Maine Battling to Legalize Sports Betting

The state of Maine is down to its last at-bat after a legislative committee on gambling voted this week to ax six bills that would legalize sports betting. There is, however, one last (concept) bill that the committee will likely end up forming to their specifications, essentially using different parts of the other bills submitted.

Lawmakers will continue to research the complex measures of sports betting more thoroughly in the meantime.

Choosing the Correct Provision

In a recommended bill, the Veteran and Legal Affairs (VLA) Committee will choose different provisions. Each would include betting on mobile devices. It would not be allowed on collegiate, minor league, and eSports events. Also up for discussion would be sports betting at the casino, commercial tracks, off-track betting shops or bingo halls owned by Native American tribes in Maine.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people, who, because Maine has casinos and they allow gambling, they want to be able to go place a bet on the Patriots or the Red Sox,” said Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, who serves as Senate Chair of the VLA Committee and is sponsoring the concept bill. “And so I’ve heard a lot of people who are interested in expanding like many other states are looking at.”

Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, estimated the state would take in about $380,000 per year from sports betting, which is projected from the $3.8 million they expect to see in business.

Opposition to Sports Betting

There will be members of the state opposed to sports betting. However, lawmakers have pointed to the fact that daily fantasy sports are already allowed in Maine. Residents need to prove they are at least 18 and have a valid credit or debit card. Those are some of the steps that will be mandatory in order to participate.

“It’s going to provide more money for the casinos, for the off-track gambling places,” said Rep. Scott Strom, R-Pittsfield, a co-sponsor of the bill and VLA Committee member. “We will get revenue from the online sources DraftKings and FanDuel. They will be providing like a state income tax for this. So my hope is that we will just collect that money and put it into the general fund and we’ll be able to use it to provide some good services to the state.”

More States Considering Legalized Betting

Eight states currently have legalized sports betting with many more considering allowing it within their borders.