Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation Moves Forward in Maine

by Jim Hall

MaineLegislators in Maine have decided to approve a measure in regards to daily fantasy sports betting.

Daily fantasy sports are a gambling activity that has been on the mind of legislators in many states across the US. States have already passed legislation to allow DFS contests to take place and more are looking to pass a bill in order to provide a secure option for DFS players as well as earn a cut of the profits. In Maine, a measure was passed by legislation that gives all but final approval to legalize fantasy sports but the bill could be at risk.

What’s Going On?

State Representative Kathleen Dillingham wants to see Maine added to the list of states in the US that offers DFS gaming. Dillingham has asked legislators to support the motion to move forward with daily fantasy sports gaming to make sure that regulations are in place for the industry as well as making sure that consumer protections are in place for the 215,000 participants in Maine who take part in DFS gaming.

Within the bill, language is presented that will declare DFS as a game of skill and not one of chance. This would allow the activity to be in compliance with iGambling legislation on a federal level. While there is support for this legislation, there are also those who are opposed.

Representative Kent Ackley is not on board and is one legislator who feels that Maine should not be feeding into what could be an addiction. Ackley feels that the bill would not be good for Maine due to the oversight costs eating up the majority of the fees assessed towards the companies who run the fantasy leagues. The new bill has projected that they would net only $10,000 when the bill has been in effect for one year. According to Representative Craig Hickman, the measure is going to benefit those who profit from DFS gaming.

According to Hickman, the bill has ‘more holes in it than cheesecloth’ and was written by an industry to protect an industry in the state, and Maine will not get much out of it. Hickman also pointed out that the online gambling industry is generating money nationally with a study showing entry fees of $2.6 billion were paid on a national level two years ago and the fees will jump up even more by 2020 to $14 million.

Already Taking Place

Legislators are realizing that daily fantasy sports contests are already taking place in the state. Players are logging on and choosing their teams, taking part on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. On the one side, the state should legalize and regulate the activity so that consumers are safe taking part in an activity that they already are taking part in. On the other hand, the state is missing out on revenues that could otherwise by used in the state for however legislators see fit.

With this new legislation, oversight would be put in place within the state gambling control board. The board is already in charge of other gambling aspects in the state. The bill has been able to pass with the majority in favor, but still needs to be approved by the Governor.

Governor Paul LePage has yet to state whether he approves of the measure but he has voiced that the is opposed to gambling expansions via casinos in the state. If the Governor does veto the bill, supporters will have to gain more support within the House in order to see the decision be overridden.

It will be interesting to see how the option progresses in the state and if the Governor decides to approve or veto the option.