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Maine Regulates Sports Betting With Bill LD 585

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Things started looking up for Maine’s potential sports betting scene in 2019, but gamblers were left a little bit deflated when Governor Janet Mills (D) eventually vetoed bill LD 553 early the next year. However, everything is now in order for sportsbooks to appear in The Pine Tree State because on May 2, Mills signed the LD 585 sports betting bill into law, which will allow both online and retail sportsbooks to be set up within the state. No licensed online poker sites are called for under the terms of this bill however.

Legislation in the state of Maine becomes effective 90 days after the legislative session comes to an end. The 2022 session finished on April 25, which means that sports betting could be active there towards the end of July or early August. That’s quite the ideal outcome as it means Maine bettors will be able to partake in NFL wagering for the upcoming season.

Maine Sports Betting Bill

Tribes Obtain Exclusive Rights

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The introduction of legal sports betting in Maine comes about as part of a bigger bill, which addresses tribal sovereignty within its borders.

LD 585 serves as an Act to Enhance Tribal-State Collaboration, To Revise the Tax Laws Regarding the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation and to Authorize Casinos, Off-track Betting Facilities, Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Certain Commercial Tracks to Conduct Sports Wagering.

Speaking of the introduction of the law, Mills said:

This law provides meaningful economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations. It incentivizes investment in Tribal communities, and it formalizes a collaboration process on policy that sets the foundation for a stronger relationship in the future.

Within the legislation, the four federally recognized tribes will have complete control over mobile sports betting in Maine. This will see them receive a specific license to provide such services. Through such, the operators have the opportunity to either build their own sportsbooks with B2B software or enter into agreements with one of the various B2C operators. This means that a unison between one or more of the tribes could take place with brands like FanDuel, which has been building on various successes across the United States, or DraftKings or even Caesars Sportsbook, for example.

When it comes to the retail sports betting opportunities in Maine, an additional 10 licenses are available, which can be handed to casinos (of which Maine has two), off-track betting facilities and horse tracks.

Janet MillsMaine Governor Janet Mills

Additional Details of the Maine Sports Betting Bill

The Maine tribes will have sole access to the mobile sports betting market in the state, and the tax rate included in the bill is a very friendly percentage for operators across the scene. This stands at 10%, and making this figure even more attractive is that it won't be levied on the gross revenue of an operator. Any entity providing sports betting can deduct both federal excise tax payments and any promotions from this.

At the same time, it is relatively inexpensive to acquire a sports betting license in the state. Applying for a four-year mobile license and obtaining such will cost the tribes $200,000 each while any operator looking for a retail license for the same timeframe will have to pay just $4,000.

Players interested in experiencing sports betting in Maine need to be at least 21 years of age to do so. Furthermore, wagering on professional sports as well as college and amateur sports is to be permitted within state borders unless they are games involving Maine’s colleges and universities. The industry will be overseen by the Gambling Control Unit of the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Tribes Achieving Long-Term Goals

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The right to organize gaming in Maine has been something that Native American tribes have possessed since a 1980 land settlements bill. Under that law, tribal reservations in Maine are essentially treated like municipalities, so they are subject to state laws. Yet Mills led negotiations with the tribes on the measures relating to the legislation, including the removal of certain state and income taxes as well as the right for tribes to be able to regulate their own water. This has been of a great assistance to the Passamaquoddy Tribe, which has long been upset over the poor water quality located on its own reservation.

Even though the tribes within the state have remained quite focused on having a much larger sweeping legislative package signed into law, the gains achieved through Mills signing LD 585 into action recently have been the most significant improvements in the past 40 years.

Commenting on the new legislation, tribal leaders released a joint statement noting their sincere appreciation of “the good faith dialogue and negotiations” that had taken place with Mills. They went on to note that the bill did not represent full sovereignty for the Wabanaki Nations, but that it does provide “important benefits” to be able to strengthen the respective communities within.

Maine Sports Betting History

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As previously mentioned, the Maine legislature actually passed a sports betting bill, LD 553, in June 2019 a few hours before the legislative session ended. Governor Mills then had 10 days to sign the bill into law. However, she let the timer run down without taking any action. Normally, a bill becomes law in Maine at this point even without the governor's signature, but because the legislature was not in session at that time, the bill was put on hold pending the start of a new legislative session.

The legislature reconvened in January 2020, and many expected LD 553 to become law as would automatically happen unless the governor vetoed it within three days of the start of the session. Mills did in fact veto the bill, and efforts to overturn the veto by a two-thirds vote in both chambers failed.

Interestingly, a bill proposed in 2021 (LD 1352) that would have legalized sports betting provided mobile access to both the tribes and the commercial operators within the state. This bill was left to one side due to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Louis Luchini not being fully behind the tethering requirement written into it. He had spoken out about this requirement previously because it meant mobile licensees would need to partner up with local gambling outlets to offer their online services.

The First Positive Move for 2022

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Efforts have been made quite swiftly to introduce legal sports betting in various states across the United States since the scrapping of the PASPA law in 2018. Three other states within the New England area of the USA – Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – have already set up some form of sports betting for residents. Maine marks the fourth of the states within that area, leaving Vermont and Massachusetts as the final two to bring some form of legislation into action.

It is also the first state across the whole USA to legalize sports betting in 2022. Kansas lawmakers recently approved their own legislation regarding such sports wagering although this has yet to be made official by the signature of Governor Laura Kelly (D).

You Can Bet on Sports Today

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You needn't wait for LD 585 to come into effect and for the Gambling Control Unit to draft the necessary regulations. That's right – sports betting is already available in Maine. In order to access it, you need merely create an account an at offshore bookmaker, and it's perfectly legal for you to do so as an ordinary bettor. The Wire Act and other Federal law may take a dim view of such services, but all the enforcement provisions of these statutes target those running the sites, not individual customers of these sportsbooks.

Check out this guide to the leading online sportsbooks for Americans to get started. If you would rather play poker instead, then we have created a page devoted to Maine internet poker as well as a factual overview of the best online poker sites USA players can sign up for.

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