Maine Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Sports Betting

Maine Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Sports Betting article feature image
Credit:

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.

  • The Maine House and Senate approved a bill on Wednesday night that would allow for legalize sports betting, should Gov. Janet Mills sign it into law.
  • If she does so, Maine would become the 15th state in the U.S. to offer legal sports wagering.

On the final day of its legislative session, Maine lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state. The bill, which would allow for wagering both in person and via mobile devices, now heads to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk.

If Mills signs the bill into law, Maine would become the 15th state in total to have sports betting (and the seventh this year).

A May 2018 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports wagering and allowed states like Maine to legalize it.

New Jersey has been the most successful state outside of Nevada since SCOTUS’ ruling, pulling in $3 billion in bets in its first year of wagers, thanks in large part to its a robust mobile market (80% of wagers have come via a mobile device).

Maine’s law calls for full mobile betting throughout the state, similar to New Jersey, and operators have the option to be online-only, though that comes with a steeper tax rate (16%, compared to 10%).

The states currently with some form of mobile betting on the books include: Nevada (full mobile), New Jersey (full mobile), Pennsylvania (recently up and running), Iowa (not live yet), Indiana (not live yet), Illinois (not live yet), Tennessee (not live yet), Rhode Island (not live yet), West Virginia (suspended due to vendor issues), Mississippi (allowed within licensed casinos only) and Montana (allowed within licensed operators only).

“[This bill] would be one of the few post-PASPA laws that embraces a free market concept meaning numerous licenses in terms of type and location, relatively low fees and taxes, no integrity fees, and no data mandates,” Steve Silver, a lawyer in Portland, Maine, and adjunct professor of gaming law at the University of Maine School of Law, told Sports Handle.

Maine joins neighboring New Hampshire on the list of states with sports betting bills awaiting the governor’s signature.

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New York, Tennessee and Washington D.C. have all legalized sports wagering in 2019. All of those states are hoping to be up-and-running in time for football season. We’re still awaiting word on Maine’s timetable, but you’d assume it would be similar, if Gov. Mills signs the bill into law.