Maine recently became yet another state that legalized sports betting, with a bill passed in June 2019. While there are no professional sports teams in the state and only one Division 1 college, residents of Maine can now legally wager on sports. In May of 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which made it legal to bet on sports on a state-by-state basis. Now Maine has joined the list of states where sports betting is legal, and it will only be a matter of time before it is legal in all 50 states. Sports betting will be legal in Maine through mobile betting and at land-based locations. Maine becomes the 8th state in 2019 to legalize sports betting.
Status of Sports Betting in Maine
Maine became the 8th state to legalize sports betting with bill L.D. 553. The bill passed 19-15 in the state Senate and was unanimously passed in the House. Maine joins Montana, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Illinois, and New Hampshire in legalizing sports betting in 2019. Many bills for the legalization of sports betting had restrictions for online betting, but the states that have legalized sports wagering in 2019, including Maine, have had more mobile betting options, which have turned out to take in more money through wagering than at land-based locations. New Jersey trails only Nevada when it comes to mobile betting, and in the first year of legal sports gambling in that state, 80% of bets were made on mobile devices. The taxes for mobile sports betting in Maine will be 16%, while they are only 10% at land-based betting locations.
Maine is the first state legalizing sports betting where land-based betting locations have been approved to have no restrictions and untethered 3rd party access. What this means is that online operators dealing with sports wagering will not have to be in partnership with land-based betting locations. There are these requirements in other states where sports betting is legal in order to give business to the land-based betting locales. Maine lawmakers are under the belief that having no restrictions will help the market grow further, which would give more money to the state. 98% of the taxes from sports betting in Maine will go to the state government, while the other 2% will be split between problem gambling programs and the Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit, which will regulate sports betting in Maine as well as grant licenses for land-based betting locations.
Where to Bet Sports in Maine
The places to bet on sports legally in Maine are through mobile devices and at 11 land-based areas of the two casinos, two racetracks, four off-track betting locations, and at the four Native American tribal areas in the state. Mobile betting would have the lion’s share of the sports bets in the state and also come with a steeper tax (16%) than bets in person (10%). New Jersey took in $5 billion in sports wagers in the first year of legal sports wagering, with 80% of the bets coming from mobile devices.
With the law in Maine recently being passed, there are now legal places to bet on sports. People can wager on sports in the state via their mobile phone as well as at two casinos: Hollywood Casino in Bangor and Oxford Casino in Oxford. In person betting would also be legal at the two racetracks, Scarborough Downs in Scarborough and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, the four off-track betting locations in Sanford, Lewiston, Waterville, and Brunswick, and at locations for the four Native American tribes in the state.
Latest Maine Betting News
More Support for Sports betting in House than Senate
With the recent bill being passed for legalizing sports betting in the state of Maine, there was much more support for the bill in the House than the Senate. The Senate voted 19-15 to legalize sports betting in the state, while the vote in the house to pass the bill was unanimous. The bill allows residents of Maine 21 years old or older to gamble on professional and most college sports. While there was not much opposition to the bill from the lawmakers, casinos in the state and online platform operators were seeking different versions of the legislation.
Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit to Regulate Betting
Sports betting in Maine would be regulated by the Maine Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit. They already enforce the laws of the state for the two casinos and fantasy sports, which is legal. The department would also grant licenses in the state for on-site sports betting. With the law legalizing sports betting passed in June of 2019 there will be 11 places to start off to bet in person at the casinos, racetracks, off-track locations, and for Native American tribal areas. The Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit and programs dealing with problem gambling would share 2% of the tax revenue derived from sports betting in Maine, with 98% going to the state government coffers.
Full Mobile Betting
In the bill, L.D. 553 calls for full mobile betting in the state of Maine. This means that it would be legal for residents in the state to bet on sports from their mobile device through an application anywhere in the state. The tax would be steeper for mobile betting, with 16% from bets made from a mobile device compared to 10% of bets at land-based locations. As of June 2019, several states have mobile sports betting, and while Mississippi and Montana have also legalized sports betting, mobile betting is still only allowed inside of the casinos in those two states.
Sports Teams That Drive Betting
In terms of the teams that drive betting in the state of Maine, there are very few options. There are no professional sports teams in the state with the minor exception of two semi-pro teams in rugby and Australian rules football. The University of Maine is the only Division 1 college in the state, and there are betting options for a few of the sports at the college. There are lines for the basketball and football games for the University of Maine, as well as some for men’s hockey. The football team plays in the FCS, which the 2nd tier of Division 1 after the FBS. This means that while there are lines for football games, they are harder to find at sportsbooks and there are also not as many betting options such as futures and proposition bets.
- Casino Legal Status – There are two casinos in the state in the Hollywood Casino in Bangor and Oxford Casino in Oxford
- Sports Betting Legal Status – Sports betting is not quite legal in Maine after L.D. 553 is on hold
- Horse Racing Legal Status – Horse racing is legal in Maine and there are two racetracks as well as four off-track betting locations.
- Poker Legal Status – Poker is legal in the state of Maine with the only tables being at the Hollywood Casino Bangor
- DFS Legal Status – Fantasy sports is legal in the state of Maine as of 2017.
- Lottery Legal Status – Maine Lottery offers both scratch-off and drawing games as well as the multi-state Powerball and Mega Million’s games.
Maine Sports Betting Timeline
- 2019 – bill, L.D. 553 almost passes in Maine Senate and House to legalize sports betting
- 2018 – Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned
- 2017 – Fantasy sports legalized in Maine
- 1974 – Maine lottery begins
- 1950 – Pari-mutuel horse race betting legalized