Over a year after North Carolina passed legislation to legalize North Carolina sports betting, state residents are still waiting for the first legal wagers to be placed. However, progress continues behind the scenes as more applicants vie for the coveted sports betting operator licenses that will allow them to launch North Carolina sports betting apps and promotional offers like BetMGM North Carolina.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission, which oversees the sports betting licensing process, held a meeting on January 18th, 2023 to receive an update. The meeting echoed last week’s Sports Betting Committee gathering where members approved recommendations for independent testing labs and internal controls documentation from license applicants. The full Commission unanimously approved both measures as the critical infrastructure to launch the industry continues coming together.

The only new information shared was the January 26th deadline now in place for North Carolina sports betting license applicants to submit their internal controls documentation. As Deputy Executive Director of Gaming Compliance and Sports Wagering Sterl Carpenter explained, vetting and approving operators’ internal control processes is a prerequisite before any can receive the formal certificate of compliance for taking bets.

“Operators can wait to see if they receive a license before starting the compliance work, but given the excitement from applicants and the public to get sports betting live, we think reviewing applications and compliance activities can run parallel,” said Carpenter.

This statement ties into Governor Roy Cooper’s comments that the goal remains allowing the first North Carolina sports betting wagers before the tip-off of March Madness. With college basketball’s iconic tournament unveiling the bracket matchups on March 17th, barely two months remain to get systems tested, approved, and launched in time.

New Tribal Entities Apply for Licenses

Carpenter also updated Commission members on the expanding pool of North Carolina sports betting license applicants. Currently, nine sports betting providers have submitted for consideration, including new filings from North Carolina’s two tribal casino operators – the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and Catawba Nation Tribe.

Both tribal groups already oversee sportsbooks at their existent brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the new applications signify their interest in offering online North Carolina sports betting to patrons across North Carolina through statewide mobile licenses.

The tribal entities have not formally announced partners for mobile operations yet. Still, Caesars Entertainment runs the EBCI’s two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos, while Delaware North leads casino gaming for the Catawba’s Two Kings facility. Caesars has already applied for a service provider license in North Carolina, while Delaware North operates the Betly sports betting brand with European tech developer GAMING1.

While many regulatory hurdles remain, the growing list of North Carolina sports betting applicants and steady legislative progress points toward legal real-money and mobile sports wagering finally coming to fruition in North Carolina in 2023. As launch day draws nearer, check us for the latest updates on when and where sports fans can start placing their bets.

✅ Fact Checked on January 27, 2024 by Ken Weaver