The Maine Senate failed to act on the state’s proposed legal sports betting bill (LD 1352), pushing the process back almost half a year until 2022, this just three weeks after the Maine House had voted to enact the bill.
Thanks in part to a last-minute effort to ‘tether’ digital platforms to casinos and other gaming venues, lawmakers in the Senate decided to wait until they reconvene for their next regular session starting on January 5, 2022, to reconsider the controversially amended bill.
Even the bill’s sponsor, Senator Louis Luchini, has expressed his opposition to tethering and had attempted to kill his own bill before it was possibly approved, a clear sign that more discussions on that issue are needed.
Luchini has told the media:
Tethering is bad for our constituents. It’s anti-competitive. It makes the casinos the gatekeepers of who will be able to operate in Maine.
This is the second time in two years that such a sports betting bill has been delayed after some promising initial movement, with a prior bill making it as far as Governor Janet Mills’ desk in 2019 before she vetoed it six months later in January 2020.
Maine’s next regular legislative session is scheduled to open on January 5, 2022, giving lawmakers and industry leaders plenty more time to hash out the critical tethering issue, the decision to still include it or not being a dealbreaker to some lawmakers and industry leaders.
Also important to note, the influential local casino lobby is of course strongly pro-tethering, so expect this issue to be settled only after some serious compromising, something that state leaders feel will happen early next year.
Despite this additional setback, most state leaders and lawmakers in Maine remain optimistic that some form of LD 1352 will eventually make it back to Gov. Mills’ desk.
This includes Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, a group that provides support to a five-member Gambling Control Board that is appointed by Gov. Mills.
Champion is convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment that prevented lawmakers from meeting in person, hindering the bill’s momentum and forcing the delay.
But, given how many of Maine’s New England neighbors have begun to reap the rewards of legalized sports betting – including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and soon Connecticut and Massachusetts – Champion is optimistic that Pine Tree State sports gamblers will receive good news in 2022.
It’s a matter of when, not if, for Maine sports betting.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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