Maine sports betting was nearly legalized in 2020, but Governor Janet Mills had other ideas. After the state legislature approved and passed a piece of sports betting legislation, Mills used her power and vetoed the bill, keeping sportsbooks shut out of the state.
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The next chance to legalize Maine sports betting could come in 2021, but it’s unclear if lawmakers will be able to generate enough support this time around. It could also be delayed until a new governor takes over as Mills is an opponent of sports betting.
Maine online sports betting will likely be included in any sports betting law, but that is part of the problem currently. Casino workers have been outspoken against sports betting, and that is not likely to change.
Maine sports betting will likely feature both retail and online betting, but this topic has been the issue of much debate between lawmakers and those in the gaming industry. Maine casino leaders are in favor of sports betting, but they want all of the retail betting to take place at their locations.
Maine online sports betting has been included in every bill that has been introduced, and it is likely to be offered when the state does go live. Some bills have allowed for online-only operators to exist in the state, while the casinos don’t support that measure.
One proposal called for retail betting at 11 properties in the state, including two commercial casinos and four tribal casinos. The racetracks and off-track betting parlors would also be able to apply for a sports betting license.
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ME Sports Betting Rules
Much of the debate in Maine when talking about sports betting centered around the potential sportsbooks. There was not a ton of discussion about ME sports betting rules, and those would need to be established before the industry went live.
Betting on professional and the top international sports and leagues would be available in Maine, but the topic of college sporting events would need to be ironed out. Some states prohibit betting on in-state college teams, while others allow betting on Division 1 markets.
Esports is another betting market that could be included in any potential sports betting bill but has not been discussed at this point.
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ME Sports Betting Regulations
LD 553 was the sports betting legislation that was able to pass through both the House and Senate in 2019, and it seemingly came out of nowhere. The bill was passed on the final day of the legislative session, and it headed straight to Governor Janet Mills’s desk.
Mills simply did not take action on the bill, and it died due to a strange law in the Maine Constitution. In January 2020, Mills officially vetoed the bill, forcing the state legislature to attempt to override the veto.
Eighty-five representatives voted in favor of overriding the governor’s decision, but 94 votes were needed. Lawmakers failed to introduce another sport betting bill that year, and one has not yet been introduced in 2021.
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It appeared as of Maine sports betting was going to become legal in 2020, but a bill failed to get past the last hurdle. Now there is some real doubt that ME sports betting will become legal any time soon.
The state is not known for its sports, but there are enough professional and college teams in that area that could help drive sports betting. New England is starting to see a huge boost in sports betting, and Maine could fall behind if it doesn’t act soon.
Maine online sports betting will likely drive the industry if it ever becomes an option, as there aren’t many gaming locations in the state. This will be a state to keep an eye on in 2021 as lawmakers will have to find a way to work around the governor.