June 9, 2023 1:01 am

CHARLOTTE — This week, Senate lawmakers advanced a bill legalizing sports betting.

It will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee next week and could be brought up for a floor vote soon.

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Among the changes from the House-passed sports betting bill include a higher tax on sports wagering operators and funds for UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University and App State University. Senate lawmakers also changed the bill to allow pool betting on horse races and the placing of cash bets inside large-stadium venues. One of those venues is the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is hosting the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.

If sports betting is legalized, NASCAR fans will be able to place bets on next year’s Coca Cola 600. Sports wagering would go into effect on Jan. 8.

Black Mountain NASCAR fan Lisa Summey is a Kyle Busch supporter. She’s pulling for him at this year’s Coca Cola 600 and says she is willing to put her money where her mouth is. She’s hopeful North Carolina will legalize sports wagering.

“Why not?” she said. “You can go to Vegas and bet so why not North Carolina?”

Opponents worry about the proliferation of gambling and believe it will cause more harm than good.

The Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League told Senate lawmakers that, “All the money in the world that we might gain from this bill … can never replace the virtues that will be diminished because of its legalization.”

Supporters say North Carolina is missing out on a revenue stream. Neighboring Tennessee and Virginia have already passed it.

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

VIDEO: Mobile sports betting in NC: Where would the money go if it becomes legal?

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