RALEIGH – North Carolina will soon be home to Vegas-style gambling.

The General Assembly gave final approval and Gov. Bev Perdue immediately signed off on a new law that will expand gaming on the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s land in western North Carolina.

That means live dealers could be on the casino floor in a matter of weeks.

A final vote in the state Senate before being sent to Perdue by special messenger, who immediately got out her pens to sign this legislation into law.

“It is a good day for the Cherokee,” said Perdue. “It is a great day for western North carolina and it’s a great day for North Carolina.”

The new law said that class-three gaming is now legal on the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s land in western North Carolina. The Qualla Boundary and the region surrounding it have long struggled with a bad economy and high unemployment.

This law could mean 400 new jobs immediately.

“We’re hoping for the next holiday, July 4th, and we are going to do everything we can to meet that,” said Chief Mitchell Hicks.

What will happen is machines that currently sit on the casino floor will be replaced with live dealers, giving the casino more a Vegas-style gambling feel. This change is expected to bring a lot more visitors to western North Carolina.

“It’s a relief to know that we have finally accomplished what we set out nine years ago to do,” said Hicks. “I don’t think the emotions have really set in yet, of what we have been able to accomplish for the people of our tribe and the people of North Carolina.”

This expansion did not come easily. There were many state leaders who questioned any sort of gambling expansion, saying it could lead to more addiction and more crime.

Perdue said in the end she believes this will do more good than anything else.

“I was a deciding vote in the lottery. I am still proud every time I see that check that puts money into North Carolina classrooms,” said Perdue.

The U.S. Department of the Interior still needs to sign off on this expansion. Under the new agreement, two additional casinos could be built on the Cherokee’s land.