Maine Lawmakers Pass Sports Betting Bill on Final Day of Session

Maine Lawmakers Pass Sports Betting Bill on Final Day of Session

On the final day of Maine’s legislative session, lawmakers came together and overwhelmingly supported a sports betting bill that would allow wagering inside the state.

If the bill gets the signature of Governor Janet Mills, then residents and visitors could see betting in the state, via mobile devices and in person, by the end of the calendar year.

Maine’s sports betting bill is one of the more progressive wagering bills to come from a state due to the incorporation and legalization of mobile betting from the initial start date.

Other states, such as Pennsylvania, staggered their sports betting expansion going with kiosks and in person betting before adopting the use of mobile devices.

States that have pushed back on mobile betting has seen their revenues stagnate and even fall as opposed to early adopting states like New Jersey that have seen over 80% of all bets come via phone.

The bill has received universal praise from experts and the gambling industry because the initial tax rate will be low and betting locations will be plentiful.

“(This bill) would be one of the few post-PASPA laws that embraces a free market concept,” said Steve Silver, a professor of gaming law at the University of Maine School of Law.

“Meaning numerous licenses in terms of type and location, relatively low fees and taxes, no integrity fees, and no data mandates,” Silver said.

The Maine bill has been accelerated due to the wide expansion of sports betting in the northeast United States.

New Hampshire is currently waiting for their governor to also sign their wagering bill. New York is also in the final stages of deciding how to proceed with their own sports betting measure.

Will Gov. Mills Sign the Bill?

Maine’s sports betting bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Mills for her signature.

Gov. Mills has 10 business days to sign the legislation, giving her a deadline of July 3rd.

If Gov. Mills signs the bill, the law would go into effect 90 days later, making sports betting legal around the beginning of October.

Lawmakers feel confident that Gov. Mills will sign the bill as she vetoed numerous measures earlier in the session to allow legislators the opportunity to fine tune the final bill.

Her administration told sponsors of the final bill that she had used all her vetoes for the session and did not expect to issue anymore.

Did Casinos in Maine fight to Keep DraftKings and FanDuel From Opening on the Start Date?

Like in Illinois, casinos in Maine fought to keep DraftKings and FanDuel from opening immediately with the bill comes into law, but ultimately failed to secure support from lawmakers.

Rep. Scott Strom, the bill’s co-sponsor in the House, said that the casinos were worried the online betting powerhouses had too great an advantage on the rest of the operators.

“Casinos were fighting us right up until the vote passed,” Strom said.

“They fought for tethering because they felt DraftKings and FanDuel are going to have an advantage over them.”

“When they couldn’t get that, they tried to get a two-year headstart but didn’t pick up any traction with that,” Strom concluded.

Although many operators feel that betting won’t open during football season, lawmakers like Strom believe the state will be up and running close to the law’s opening date.