Maine Sports Betting Bill on to Governor After Senate Passes Bill

Sports betting is on its way to Maine.

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Details of Maine’s Sports Betting Bill

On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a sports betting bill with a 23-11 vote, sending it to Gov. Janet Mills to sign into law.

The bill would grant online licenses to the Maliseet, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes, while retail sports betting would be permitted at Oxford’s Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino in Bangor. Scarborough Downs and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway can also operate a retail sportsbook at their facilities.

The bill was passed late Tuesday night, just before Wednesday – the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

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On Friday, LD 585 passed the House on Friday with an 81-53 vote, setting up Tuesday’s pivotal vote.

In addition to online sports betting control, the bill also removes state sales tax from certain goods and services on tribal lands and gives those revenues from the taxes to the tribes and removes state taxes on profits by tribal members on their reservations.

“It will perhaps have an immediate impact on their prosperity,” House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy said on Friday. “It will also, however, be another important step in a long journey over 500 years in the making – the journey of our communities transforming themselves from conquerors and occupiers among a proud people to becoming neighbors.”

Opposition from Casinos, Operators

Much of the pushback on the bill has come from casinos and other interested gambling parties. In February, Jon Mandel of the Sports Betting Alliance spoke out against the bill “because it limits the number of companies that can engage in it.” Both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are members of the Sports Betting Alliance.

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“Unfortunately, Part J of this amendment is a significant step backwards from the existing proposal to legalize sports betting market in Maine,” the SBA said in a written statement in March. “SBA wants to make it clear that our members do not have opinions on the non-gaming aspects of LD 585, and the proposed committee amendment; our members oppose a limited market that restricts the number of experienced operators eager to bring innovative and engaging products to Maine economy, and, above all, a process that ignores multiple years work by the Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee, stakeholders and Mainers.”

Initially, casinos were shut out of sports betting. Penn National Gaming, which owns the Hollywood Casino, led the push for later versions of the bill that allowed wagering at its track near Bass Park.

Now, casinos are included to take retail bets, but since 85% of sports wagers are placed online, casino and other gaming proponents wanted to be included in the new internet market.

“I just think there’s a piece of this whole thing in the process that we have ignored,” Sen. Brad Farrin, R-Norridgewock said Tuesday. Farrin also sits on the state’s gaming committee.

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