Still No Sports Betting Launch Date in Maine
It was a long and difficult path to get sports betting legalized in the state of Maine, and it appears that a launch will have a similar path. The Maine Gambling Control Unit is in charge of getting sports betting up and running, but that group is moving slower than most would like.
It appeared as if the state was ready to legalize sports betting all the way back in 2020, but Governor Janet Mills vetoed a bill at that time. Lawmakers then went back to work in 2021, but a bill sat in committee without an official vote.
After lawmakers were able to come to an agreement in 2022, Governor Mills signed a bill into law in May. There was no promise of a launch date at that time, but one initial projection had this date taking place at some point in 2024.
It appears as if sports betting is on track to launch in 2023 at the latest, but it could come sooner. The Maine Gambling Control Unit has a number of steps to get through, but that group has been working hard on drafting the official sports betting rules.
Milton Champion is the executive of the Gambling Control Unit and he provided an update earlier this week. The law that legalizes sports betting is set to take effect on August 2, but there won’t be any sportsbook accepting wagers at that time.
Maine is not expected to become a large sports betting market, but this industry will bring in some additional revenue to the state. Hiring a deputy director is also a goal of this unit, and that might not happen until sometime this Fall.
Expect Similar Rules
Champion and the Gambling Control Unit have been working hard on drafting these rules, and he said that it already has at least 15 chapters. It won’t be clear what is included in the rules until they become public, but Champion noted that it will be similar to other states.
Since there are now more than 30 states with some sort of legal sports betting, Maine is able to look around and take some rules from other markets. Maine will have to have adopt some unique rules though as this market will be much smaller than other states.
Both Online and Retail Available
One thing that is clear in Maine is that both online and retail sportsbooks are going to be available. The four Native American tribes in Maine will also be tasked with setting up and running the industry, especially on the online side of things.
It’s unclear what outside companies will look to snag a license in Maine as that would require a partnership with a tribe. Casinos and race tracks in Maine will also be eligible to apply for a license to offer retail betting in the state.
DraftKings is expected to be one company looking to enter the state as it has a major presence in that part of the country.
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