Legal Sports Betting is Coming to Maine

The expansion of legal sports betting to New England states is one step closer to being complete. While the legalization process in Massachusetts presses on, you can add Maine to the list. State Governor Janet Mills signed LD 585 into law on Monday, May 2.

Legal sportsbooks in Maine will add to a New England region footprint that already includes Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. This leaves Massachusetts and Vermont as the only two states in the region without legal sports betting.

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Sports Betting Legislation in Maine

Gov. Mills remained committed to giving in-state gaming tribes the rights to mobile sports betting in the state. In the end, LD 585 was able to accomplish that goal. Her comments in a formal statement included:

“This law provides meaningful economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations. It incentivizes investment in Tribal communities and it formalizes a collaboration process on policy that sets the foundation for a stronger relationship in the future.”

The state House previously passed legislation giving the Wabanaki Nations complete control of legal online sports betting in the state. As part of a compromise, legal retail sportsbooks could be added to Maine’s two commercial casinos.

With the 2022 state legislative session coming to a close, certain lawmakers in the state Senate attempted to amend that legislation. The goal of this amendment was to extend mobile sports betting to the commercial casinos as well.

The original version of the sports betting bill prevailed in a Senate vote. This kept control of mobile sports betting in the hands of the Wabanaki Nations.

Next Steps of the Legalization Process

Since the LD 585 involves a change to the tribal gaming compact, the federal government must still add its stamp of approval. The US Department of the Interior will conduct a formal review that could take up to 90 days.

Deb Haaland is the Secretary of the Interior. As a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, she became the first Native American to hold a role in a presidential cabinet. It is her job to review the amended compact and approve any changes.

Once federal approval is obtained, legal sports betting in Maine could go live within a few months. If everything goes according to schedule, legal mobile sports betting in the state could begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Going back to the legalization process in Connecticut, the original legislation was signed into law in May of 2021. Approval from the DOI was received in September and mobile betting was up and running in October.

Provisions of the New Law

The Maine Gambling Control Unit will be the regulatory body for sports betting in the state. This unit will be responsible for creating the rules and regulations. One notable regulation will be the prohibition of betting in in-state college athletics.

There will be four available licenses for both retail and mobile sports betting by tribal casinos. Two additional retail licenses will add sports betting to commercial casinos. All retail sports betting revenue will be taxed  at 10%. Online revenue will not be taxed since it falls under tribal domain.

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