The Legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs struck down three Main sports betting bills last Friday in order to work on a fourth one which they hope Gov. Janet Mills will sign into a law.
Lawmakers renewed their call to legalize Maine sports betting this year by introducing four bills at the start of the year. All four had one common goal – legalization of sports betting in the state. But with Gov. Mills rejecting a Maine sports betting bill passed by the legislature in January 2020, lawmakers want to make sure that this time around, they will be presenting the governor with a legislature that she will sign.
Appeasing Gov. Mills
In rejecting the 2020 Maine sports betting bill, Mills said that she was concerned that it did not contain provisions that would assure that the underage constituents would not be able to access the online betting sites. To appease the governor, the legislature says that they will work collaboratively to develop a sports betting bill that ensures the protection of minors.
Another issue of Maine sports betting is whether it should be linked to brick and mortar casinos and parimutuel betting facilities, which is what the state’s two casinos, the Hollywood Casino Bangor and Oxford Casino Hotel, have lobbied for. However, the proponents of the Maine sports betting bill favor a “free-for-all” market where sportsbooks could apply mobile sports betting licenses even without brick and mortar presence.
According to the model of Hancock Sen. Louis Luchini, the sponsor of the surviving bill, each online sportsbook operator will be required to pay the state $20,000 per year for Maine sports betting privileges. For those with retail properties, they will only be required to pay $2,000 per year with both types of licenses valid for two years.
The state’s existing casinos and parimutuel venues, the gross gaming tax is only 10% of their total revenues. Meanwhile, online sportsbooks will be required to remit 16% of their gross revenues as taxes to the state. Projections say that Maine sports betting could generate $5M annually in new tax revenue from the legalization of Maine sports pbetting.