HomeNorth Carolina State Lottery Commission

With the recent launch of sports betting in North Carolina, it begs the question “Who is holding sportsbooks accountable and ensuring gambling activities are safe and fair?”

That’s where the North Carolina State Lottery Commission (NCSLC) comes into play. In this piece, we’ll take a look at the functions of the commission, as well as its impact on North Carolina as a whole.

What is the North Carolina State Lottery Commission?

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission is a nine-member agency tasked with regulating sports betting, horse race betting, and lottery gaming in NC. The commission was established in 2005 following the passage of the North Carolina State Lottery Act.

Additional NCSLC duties involve promoting responsible gambling practices, licensing approved gambling operators, and conducting audits of those operators to ensure betting activities are being run with integrity and safety.

What forms of gambling does the North Carolina State Lottery Commission regulate?

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission regulates the following forms of gambling:

  • Lottery games
  • Retail sports betting
  • Online sports gambling
  • Horse race betting
  • Slot machines

Does the North Carolina State Lottery Commission regulate online casino gaming?

No, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission does not regulate NC online casino gaming. This is because online casino gaming is still illegal under state law, and that status is unlikely to change any time soon.

North Carolina has taken a very restrictive approach to gambling throughout the state’s history; the state lottery was only implemented in 2005. Online sports betting launched on March 11, 2024, and casino gaming is still limited to the state’s three tribal casinos (Catawba Two Kings Casino in King’s Mountain, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River in Murphy).

Should legislative momentum change dramatically around the practice of online casino gaming, it’s possible the North Carolina State Lottery Commission would assume regulatory responsibility, building on its oversight of online sports betting.

How can one apply for a gambling license in North Carolina?

Individuals do not need to apply for a gambling license in North Carolina; only companies that are offering sports betting need to apply for a license (tribal casino gaming is a different can of worms).

There are three categories of sports betting licenses in North Carolina: interactive sports wagering operators licenses, service providers licenses, and sports wagering suppliers licenses. While the North Carolina State Lottery Commission is still accepting applications, there is no timetable for the approval of new operators.

How does the North Carolina State Lottery Commission ensure responsible gambling practices?

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission ensures responsible gambling practices in the following ways:

  • Maintaining a voluntary self-exclusion program to block would-be gamblers from participation in betting activities
  • Connecting those who are at risk of developing a gambling addiction with trained, licensed clinicians and counseling services
  • Providing responsible gambling education programs to betting operators
  • Ensuring sports betting marketing does not target underage individuals and high-risk groups
  • Promoting other responsible gambling efforts

What are the penalties for violating gaming regulations in North Carolina?

The penalties for violating gaming regulations in North Carolina will vary depending on the nature of the violation as well as the offending party. For example, state law dictates “any person or organization to operate a game of chance or to play or bet on any game of chance that involves winning money, property or anything of value” to be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, other offenses, either by gamblers or betting operators, can result in fines or felony charges.

How does the North Carolina State Lottery Commission contribute to the state's economy?

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission contributes to the state’s economy by collecting tax revenues from gambling operators and distributing those funds to worthwhile causes across NC. These include specific funds for education, gambling addiction prevention and treatment, public health and safety initiatives, and programs like the North Carolina Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission.