Maine Update: Mobile And Retail Sports Betting Approved By Lawmakers

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The Maine State Senate passed sports betting legislation 23-11 late Tuesday, becoming the latest state to approve the practice since the Supreme Court legalized it in 2018. 

Lawmakers must now figure out funding for the bill, LD 585,  before sending it to Governor Janet Mills for her approval.

The Maine House passed the bill earlier this week.

Mills championed the bill, as part of a larger tribal rights initiative, and is expected to sign the measure. 

What Sports Betting In Maine Will Look Like

Under the terms of the legislation, mobile sports betting will be done exclusively through the state’s tribes: the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and the Maliseet.

Retail sportsbooks will be operational at casinos and race tracks. 

State experts have estimated 85% of all sports betting will be done online through apps such as DraftKings and FanDuel. The bill calls for up to four licenses

The adjusted growth wagering receipts from sports betting would be taxed at 10%. The breakdown includes funds going toward a general fund as well as funds for horses and agriculture. 

The bill prohibits bets on in-state collegiate events such as the Maine Bears hockey team, but specifies bettors can wager on tournament games the Bears did not play in but were otherwise a part of. 

Giving the tribes the exclusive right to sportsbooks, and the funding it would provide, was a key incentive for Mills and other supporters. The measure was part of a larger package of tribal-related bills aimed at amending a 1980 agreement between the state and tribes that ultimately cost the tribes millions of dollars. Other states with Native populations have different agreements and this bill aims to bring the Maine tribes closer in line with those.

When Will Sports Betting Be Operational In Maine?

Lawmakers in the state have been trying for several years to pass sports betting. In 2020, Mills vetoed legislation approving the measure.

Now that a bill with her approval has passed it is only a matter of time before Mainers can place a wager on the Red Sox or the Patriots.  

The bill puts the Maine Gambling Control Unit in charge of rules and regulations for sports wagering.  While no date for operational sports betting was established in the bill, the Gambling Control Unit is next slated to meet in May and is expected to begin work immediately on the framework for operational sports betting. 

Also read: California Tribes Gain Support For Sports Betting Referendum That Leaves Out Mobile Wagering 

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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