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'Make it safe for our citizens, and gain the revenue' | The Carolinas are consider legalizing online sports betting

North and South Carolina lawmakers believe sports betting could bring much needed revenue to their states

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — With the Super Bowl just days away, many are planning on how they want to bet on the big game -- but in North Carolina and South Carolina, your ability to do sports betting legally is limited.

Right now, 30 states have already legalized sports betting; 19 of those allow online sports gambling.

NC Senate Bill 688 was recently approved by the Senate and now sits in the State House awaiting its next steps. With final approval, the bill could allow online sports gambling in the Tar Heel State.

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Lawmakers in support of the bill say illegal gambling is already happening in the state and this is the chance to take legal control of it.

“Look at this particular bill as a vehicle to regulate it, make it safe for our citizens, and gain the revenue that comes from that," Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) said.

In its current draft, the online gambling bill could create about $20 million for the state. Those opposed say that's not enough to win their support. 

“Really not much to move the needle on policy in North Carolina and it puts a lot of jeopardy on the citizens," Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance, Guilford) said.

Galey also worries easy gambling access could become addictive.

“With sports betting you will have the casino in your pocket," Galey said. "You can do it on your couch any time and I just think that really opens up a whole new world for behavior that might be destructive to them."

In a tweet on Thursday, Joe Cunningham, a candidate for South Carolina governor, announced his support of sports betting in the Palmetto State for the sake of more money and liberty.

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”This is about bringing in a new business," Cunningham said. "It’s about allowing people to bet on a game if they want to and generating some revenue in the process.”

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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