Maine Governor Janet Mills signed, sealed, and delivered LD 585 in early May, which makes sports betting completely legal in the state. Though, the betting infrastructure needs to be created still. Let's run you through the breaking-new developments in the Pine Tree State!
Maine Reverses Course On Legalized Sports Wagering
It was only two years when governor Mill vetoed a sports betting bill. Back in January 2020, Mill was "worried" about the "preparedness" of her constituents for sports betting. She famous said a study of the topic was needed before legalization. Maine senators overrode her veto, but the House did not — which effectively killed the bill.
But that was then and this is now: Mill is on-board with legal betting. Apparently, the great people of Maine can now handle the good and bad that comes with betting on sports (like they ever couldn't...). On May 2nd, Mill put ink to paper, making Maine the 30-something-state in the United States with legal sports betting.
The state's federally-recognized tribes will get an exclusive sports betting license. There are three of those tribes (Maliseet, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy), which will likely choose to partner with a big-name operator to run their sportsbook. Though they can opt to build one from scratch with proprietary software, that seems unlikely. Additionally, there are 10 retail licenses for casinos, horse tracks, and off-track betting facilities.
Revenue on sports bets will be taxed at 10 percent under the bill — a very modest amount (especially compared to New York's 51-percent take rate). Back in 2020, projections estimated $1.3 million in tax revenue for Maine in year one and more than $5 million in the year after.
When Will Maine Take Its First Legal Sports Bet?
The recently-signed bill did not include a deadline for going live. The only real mention of a date is 90 days, meaning how long it'll take before the law officially goes into effect. That means the absolute best-case scenario for Maine's sports betting launch date is early August, but we wouldn't "bet" on that happening since it's an awfully tight turnaround.
The biggest hold-up from now and until sports betting is officially open for shop will be awarding the licenses for retail, which will cost $200,000 and last four years. Some of the obvious licensees include Oxford’s Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino (both located in Bangor), as well as Scarborough Downs and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway. However, there will be some tough calls on other licensees. Likewise, the tribes earning mobile licenses have to figure out they're own operating structure.
It would behoove stakeholders to get sports betting live in Maine by early September. Why? Welp, because the NFL regular season begins on September 8 — and that's the cash cow for all betting markets, whether it's Maine or Oregon or another US state. It might be optimistic to believe Maine will have betting live and functional in four months when NFL kicks off, but at the very least, stakeholders want to be ready well before February's Super Bowl.
Maine's foray into the betting landscape is a tad late, at least compared to its neighbors. Other northeastern states such as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York have already joined the party — and heck, even nearby Canada enacted changes to capitalize on the sports betting boon. The last remaining holdout without sports betting? That would be Vermont, but that's likely changing soon too.
Bet At Offshore Sportsbooks In The Interim
With still so much work to be done before Maine residents can place in-person or mobile bets inside their home state, they’ll need to stick to long-used alternative betting options. In addition to traveling to nearby New England states, Maine sports bettors can also make use of offshore online sportsbooks. Many offshore sportsbooks have been serving American bettors for decades with fair odds on moneylines, over/unders, futures, props, and live wagering. For your convenience, we've listed our favorite bookies below, along with our reviews for these top online sportsbooks.
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