It’s Official: Sports Betting Legal in Maine
The long wait is now over as Maine is the latest state to legalize the growing sports betting industry. Governor Janet Mills officially signed a sports betting bill on Monday, less than two years after she vetoed a similar bill.
Lawmakers in Maine have been working on legal sports betting since 2019, but it was Mills that actually spearheaded the efforts this time around. Mills was working with Native American tribes in the state, and those tribes will now have exclusive rights to the industry.
LD 585 was the bill that was in question in the state of Maine, and it received overwhelming support from both chambers of the legislature. Both retail and mobile betting will be available, but Maine is not expected to become a large market.
The Native American tribes will be able to control the online portion of the new industry, while the casinos in the state can offer retail betting. There are four tribes located in Maine, and each will be eligible to partner with one online sports betting company to offer mobile betting.
This portion of the deal did upset some of the casino owners in Maine, and only having four online options will hurt the overall competitiveness of the market. It’s still unclear why Mills vetoed the bill back in 2020, but her stance had changed just two years later.
Details of LD 585
The official sports betting rules in Maine will still have to be established, but LD 585 does paint a good picture of what the new industry might look like. The legal gambling age in Maine is set at 21 years of age, but betting is open to both residents and visitors of the state.
There will be 10 retail sportsbook licenses available, and all of those will be good for four years. The licensing fee for a retail license is just $4,000, while it costs $200,000 to receive a mobile sports betting license.
Betting on both college and professional sporting events will be available, but there is no betting allowed on college teams from the state. The sports betting tax rate is set at just 10% and that is a win for the sports betting operators.
When Will Launch Occur?
An official launch date for sports betting has not been set, but there was language in the bill that might spell out the target date. This bill goes into law 90 days after the legislative session ends, and that date has already passed.
Lawmakers ended their session on April 25, and that would put this industry on track to launch at some point in early August. That would allow sportsbooks to offer bets for the beginning of the NFL season, and that is the biggest market in the U.S.
There is still plenty of work to be done, but getting a bill signed was actually the hardest step in the state of Maine.