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Maine passes sports betting bill on final day of legislative session


Maine has become the third state in New England to regulate sports betting after its legislature pushed a bill through the House and Senate in just two days.

Legislative Document 553, which moved rapidly through the legislature on Tuesday (June 18), was given final approval by each chamber yesterday (June 19), and will now pass to Governor Janet Mills to be signed into law.

The one-line bill was filed by Senator Louis Lucchini in January this year, sitting with the legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee while lawmakers developed a regulatory framework. Once this had been completed, the bill quickly moved through the Senate and House, aided by a suspension of rules to allow for two readings in a day, with only confirmatory votes required yesterday.

LD553 opens up the market to all of the state’s bricks and mortar gaming venues, such as commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and commercial and tribal casinos. It will also allow mobile operators to apply for licences without the need for a land-based partner in the state.

Successful applicants will pay a $20,000 licence fee, then a 10% tax on land-based wagering revenue, and a 16% rate for mobile wagering. The bulk of revenue raised through these taxes will be allocated to the Maine General Fund, 1% of all wagering revenue to be allocated to the state’s Gambling Addiction Prevention and Treatment Fund. A further 1% will be used to cover the Gambling Control Unit’s operating costs.

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.

It follows Rhode Island, which launched its sports betting market in November 2018, and New Hampshire, which passed regulations on June 14, to become the third New England state to legalise sports betting.