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North Carolina issues eight online sports betting licences ahead of launch

| By Kyle Goldsmith
With less than two weeks to go until online sports betting goes live in the state, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission has awarded eight interactive sports wagering licences to operators.
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Sports betting will launch in North Carolina on 11 March. This is after the state’s governor, Roy Cooper, signed House Bill 347 into law last year.

Among the approved licensees are heavy-hitters such as FanDuel and DraftKings. Fanatics, Bet365, BetMGM, ESPN Bet and Underdog are also set to launch in the state.

Operators who sought approval to offer sports betting in the state had to partner with a sports team, league or venue within North Carolina. That led to a flurry of deals as operators looked to secure entry into the state.

For instance, DraftKings partnered with stock-car racing series Nascar, while BetMGM teamed up with the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the state. ESPN Bet gained entry to North Carolina by signing a major PGA Tour deal to become the official betting operators of the Wells Fargo Championship, held in the state.

Probably the least well-known brand to launch is Underdog, with North Carolina being its first sports betting licence after expanding from its position as a paid fantasy sports operator. It has managed to do this thanks to a partnership with McConnell Golf.

Caesars Entertainment, meanwhile, signed a tribal deal, expanding its relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). However, with the EBCI still waiting for approval as an operator, Caesars has only received a service provider licence.

Only seven operators were initially named on the Commission’s approved list. However, later on Thursday, an enterprise of the EBCI called the Tribal Gaming Casino Enterprise was added. The EBCI already has land-based sports betting at its casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.                                           

11 March the big day for sports betting in North Carolina

Players in North Carolina can register and begin deposits from 12pm ET on 1 March (Friday).

Companies who have received a sports wagering supplier’s licence ahead of 11 March include GeoComply, SBTech and Sportradar.

Earlier this month, the Commission approved a voluntary self-exclusion programme for North Carolina residents. It forms part of the NC Problem Gambling Programme, which offers gambling harm prevention, education and services. House Bill 347 stipulated that an additional $2m (£1.6m/€1.9m) per year would be allocated to the programme in order to expand it.

Players can submit a voluntary self-exclusion enrolment form on the Commission’s website. Players can choose to self-exclude for one year, three years, five years or for their lifetime. Following this, players will be unable to place bets online, in a retail sportsbook or place bets on horses. Any winnings that may occur will be surrendered.

North Carolina will be the 30th US state to offer online sports betting. Tax has been set at 18% of each licence holder’s gross gaming revenue. This was previously 14%, however it was later amended in the senate.

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