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The state of Maine continues to struggle with the idea of legalizing the sports betting market for its residents, and now the side of the debate that wants to join over half the other states in the U.S. who have moved forward on this issue has lost an important political advocate to the business world.
Maine Senator Louis Luchini, the man who sponsored the prior sports betting bill we reported on in Maine Senate Fails to Act on Legal Sports Betting Bill, Delays Until 2022 has essentially quit the senate to pursue a business career at the Small Business Association.
It’s not clear if Luchini’s frustration regarding how his bill (LD 1352) was twisted into something he hardly recognized caused his departure from Maine’s political scene, perhaps a possible reaction to having LD 1352 ‘tether’ digital platforms to casinos and other gaming venues.
Luchini adamantly opposed tethering to the extent that he attempted to kill his own bill before it could be approved, telling the media:
Tethering is … anti-competitive. It makes the casinos the gatekeepers of who will be able to operate in Maine.
Mobile or retail concerns aside, the true roadblock to a legal sports betting market in Maine comes from the state’s number one leader, Governor Janet Mills.
Despite a 2019 sports betting bill passing through both chambers of Maine’s congress, it never became law because Governor Janet Mills eventually vetoed it, her concerns seeming to stem from how new this U.S. business opportunity still was, saying:
I appreciate the Legislature’s interest in this evolving issue and respectfully request that you sustain this veto while we closely monitor the impact of legalization and the successes and failures in other states as they seek to regulate and benefit from sports betting.
Given that Maine lawmakers all passed that bill and they were elected to represent Pine Tree State voters, it becomes baffling that the Governor continues to have such deep reservations regarding a taxable revenue stream that other states are beginning to benefit from.
That includes one of Maine’s closest neighbors, New Hampshire.
Directly southwest of Maine is the Granite State, and New Hampshire has already taken the leap into legalizing their retail and online sports betting market, so many Maine residents have been traveling there to place their wagers.
All that money spent on those bets in New Hampshire plus the ones that are placed using offshore sportsbooks is leaving Maine and benefitting outside interests, a reality that should motivate lawmakers into continuing this debate in the ongoing legislative session.
With Luchini gone now, however, it becomes up to other state political leaders and industry insiders to take up the former Senator’s torch and continue fighting for an issue potentially worth millions of dollars for the residents of Maine.
The second regular session of the 130th Maine legislature began January 5, 2022, and its statutory adjournment is scheduled for April 20, 2022, still plenty of time to figure out how to move forward on this lucrative issue, so check back for all the latest news and updates.
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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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