A bill to regulate land-based and mobile wagering in Maine is just two steps away from passing into law after racing through the legislature on the second last day of the state’s legislative session.
Legislative Document 553, which was filed by Senator Louis Lucchini in January and has sat with the House Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee since. Work was being carried out on fleshing out the Senator’s one-line proposal, though a hearing in May suggested that there were still key issues to be resolved.
However, LD553 rapidly progressed through the House and Senate after an amended version was passed by the committee.
The amended bill makes commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities, casinos and tribal casinos eligible for land-based licences, while there is no need for mobile wagering operators to secure a bricks-and-mortar partner to enter the market. Operators must pay a $20,000 licence fee.
Land-based licensees will be taxed on 10% of sports wagering revenue, while mobile will be subject to a 16% tax rate. An amount equal to 1% of gross wagering revenue will be used to cover the Maine Gambling Control Unit’s administrative expenses, with another 1% going to the the state’s Gambling Addiction Prevention and Treatment Fund. All remaining tax revenue will go to the state General Fund.
Operators will be permitted to offer odds on all professional, collegiate and amateur sports events, including motor racing and esports, though betting on events involving Maine-based colleges and universities will be prohibited. Only citizens aged 21 and above will be allowed to bet.
After being approved by the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, the amended bill was then approved by unanimously by the House, and by a 19-15 vote in the Senate. It still requires confirmatory votes in each chamber, which will have to take place today (June 19), the final day of the state’s legislative session.
Should these go ahead, and each chamber backs the bill, it would then progress to Governor Janet Mills to be signed into law.