Maine has Hearing on Sports Betting; Hope Remains

Maine Sportsbetting

There remains some hope that sports betting will become legal in the state of Maine, but a decision could be expected soon. Lawmakers continue to press the issue, but Governor Janet Mills continues to be opposed to the industry.

On Friday, Senate Bill 1352 will be heard in front of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs. This bill is similar to the one that made it through the legislature in 2019, and there is a belief that it will pass through the committee.

This bill seeks to legalize both retail and mobile sports betting, with the Maine Gambling Control Board set to regulate the industry. Racetracks and casinos can apply for a sports betting license, and tribal casinos and off-track betting sites can do so as well.

The gross gaming revenue for retail sportsbooks would be taxed at 10%, while that number would jump up to 16% for online sportsbooks. Maine is not going to become one of the largest sports betting markets in the US, but this industry could provide some financial relief to the state.

The legislative session in Maine is set to end on June 16, so there is some pressure on lawmakers to make a decision in the next few weeks.

Many Attempts Coming

Senate Bill 1352 is the first bill to be read in front of the committee, but there are three other proposals on the agenda as well. Each bill is a little bit different, and ultimately lawmakers will have to combine them into one larger bill to get this industry approved.

LD 1404 is vital as it seeks to legalize the sports betting industry. LD 1527 discusses the different rules and regulations that would be needed and outlines the role that the Maine Gambling Control Board would have.

LD 1405 is being viewed as a challenger to SB 1352 as it has language that includes which groups can offer sports betting.

Huge Support For LD 1405

The Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association has given its full support to LD 1405, and written testimony was submitted to the committee. Horse racing is big in the state of Maine, and this support could ultimately sway the committee to lean a certain way.

LD 1405 would keep the sports betting to retail and land-based locations, and OTB’s would be included in that. The Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association is hoping that offering sports betting will provide a boost to these already established properties and businesses in the state.

Push Coming in New England

New England does not have many sports betting options at this time, but that could change by the end of 2021. New Hampshire and Rhode Island already have the industry up and running, but these are two very small sports betting markets.

The state of Connecticut looks to be the closest to getting something done as an agreement has already been reached between Native American tribes and the governor. This new gaming compact is just awaiting approval from the state legislature before sports betting can be offered.

Massachusetts and Vermont also have bills in place to legalize sports betting, but there is still work left to be done in each state.