North Carolina removes naming rights restrictions as sports betting application window opens

December 7, 2023 2:00 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Conor Murphy, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
December 7, 2023 2:00 PM
  • Conor Murphy, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
  • North Carolina

The North Carolina Lottery Commission sports betting committee has approved rule changes to allow legal sports betting operators to apply for naming rights at NC sports venues. The new regulations will be included in the second sports betting rules proposal for North Carolina.

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Under the previous rules, sports betting operators could partner with local sports teams, with notable agreements including bet365’s deal with the Charlotte Hornets. However, while these partnerships could be agreed upon, no sportsbook advertising was allowed to appear at any sports venues. Now this requirement has been removed, bet365 branding will be featured at the Hornets’ Spectrum Center.

The changes came amid a round of public comments welcomed on the sports committee’s second rules proposal from early November. The public comment window was open until November 27, with a public hearing on November 20.

However, the North Carolina Lottery Commission must confirm the new rules, with a meeting scheduled on December 13. An agenda has yet to be released for this, so there is no confirmation whether the new naming rights regulations will be discussed.

Online sports betting was legalized in the Tar Heel State when Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 347 in June 2023. The law becomes effective on January 8, 2024, but that doesn’t mean the online betting industry will launch on this date. In fact, it’s likely online sports betting won’t launch in January. Regulators must approve online operators to launch within the 12 months following this date.

A maximum of 12 online sportsbooks and eight retail locations at sports venues can launch in the state. Even with the previous naming rights regulations, retail sportsbooks were always intended to open at NC sports venues. Retail sports betting is already available in NC, with three Native American land-based casinos supporting in-person betting.