Mainers have been waiting patiently for an announcement of a Maine sports betting start date following the activity’s legalization this past spring. But still, they haven’t heard a word of any definite timeline.
Sports betting isn’t officially legal until August 2nd, but actual betting may not start until weeks, or months, after that.
According to Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, no start date has been settled on. In fact, the rules for sports betting are still being spoken about. The people of Maine have already been waiting on sports betting for years, and it seems they’ll have to wait a bit longer, as Champion expects operations won’t start for quite a while.
Due to the legislation, mobile sports betting is in the hands of the state’s Wabanaki tribes. In person betting rights have gone to small betting parlors and casinos. No large operators have announced any partnerships for mobile betting, so it will be interesting to see who ends up operating on that end.
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Champion Delivers the Bad News About Maine Sports Betting
According to a statement he made in May, Milton Champion suspects that sports betting might not actually start until 2024. At the time, he had stated:
“I hate to be disappointing to people, but I’d rather be realistic and then roll them out in six to eight months and have people happy because we did it so quick,”
With his reluctance to announce any sort of start date, this 2024 start date is seeming more and more possible, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Talks of sports betting legalization throughout the state began back in 2020, and the legislation wasn’t passed until this year. Now, the process to actually get it in operation may take longer than it did to become legalized.
It does seem as if Champion is doing his best, however. He’s begun to host meetings with possible operators to get them as prepared as possible while the rules are still being made, which will hopefully help to streamline the application process once it begins.
However, these meetings are only able to be guided by possible regulations, as none have been firmly stated by the Gambling Control Unit quite yet.
Who are the Operators?
As stated earlier, no large mobile operators have announced their interest in partnerships with the tribes quite yet, but Champion has stated that he suspects DraftKings will want in at some point, as they are the main operators in Maine’s neighbor state of New Hampshire. This would extend their empire further north.
The state isn’t seeing many operators jump at the opportunity of operating in Maine because the legislation has been written to mainly benefit the tribes, which means less revenue for any operators. However, this might mean that smaller operators will finally have a chance to become the big names in a U.S. state, as they won’t have much competition.
As long as Maine sports betting begins soon, those in the state most likely don’t mind who the operators are. The sooner bets can be placed, the better.