Maine Sports Betting

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Maine SportsbettingAlthough nearby states with vibrant online gambling industries have proven the model’s safety and benefits for state government revenue, Maine hasn’t yet managed to pass sports betting legislation. With some recent movement, though, Maine sports betting could be on the horizon. 

A sports betting legalization bill passed both the House and Senate, but Governor Janet Mills delayed her decision on signing the bill. She then promptly vetoed the legislation early the following year.

Without the votes necessary to overturn the veto, sports betting discussion has continued to this day. At the moment, certain legislators and interest groups are pushing for a sports betting model that would not require online casinos and sportsbooks to partner with or be “tethered” to brick-and-mortar casinos or similar organizations.

Let’s take a look at updates for Maine sports betting as it stands today so you’re prepared as future developments unfold.

Timeline Of Maine Sports Betting

  • June 18, 2021:

    In an unexpected turn, the Maine legislature sent LD 1352 to Governor Janet Mills’ desk, giving Maine sports betting another chance at passing.

  • June 7, 2021:

    Three of the four proposed bills are announced as dead. These bills are supporting and address regulation, tax, revenue, and oversight of sports betting in Maine. Maine Bill LD 1352, an Act To Regulate Sports Betting, is kept alive and referred to the Joint Veterans And Legal Affairs Committee.

  • June 1, 2021:

    The Maine state legislature continues to debate the sports betting bills. Gov. Mills and other opponents to sports betting legalization push for a tethering provision, which would require mobile sportsbooks and online casinos to partner with retail operations

  • May 14, 2021:

    Sen Louis Luchini proposes LD 1352, a new kind of sports betting bill that would not require tethering online casinos and sportsbooks to retail operations or brands.

  • April 30, 2021:

    State lawmakers introduce 4 related sports betting bills to cover the regulation and taxation of sports betting apps in Maine.

  • February 7, 2020:

    The Maine House of Representatives did not reach the two-thirds majority of votes necessary to overturn the governor’s veto of the above bill, shelving sports wagering legalization for some time.

  • January 4, 2020:

    Gov. Mills delays deciding on the sports betting bill until Jan 2020, at which point she vetoes the bill, citing concerns about what a lack of sports betting tethering would do to the industry.

Top Sports Betting Sites Likely To Arrive In Maine

At the moment, there aren’t any active sportsbooks in Maine since the activity is illegal in both online and retail contexts. However, a bill like the above LD 1352 or another piece of legislation could be introduced during the current legislative section or the next, once the above groups figure out how to move forward regarding tethering.

Several prominent sportsbook operators and major sports franchises are currently in support of wagering legalization. For example, the NFL has spoken to committees within Maine’s legislature to voice its full support for legal sportsbooks and casinos.

DraftKings and FanDuel, furthermore, already offer daily fantasy sports to Maine residents. Both of these operators cover much of the popular sports wagering market across the country. We expect both operators to pursue licensure if and when the industry finally launches.

Maine currently has four tribal gaming casinos, in addition to two casino racetracks and six off-track betting parlors. Each of these organizations/locations has already announced its intention to partner with online or retail sportsbooks.

So, which sportsbooks are most likely to push for licensure ASAP? They likely include:

Depending on whether online sportsbook operators end up needing partners to offer Maine sports wagering or not, the above list may change.

How To Place A Bet In Maine

No matter how Maine’s future sports betting industry shapes up, you can rest assured that online sports betting apps will be available in one way or another. Let’s break down how you’ll be able to place a bet in Maine once sports wagering is finally legalized.

Choose Your Platform And Download

You’ll first need to select the sports betting platform you want to check out. In all likelihood, you’ll have at least a few options within the first month of sports betting’s official launch, although more options will likely follow the initial leaders in the months after launch.

You can check out this site or the resources to investigate what each sportsbook app has to offer, including the betting lines, odds quality, market depth and variety, and opening bonuses they have to offer.

Regardless, once you choose your platform, you’ll need to download it to your iOS or Android device. The process may be slightly different depending on the book you choose to download.

  • iOS users have it easy; all popular sportsbooks are available on the Apple App Store, so all you have to do is search for the app you want to download and download it to your phone or tablet from that resource.
  • If you’re an Android user, keep in mind that only some mobile sportsbooks are available on the Google Play store. While it’s likely that all legal sportsbooks will be available on this platform eventually, you may need to download your sportsbook of choice from the book’s desktop website rather than the Play Store.

Either way, download your sportsbook and allow it to install automatically. Geolocation software will be installed simultaneously to ensure that you only place wagers within state lines.

Make An Account

Once you’ve downloaded and installed your sportsbook of choice, you’ll be able to make an account after opening it on your mobile device. Each sportsbook will require some basic pieces of personal information to verify your identity. These will include your Social Security number, date of birth, and so on.

If Maine chooses to allow online-only registration (which is the most likely scenario), then you’ll only need to wait a few minutes for the sportsbook’s staff to double-check your information before your account will be complete.

On the other hand, Maine may choose to require in-person registration, especially if it requires online sportsbooks to tether or partner with a land-based casino or racetrack. If this ends up being the case, you’ll need to visit the location partnered with your sportsbook in person to complete the registration process.

Fund The Account

Once your account is made, you’ll only be a few minutes away from being able to place wagers. Fortunately, online sportsbook platforms allow you to fund your account with a variety of deposit methods. The most common of these include credit or debit card deposits, direct bank transfers, electronic wallet deposits through either PayPal or Skrill, and so on.

Note that each sportsbook has different deposit and withdrawal methods.

Don’t forget to take opening or new player bonuses into account as well. Some of these bonuses are dependent on the amount of your initial deposit. For example, DraftKings offers a 20% deposit match bonus of up to $1000 of site credit based on your initial deposit amount. The more money you deposit at first, the more bonus site credit you get to play with.

Similarly, read the fine print for any opening bonus you want to take advantage of. In the above example, you have to play through the site credit 25 times before you can withdraw it as cash.

Start Betting

After funding your account and inputting any promo codes or taking advantage of opening bonuses, simply navigate through your sportsbook and find a betting line that looks attractive. You can then put money down on a sports wager and start making money.

Legal Sportsbooks In Maine

Given that legal sports betting is likely still some months away, it may be tempting to check out offshore or illegal betting sites to get your sports wagering fix in the meantime.

This is never a good idea, however. Offshore and illegal betting sites have a number of serious problems with them including the following:

  • Terrible digital security. In an era where identity theft is more common than ever before, it’s never a wise idea to put your personal information on an offshore or illegal betting site. That’s because offshore sportsbooks can’t protect your personal information from hackers or other cybercriminals, making identity theft much more likely.
  • Bad betting odds. In other words, legal and fair sportsbooks have access to official league data that they can use to formulate player-friendly, enjoyable odds for both underdog and favorite bettors. In contrast, illegal sportsbooks don’t have access to this data and the odds they provide may not be very profitable for either side of a wager.
  • No trust. Lastly, there’s no trust to place in the activities of an offshore sportsbook. If you give them your money, you might as well kiss it goodbye – there’s nothing you can do should they decide to take your money from you and refuse to give it back.

Bottom line: illegal sportsbooks may be tempting in the short term, but you should wait for legal sports wagering in Maine before you put any money down.

Legal sportsbooks directly counter all of the downsides mentioned above. Here are some reasons you should stick to legal betting sites:

  • Legal betting sites have high-quality digital security to keep your personal information safe and prevent player winnings from being taken by hackers.
  • They also have excellent betting odds that provide good opportunities for profit for both sides of a given wager.
  • Lastly, legal and licensed sportsbooks can be fully trusted as they are regulated and overseen by several authoritative bodies. In Maine, the overseeing organization could be the Gambling Control Unit or a dedicated committee that has not yet been formed.

It’s true that you’ll have to pay taxes on any winnings you get from licensed sportsbooks, but that’s a small price to pay for overall security and an excellent betting experience. 

Currently proposed tax rates for sports betting winnings are 16% for online wagers and 10% for land-based wagers. But keep in mind that no rules have been set in stone and these tax amounts could change in the future.

Maine Sports Betting Revenue

It’s tough to predict the kind of sports betting revenue the Maine state government could enjoy should they launch an effective legal industry. Maine is not a very populous state, but it does already have a solid gambling industry and plenty of prospective sports bettors that might jump at the chance to wager legally.

We can take a look at a nearby state with a fully launched sports betting industry: New Jersey. This state, though it is more populated than Maine, is comparable due to its land size and the presence of several retail casinos.

In February 2021, for example, New Jersey’s state government enjoyed sports betting revenue totaling over $46 million. That’s just from one month.

Maine’s state government likely knows the total revenue it might be able to bring in from a functioning sports betting industry. Should the launch be successful and sportsbook platforms become immediately accessible, Maine’s sports betting revenue could reach similar numbers to New Jersey’s.

How Maine Compares To Other States

Maine’s gambling industry, compared to those of other states, is relatively middle-of-the-road. While pari-mutuel betting has been around since 1935 and the state lottery has been running since 1973, legal slot machines only appeared in Maine in 2004.

The first retail casino, Hollywood Casino, launched in the same year, relocated four years later and added table games several years after that. There were additional expansions in 2017 as Maine finally allowed daily fantasy sports during which DraftKings and FanDuel entered this market.

To date, Maine currently has four tribal gaming casinos, a pair of casino racetracks or “racinos,” and six off-track betting parlors. This makes Maine a more gambling-friendly state than some of its direct neighbors like Vermont or New Hampshire, although its industry still pales in comparison to the likes of New Jersey.

Maine Sports Betting Recent Updates

The push for sports betting legalization in Maine technically started as early as 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional. After this point, various legislators, including Senator Louis Luchini, began pushing for legal sports wagering and the expansion of other online gaming activities, like casino games.

Unfortunately, the road to legal sports wagering has been marked by a variety of pitfalls and legislative roadblocks. 

At the moment, most of the debate surrounding legal sports wagering in this state revolves around whether or not partnerships will be required. Only two states with legal sports wagering industries, Wyoming and Tennessee, don’t require online betting platforms to partner with land-based casinos or other licensed operators, like horse race tracks or off-track betting parlors.

There are two major sides to the argument. The pro-free market side, led by legislators like Sen. Louis Luchini, does not wish to impose tethering on future mobile sportsbook operators, as doing so without additional fees adds to the licensure and registration process. Furthermore, this side of the debate believes that a free market system will inspire further competition, resulting in a better product and market for sports bettors in Maine.

The pro-tethering side, led by Gov. Mills and other individuals, wants tethering to make sure that online sportsbooks and casinos are always operated by established, trustworthy entities. Specifically, they’ve pointed to issues with Tennessee Action 24/7: an independent sportsbook operating in Tennessee that was recently suspended due to claims of money laundering.

Time will tell what the Maine state legislature decides on this point. 

Maine Sports Betting Successes And Failures

At the moment, Maine’s sports betting successes and failures have been relatively mixed, although it’s undoubtedly true that the push for sports betting would be going faster in a perfect world.

Maine Sports Betting Successes

The big success currently coming out of Maine’s sports betting discussion is the potential push for a free-market industry model. Most other states that allow legal sports betting require that operators tether to or partner with casinos, racetracks, or professional sports franchises to offer online betting.

If certain legislators in Maine have their way, a free-market model could take effect. This would allow greater competition by not requiring operators to partner with a limited number of in-state casinos are racetracks.

Should this come to pass, it’ll be a big win for sports wagering enthusiasts who like competition and having as many sportsbooks to choose from as possible.

Where Maine Could Improve Online Gambling

That being said, Maine could certainly improve its online gambling prospects by launching sports betting more quickly than it is currently on track to do. Furthermore, online casino games are not currently legal, although any future legislation that legalizes sports wagering may simultaneously legalize online casino games like slots and table games.

