Maine Approves Legal Online Sports Betting

Man With Hand to Ear and Sports Betting tab Open on Laptop
The Pine Tree State could be the latest US state to offer legal sports betting. On Monday, Governor Janet Mills signed Legal Document 585 into law. The bill legalizes both retail and mobile sports betting in the state of Maine. However, in-state collegiate betting will still be prohibited.

Both tribal and commercial gaming operators benefit from LD 585. Tribal operators receive exclusive rights to operator mobile sportsbooks. However, commercial casinos are eligible to become retail sports betting operators. According to recent projections, the majority of sports betting will likely be conducted online.

Before the bill can become official, it must be approved by the Department of Interior. Also, Maine lawmakers must create the framework for sports betting operators in the Pine Tree State. The bill outlined the tax structure for gaming revenue. However, the Maine Gambling Control Unit still needs to make the other regulations for the sports betting industry.

Maine Governor Approves Sports Betting Bill

After years of trying, the Maine legislature passed a sports betting bill last month. The bill was then sent to the Governors’ desk for approval. Gov. Janet Mills wasted little time in approving LD 585. With her signature, the bill is set to become law. However, it first needs to be approved by the Department of Interior.

LD 585 involves the Native American tribes in Maine. As a result, the Department of Interior must approve the bill before it becomes official. The agency has 90 days to make a decision. In that time, lawmakers in Maine will be working on making the regulations for sports betting in the state.

The bill will allow for both retail and mobile sports betting. However, there are some glaring omissions in the new sports betting bill. Like many states, lawmakers in Maine decided to forbid in-state college betting. LD 585 also did not name a start date for when sportsbooks will be able to launch.

What Will Online Sports Betting in Maine Look Like?

LD 585 will legalize mobile sports betting in Maine. However, the local Wabanaki Nations will have a monopoly on mobile sportsbooks. The Wabanaki Nations consists of four Native American Tribes in Maine. They are the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Penobscot Nation, Mi’kmaq Tribe, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.

According to Governor Mills, LD 585 was designed to provide economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations. She also claimed that it will lead to a stronger relationship between the state and the tribes. Governor Mills said the bill will increase the incentive for economic investments in the tribes as well.

Other states have seen online sports wagering take up 85% of the betting market. Experts expect a similar situation in Maine. Also, online and mobile wagers will not be taxed as they are classified under tribal domain. As a result, the Wabanaki Nations will be able to keep the majority of Maine’s sports betting revenue.

Maine Approves Retail Sports Betting

Under LD 585, retail sports betting would also be legalized in Maine. That means that the state’s legal commercial casinos would be able to open sportsbooks as well. Racetracks in Maine would also be able to apply for a sportsbooks license. Retail operators were a late addition to the bill.

Unlike tribal operators, retail sportsbooks would be subject to taxes on their revenues. LD 585 calls for a 10% tax on the adjusted gaming revenue. The tax structure is very operator friendly compared to many other US States. It also allows Maine to earn revenue from sports betting that it otherwise could not have.

Before any sports betting can take place, the Maine Gambling Control Unit must create the state’s gaming regulations. They are scheduled to meet next month to begin working on the framework of the regulations. LD 585 must also receive approval from the Department of Interior.

Conclusion

The number of states with legal sports betting continues to grow. LD 585 was signed by Maine Governor Janet Mills earlier this week. The bill legalizes both retail and mobile sports betting. However, only the four tribes of the Wabanaki Nations will be able to operate electronic sportsbooks.

Commercial casinos and racetracks in Maine will be limited to retail sportsbooks. However, that is a step up from the original LD 585 bill which did not include commercial operations at all. Retail sports betting operators will also have to pay a 10% tax on the adjusted gaming revenue. LD 585 is subject to the approval of the Department of Interior.