s entire sports betting framework, including responsible gambling duties, marketing standards and technical requirements. 

The committee officially opened up a round of public consultation on the document, welcoming the input of a range of sports betting stakeholders on how best to redraft the rules to effectively regulate the market. 

The consultation is open until November 27 and interested parties may add comments via a form or verbally at a public hearing hosted by the committee on November 20. The hearing allows stakeholders to debate the regulations, with each speaker allowed up to around three minutes. 

North Carolina sports betting regs ban “risk-free” and “free” from ads

Inside the regulatory proposals, the committee has moved to ban terms such as “risk-free” and “free” from marketing materials, unless there is no material risk to the player or their actual cash. This cements into regulations generally accepted industry standards after the American Gaming Association updated its marketing standards earlier this year mirroring this stance. 

Meanwhile, operators are obliged to publish a responsible gaming report to the regulator in which they are required to explain how they will protect players and provide support. Other RG requirements include offering access to the voluntary self-exclusion list; providing the regulator’s official problem gambling hotline number on the sportsbook app and ads, and including responsible gambling tools on platforms such as deposit limits and time-out periods.

The regulations also limit what operators can do on their marketing strategies by mandating that adverts cannot “contain images, symbols, celebrity or entertainer endorsements, music, or language that have been used in connection with media or other programming specifically targeted at underage persons.”

Further, sportsbook ads cannot be placed on or at events where “25% or more of the audience is reasonably expected to be underaged persons; at any elementary, middle, or high school, or at any sports venue exclusively used for such schools; or on any college or university campus, or in college or university news outlets such as school newspapers and college or university radio or television broadcasts”.

The regulations also confirm details contained in the legislation passed earlier this year, including the requirements for a written designated agreement with one of the sports teams in the Tar Heel State, as well as that licenses will be offered in a five-year term for $1m per operator. 

What happens next and when will North Carolina go live? 

The consultation period has opened, giving stakeholders nearly three weeks to have input on the regulations. 

Committee members did not give any information about the date that sports betting will go live in North Carolina, however, the legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper stipulates that the market could go live from January 8, 2024 and must be live before June 8, 2024. 

HB347 allows 10-12 online sportsbooks to launch in the state as well as eight retail venues such as sports arenas. Operators will be taxed 18% on online gross revenue, but no deductions will be made for promotional credit or bonus bets.