Legalization Efforts In Maine

The push for legalization in Maine has taken quite some time. The biggest champion to come out of the debate by far is Sen. Louis Luchini, who has pushed for a free market model of sports betting the entire time.

His currently proposed legislation, LD 1352, is being discussed in the state legislature and includes various provisions like these:

  • A $100,000 fee for each operator to receive a two-year license
  • Tax rates of 16% and 10% for mobile and retail sports betting operators, respectively
  • No wagers on Maine colleges
  • Banning sports betting events that may have potential integrity concerns, such as prop bets for the color of a Gatorade shower at the end of a football match
  • Protections for minors to prevent them from being exposed to sports betting advertising

However, Sen. Luchini has so far faced a stalwart opponent in the form of Gov. Janet Mills, who still opposes the free-market version of sports betting. She deliberately delayed making a decision on prior sports betting legislation until January 2020, then vetoed the bill.

Most of the debate surrounding sports betting in this state has indeed focused on tethering/partnering. Whether online sportsbook operators will be required to partner with retail entities will have significant effects on the revenue those online operators bring in and how much competition the industry will have, particularly close to launching.

Some individuals believe that a free market approach without requiring tethering or partnering with land-based entities will be a better idea for the health of the industry and greater competition. Others believe that not requiring tethering will introduce the possibility of corruption to the industry. 

Maine Teams

Once sports betting comes to Maine, most sports bettors will likely put money down on out-of-state teams. With a population of just 1.3 million people, the state doesn’t have any professional sports franchises that call it home.

Maine Professional Sports Teams

Instead of supporting local teams, sports betting enthusiasts will be more likely to put money down on other states’ professional sports franchises. Many Maine residents are, for example, fans of both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, or the Patriots.

Sportsbooks in this state will undoubtedly allow you to place wagers on NFL, NBA, MLB, and other major American professional sports games/events. 

Maine College Sports Teams

The college sports debate hasn’t yet been settled in the Maine legislature. But any future bill will likely prevent betting on in-state college games or any games that involve state teams. This will be to protect college players and franchises against potential corruption.

It’s unfortunate, but it’s also a common college betting model used by many other states with legal sports betting industries, like New Jersey. Players will still be able to place bets on college sports that take place out-of-state and that do not involve Maine university teams.

Other Sports To Bet On In Maine

Alongside popular professional sports like baseball and football, sports bettors will also be able to browse additional betting markets across legal sportsbooks that launch. Expect betting markets for sports and activities like these:

  • Darts
  • Cricket
  • NASCAR/Motocross races
  • MMA/UFC fighting
  • Lacrosse
  • eSports

Some sportsbooks may even provide diverse betting markets for international sports like Australian rules football or rugby. Time will tell what sports Maine residents will get to check out specifically – check this page often for updates!

Maine Sports Betting FAQs

How old will I need to be to bet online in Maine?

21, which is the legal sports betting age for most other states in the US.

Will it be safe to use an online sportsbook app in Maine?

Yes. Any licensed and legal sportsbooks will have excellent digital security and be vetted beforehand by at least one regulatory body, guaranteeing their safety.

Will it be legal to bet on college sports in Maine?

Currently proposed legislation stipulates that college betting will be allowed only for college games that do not involve Maine university teams. This is a similar college betting setup compared to other states that want to protect the integrity of their local sports and prevent the abuse of players or teams.

Do you need to be a resident of Maine to bet online?

Yes. Like all other states, Maine will require you to use geolocation software when betting online to ensure you don’t wager outside state lines.

Is DraftKings legal in Maine?

DraftKings is legal in Maine only to provide sports wagering. But it will likely be among the first licensed operators for sports betting when the industry launches.

Who will regulate online sportsbook apps in Maine?

At this time, the most likely regulatory body is the state’s Gambling Control Unit. But it’s possible the legislature may also form a new, dedicated committee to regulate the future industry.

More Resources On Maine’s Sports Betting Industry

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.

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