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Restaurants want to level the playing when it comes to selling alcohol

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Some restaurants are upset over alcohol sales before Sunday Panthers' games. They don't understand why Bank of America gets to sell alcohol at 11 a.m. and restaurants have to wait an hour later.

"You're losing customers," French Quarter Manager Angelo Tsepelis said. "You can't serve a Bloody Mary at 10 o'clock in the morning on Football Day."

The issue is for football games that start at 1 p.m. Restaurant owners want to cash in on this weekend's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Tsepelis says customers don't want to wait until noon to have a drink at the restaurant. He says that's too late. Customers are heading to the game by that time.

"The City of Charlotte is losing a lot of money," Tsepelis said. "A lot of revenue."

Tsepelis clams if the restaurant he manages sold alcohol early, it would triple his sales. He is not alone in his frustrations. The co-owner of Belfast Mill Irish Pub, Bill Carroll, says his out of town customers say North Carolina is behind the times.

"They'll come by," Carroll said. "And when we have to say we can't serve until 12 o'clock, they are surprised about it, because they do see it in other cities where they can."

North Carolina ABC officials say it's the law. The law allows Bank of America stadium to sell alcohol early and mandates restaurants begin serving at Noon on Sundays.

"I think it should be changed to at least 11 or 10 o'clock," Tsepelis said. "In the inner city limits of I-77 on football games."

It would take an act of the General Assembly to overturn the law. Tsepelis says he will continue to fight this matter until in his eyes restaurants are being treated fairly.

State officials say they allow Bank of America to sell alcohol early because of its size.

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