The Maine Senate voted 20-10 in favor of overriding Governor Janet Mills veto of a sports betting bill. The sports betting bill passed by the Maine Legislature in 2019, opening the door for legalized sports betting in the state. The bill allowed for sports betting in casinos and other locations and online. However, the democratic Governor said ‘not so fast’ and vetoed.
The bill now has to travel to the House, and it must get two-thirds of the votes to formally override the governor’s veto. The sports bill was one of three that Mills did not approve of. She has vetoed 39 other bills since the last legislative session ended in June of 2019. This week’s Senate vote had support from both sides. The breakdown was fifteen Democrats and five Republicans voted to contest the governor’s action regarding the sports betting bill. Mills did have some support, seven Republican senators and three Democratic senators voted in favor of leaving the veto in place.
Many Residents Of Maine That Voiced Anger After Mills Vetoed The Sports Betting Bill
A source with knowledge of the senate proceedings said that the veto by Mills made no sense. The revenue is much needed in the state the source said, anyone with any interest in gambling, had a lot to lose with her veto. Last year as the bill was traveling through the state legislature, there was no strong opposition voiced about it. It had a lot of support from both residents and lawmakers in Maine.
It was very surprising said the source when Mills elected to veto the bill, which was the ‘culmination of several people’s hard work.’ The only real issue that anyone raised while the bill was moving through the House, was ‘problem gamblers’. Advocates of the bill, said there will always be addiction issues with any and everything from alcohol and gambling and everything in between. The sports betting bill that has come alive again, will allow online sports betting providers to apply for their own independent licenses.
Governor Mills Stood Behind Her Decision To Veto The Sports Betting Bill
Although the sports betting bill would allow only people 21 or over to place bets, Mills said it would adversely affect the youth of Maine. She cited that as her main focal point, youth and low income residents of Maine, she completely skirted over the amount of money that could be raised for state agencies. A few casinos in the cities of Bangor and Oxford were in agreement with the governor.
They were not in favor of sports betting being allowed to operate outside of casinos. However advocates said they ‘are just thinking about their own bottom line, and not what would be in the best interest of the state. Democratic Senator Louis Luchini from Ellsworth, Maine was successful in convincing his senate colleagues to override the governor. Luchini said the casinos already have ‘a monopoly on gambling, how greedy can one business get,’ he asked.