CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's one thing to cheer on your favorite team, but what if you could legally bet on them? North Carolina's governor upped the ante as he signed a bill to take a closer look at sports gambling.
"I'm so happy that it's back," said Garrett Vaughn as he watched the first NFL football game of the season at Mac's Speed Shop in South End on Thursday.
"I'm really excited for the NFL to be back," added Randy Miller, another football fan.
Their excitement is also growing for the talks of sports gambling.
"It gives me a little extra interest, right? It gives me an extra win or loss in the game," said Miller.
Even some who don't gamble are on board.
"Not a big gambler but if people want to spend their money in that way, that should be their right," said Jeff Bell, a football fan.
But sports fans in North Carolina could be inching closer to putting their money where their mouth is.
Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill on Thursday, creating a study into sports gambling for North Carolina. It would look into how much it could bring to the state, the positive and negative impacts, and how it would be regulated.
Currently, more than a dozen states allow sports betting after the Supreme Court gave the power to the states to decide for themselves in a 2018 decision.
North Carolina's neighboring states don't allow sports gambling yet either, except for Tennessee, where online sports betting is legal. Virginia and South Carolina have bills that have been introduced regarding sports betting.
"I don't understand why you have to go to a certain state to place any bets or anything like that," Vaughn said.
Although there could be millions, even billions in financial gains, some aren't cheering it on.
"The more time that's spent developing your strategy to place your bets, in my opinion, the bigger the problem an individual may have," said Craig Johnson, an addiction specialist.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has until April 15, 2020 to complete the study, according to the legislation.