A bill to legalize mobile sports betting in Maine has been enacted by the state’s House chamber, clearing a regulatory hurdle before being passed to the US state’s Senate and then the Governor for final approval.
Governor Janet Mills will be given the chance to sign off the bill if it passes through the state’s Appropriations Table – a joint committee that is expected to convene as early as today (July 1) – and then receives the backing of the full Senate.
Mills vetoed a previous mobile sports betting bill in January 2020. It is expected that the new law, which includes updated responsible gambling guidelines, is more likely to succeed, although local reports have suggested that the Governor remains split on the issue.
The Senate voted 23-12 to pass the bill on to the next approval stage earlier this month.
Senate Bill 1352 was first introduced by Senator Louis Luchini in April, but was later amended to bring in a significant change regarding the award of licenses.
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 latest version of the bill limits licenses to casinos.
The latest amendments also 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.
The latest amendments also state that 0.55% of the adjusted gross sports wagering receipts would be distributed to entities that operate live harness racing in the state.
Another 0.55% would go to the Sire Stakes Fund, and 0.4% would be allocated to the Agricultural Fair Promotion Fund.