The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has given the green light for online sports betting operators, suppliers, and providers to apply for licenses in the state. This means the state is one step closer to launching its legal sports betting market, following the signing of House Bill 347 into law by Governor Roy Cooper in June.

The approval of applications for sports betting licensure means that operators can now begin the application process. However, the launch date for the market has yet to be confirmed, as the Commission will need to review all applications and supporting information. This, along with background checks and the completion of internal control details, will determine the launch date.

The Commission has a 60-day review period for each application, and operators will have 10 days to make any changes that are flagged. In addition to the application review, the Commission also needs to finalize its sports betting rules. The rulemaking process began in October, and a deadline of January 8 next year has been set for the finalization of the rules.

Despite the progress made, the exact date when betting will begin in North Carolina is still uncertain. Commission chair Ripley Rand stated that there are a number of factors at play, and the approval of applications is just one step in moving the process forward. He hopes that applications will be filed with the Commission before December 27 and that the review process can be completed by June 2024.

Cari Boyce, chair of the Commission’s Sports Betting Committee, emphasized the importance of ensuring a fair and responsible market in North Carolina. While the final set of sports betting rules is yet to be confirmed, several measures were set out in the bill. These include allowing bets across college sports, esports, and other sports matches authorized by the Commission.

The tax rate for license holders has been set at 18% of their gross gaming revenue, with $2 million annually being allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund treatment and education for gambling addiction. Operators will also need a written designation agreement with a sports team, league, or venue in order to launch sports betting. Overall, the approval of applications marks significant progress towards the establishment of a legal sports betting market in North Carolina.

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