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Sports betting simplified
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018, allowing each state in the country to propose and create its laws and regulations for sports betting.
After several attempts to legalize sports betting, Maine has now officially legalized sports betting. The Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet tribes will control online sports betting, while in-person wagering will be allowed at retail casinos and off-track betting locations. Maine sports betting was expected to launch in 2022. However, it could be delayed by eight months or up to a year and a half.
Maine does offer various other forms of gambling like pari-mutuel wagering, state lotteries, casino gambling, and charitable gaming. Charitable gaming includes games of chance such as bingo, raffles, and card games with a maximum bet of $1 per hand. Maine has two casinos, two horse racing tracks, and four off-track betting parlors to accommodate the legal wagering options.
Unlike many states in the US, local tribes were not permitted to conduct casino-style gaming on their lands. The four tribes in Maine must follow the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act; they must follow state laws and only offer bingo games with unlimited prize amounts. However, they will control mobile sports betting when it launches in the state in 2022.
While residents wait for the official launch of Maine sports betting, New Hampshire is just a short drive away and can offer fully legalized sports gambling.
State of Maine Sports Betting Overview
Key things to know about Maine sports betting: Customers must be 21 or older to bet on sports in Maine, Up to four mobile sports betting apps run by tribal groups, Up to ten retail sportsbooks at casinos, tracks, and OTBs, Licensed Maine sportsbook operators will pay a 10% tax on revenue, Sportsbooks may accept wagers on professional sports, college sports, and esports, Sportsbooks may not accept bets on individual games involving Maine colleges; wagers on tournaments involving Maine colleges are permitted.
Online sports betting is legal, yet currently unavailable, in Maine.
After a slightly contentious process, Maine sports betting was legalized in May 2022. Online sports betting and in-person wagering were expected to officially become available sometime in mid-late 2022. However, it could be delayed until 2024.
The Maine Senate approved a sports betting bill from Gov. Janet Mills, who signed the bill into law on May 2, 2022. A 23-11 vote passed the bill.
Previously, there was some hope that Maine would legalize sports betting in the 2021 legislative session.
Lawmakers settled on Senator Louis Luchini’s Legislative Document 1352 as the vehicle for legal sports betting in Maine. It addressed previous concerns that caused Governor Janet Mills to veto a sports billing early in 2020.
The motion to legalize sports gambling was gaining momentum in the summer of 2019 as lawmakers in Maine voted to pass a bill, LD 553, which would’ve legalized in-person and online sports betting. Other particulars of the legislation would’ve also legalized betting on electronic sports but would forbid betting on high school and college teams based in Maine.
Unfortunately, Maine Governor Janet Mills vetoed the bill in January 2020 and attempts to overturn her veto in 2020 failed.
Mills’ objections stemmed from moral objections to legalizing additional betting in the state and balancing the already illegal gambling, plus the fear of young and at-risk gamblers being able to bet responsibly. There was also pushback from the state’s two casinos, who were not on board with the plan.
The casinos are against online sportsbooks operating independently without being tied to a retail location. They prefer online sportsbooks to form partnerships with state casinos.
The veto by Mills was first given a vote of 30-10 to override by the state Senate but was then upheld by a vote of 85-57 by the House.
State of Maine Sports Betting Timeline
May 10, 2022: Despite being legalized in 2022, Maine sports betting may not launch until 2024. A recent report on Maine sports betting suggests a delay in drafting rules and regulations could push back an official launch date by eight months to a year and a half.
May 2, 2022: Gov. Janet Mills signed the Maine sports betting bill into law. Retail and online sports betting is expected to launch in Maine sometime in 2022, likely before or during the NFL season.
April 20, 2022: Maine officially approved LD 585 through the Senate by a vote of 23-11. The Maine State Tribes will control sports betting, as the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet Tribes will each be allowed to partner with one online sportsbook operator.