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BETTING

North Carolina Regulators Remove DFS Pick’em Ban for Now

Bank of America Stadium Charlotte North Carolina
A general view of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP

Attorneys for two daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies pushed back on regulators who had proposed a ban on the pick’em portion of the sites’ offerings, and their efforts were rewarded as North Carolina regulators delayed instituting the DFS ban on the controversial menu item.

Temporary Reprieve

As long as there are no mobile sports betting operators in the state, then the DFS companies’ pick’em product is bothering no one. However, once sports betting is launched in the Tar Heel State, there will be an uproar among the sports betting platform providers claiming the DFS pick’em offering mimics too closely prop bets that are routinely found at any sportsbook.

“The legislature could have easily adopted the exact same language that the proposed rules have in them and it chose not to do that,” Underdog General Counsel Nicholas Green said. “It chose not to do that knowing full well what the fantasy sports landscape in North Carolina was on the day of passage, in which our company and other companies like ours had been operating for years and offering fantasy contests.”

It has become a popular item on the DFS menu and the state gets a cut of the losses, so rather than turn the revenue spigot off prematurely, the North Carolina sports betting regulators decided to leave it alone for now. Another round of rules is now in a public comment section set to expire on November 27th.

Counselor Green said his side was assured they would not be ignored when the sports betting legislation arose and was disappointed at the regulators’ initial decision.

“The legislature expressly rejected those efforts,” Green said. “The proposed rules reflect a wish list of those folks who are on the other side in the legislative process.”

Nevertheless, it has been revealed Underdog will seek one of the sports betting licenses when the applications are ready to be submitted.

Failure to Launch

The earliest North Carolina could have launched mobile sports betting was on January 8th, 2024, but that has been ruled out according to an exchange at a meeting last week of the state’s regulators.

Commissioner Ripley Rand asked Sterl Carpenter, North Carolina’s deputy executive director for gaming compliance and sports betting, during the meeting: “January 8th is the first date, but probably won’t be the date when betting is authorized?”

“Absolutely correct,” replied Carpenter.

What Now?

Several steps must be taken before digital sports betting gets off the ground and many of them deal with vetting the platform providers themselves. In addition to a thorough investigation of the applicants, they must also submit a list of internal controls and demonstrate that no wagers outside the state or emanating from tribal lands will be accepted. Lastly, a security analysis and responsible gambling plan must be effectuated as well.

A public hearing was scheduled for November 20th, and the public will have until November 27th to comment on the second draft of sports betting rules and regulations in the state. The deadline to launch is June 15th, 2024.

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