A bill to legalize and regulate sports betting within Maine has passed through the state’s Senate by 23 votes to 12 and passed the House for engrossment after each house submitted new amendments.
Senate Bill 1352 was first introduced by Senator Louis Luchini in April, but was later amended to bring in a major change to who can receive a license.
Initially, a commercial racetrack, an off-track betting facility, a slot machine or casino operator or a federally recognised tribe could be licensed, but the new version of the bill would limit licenses only to casinos.
Although the Senate passed the bill in a special legislative session after the regular session ended, it added new amendments to the bill.
The latest amendments include increasing the starting and renewal fees for a sports wagering license from $20,000 to $100,000, removing the need for authorization from a qualified gaming entity to obtain a license, and an obligation to report abnormal wagering activity to the department of Public Safety Gambling Control Unit.
Advertising sports betting to people under the age of 21 is prohibited, as well as any marketing near schools.
Bets on tournaments involving Maine collegiate sports teams are permitted, so long as a Maine team isn’t involved in the match in question.
The amendments also state that 0.55% of the adjusted gross sports wagering receipts should be distributed to entities which conduct live harness racing in the state by the State Harness Racing Commission.
Another 0.55% should go to the Sire Stakes Fund, and 0.4% should be allocated to the Agricultural Fair Promotion Fund.
The bill then passed to the House, where the Senate amendment was adopted, but only after it itself was amended. The House’s amendment of the Senate amendment has not yet been published.
The bill was then read and passed to be engrossed. In this process, the bill will be sent back to the Senate to approve the change made by the House. If both houses pass an identical bill, then it may be sent to the Governor to become law.