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July 6 / Thursday

Gov. Cooper signs sports betting bill at Spectrum Center

CHARLOTTE — You can soon place bets right from your phone.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper headed to Charlotte’s Spectrum Center on Wednesday to sign the bill, which legalizes mobile sports betting.

Now that the bill is signed, you’ll be able to bet from your phone and in person at eight facilities across the state. Half of those are in the Charlotte area.

The law allows bets on college, professional and other sports at places like the Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.

“This legislation provides funding for treatment and prevention for people with addiction and gambling problems,” Gov. Cooper added. “Look this is a very real thing, and it exists now. We already know, sports gambling is going on now in our state, this gives us the opportunity to put up safeguards.”

Supporters say the betting bill will provide North Carolina with a major revenue stream.

NASCAR fans Channel 9 spoke with at the Coca-Cola 600 last month said this is long overdue.

“I have been waiting a long time for sports betting to come here, that way you can bet on races,” Jeremy Taylor said. “If sports betting does come here, it is going to be a good thing.”

“I think it’s a great idea, I think it’s a great idea. Why not?” asked Lisa Summey. “You go to Vegas and bet. Why not in North Carolina?”

Sports betting could start as soon as Jan. 8, but the North Carolina Lottery Commission has up to one year to get it up and running once it’s signed by the governor.

The state could generate about $100 million from sports betting by its fifth year. As Cooper mentioned, that money would go to treatment programs for gambling addictions, youth sports programs, and several public universities including UNC Charlotte.

The remaining money would supply the general fund and provide grants to draw events to the state.

The Charlotte Hornets released a statement about the law, saying, “Today is a very exciting day for sports fans across the state of North Carolina. We are honored that Governor Cooper chose to sign today’s historic sports wagering legislation at Spectrum Center, and we thank him for his leadership regarding this issue. We also would like to thank the members of the North Carolina House and Senate for their vision, effort and support throughout the process. This legislation provides fans another exciting opportunity to engage with their favorite sports.”