North Carolina’s Sports Betting Operator Licensing Process Begins

The application and approval process for prospective sports betting operators and providers began Friday in the state of North Carolina.

Dec 1, 2023 • 14:58 ET • 4 min read
Armando Bacot NCAAB North Carolina
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The application and approval process to operate an online legal sports betting site and retail sportsbook is underway in North Carolina. 

The license webpage at went active on Friday for sports betting operators, suppliers, and providers looking to do business in the Tar Heel State. 

The North Carolina Lottery Commission approved the sports wagering license application process on Wednesday, and it would like to have applicants complete it by Dec. 27. 

The commission said it will take roughly 60 days to complete background checks and approve licenses. That means online sports betting won’t be live in North Carolina in time for the Super Bowl, and while a date won’t be announced until early 2024, March Madness in a basketball-centric state appears to be a realistic possibility. 

Guidelines to go live

North Carolina regulators expect “hundreds” of applications through their website, which could affect how long it takes to complete the process. So could how quickly and efficiently operators do their part.

To help reach a “go live” date as soon as possible, the commission released several other guidelines for interested parties:

  • Obtain a “written designation agreement” that will accompany operators’ applications. These agreements are a unique requirement in North Carolina’s sports betting law. They are private business agreements that must be established between an operator applicant and a sports team, a sports league, or venue.
  • Submit requests for background checks early.
  • Be ready to show full compliance with rules and show internal control systems are in place to protect bettors.
  • Demonstrate a responsible gaming program has been established and is ready to go. 

Applicants will also have to complete internal control checks and obtain a testing lab certification. 

Working through the process

Since Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law in June for Jan. 8, 2024, to be the date it goes into effect, the commission and sports betting committee have worked to create wagering rules and licensing protocols. 

The commission still has to approve a second set of sports wagering rules put together by the committee, another major step in determining a “go live” date. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6. 

That’s another step in getting online sports betting active in one of the top 10 most populous states in the U.S. Currently, in-person sports wagering is only allowed at three N.C. tribal casinos. 

Once the commission completes the licensing and activation process, the state can approve as many as 12 online operating licenses. 

Eight sports venues, including the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of American Stadium, the Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Center, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, can facilitate retail sportsbooks inside or adjacent to the venue. 

Operators will pay a $1 million fee for being licensed for five years, and the state will charge an 18% tax on sportsbooks’ winnings that will go to various funds, including a gambling addiction program. 

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