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Maine Senate overrides Governor veto on sports betting bill


Maine’s Senate has voted to override Governor Janet Mills’ veto of a bill that would legalise sports betting in the state, with the legislation now set to move forward and become law.

The Senate voted 20-10 in favour of the measure when asked the question: “Shall this Bill become a law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor?” The bill will now be put to a vote in Maine’s House, where it is expected to pass.

Mills vetoed Legislative Document 553 last month, arguing that the people of Maine are not ready for sports betting. Though she praised the bill’s intention in bringing sports betting away from the black market, she did not believe such a bill at this time was the will of the people of her state.

Speaking last month, Mills added that she would rather see Maine examine the successes and failings of legal sports betting elsewhere in the US before a bill is passed in Maine.

Mills also said she was concerned the bill would not do enough to prevent young people being exposed to gambling through advertising. She acknowledged that mobile sportsbook operators were able to employ sophisticated mechanisms to detect problem gamblers and underage play.

Filed by Senator Louis Lucchini in January of last year, LD 553 sat with the House Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee before progressing through the House and Senate last June.

However, it remained on the governor’s desk for more than six months due to a clause in Maine’s constitution. Under Article IV, Part III, the Governor does not need to sign or veto a bill passed at the end of a session until 10 working days after the start of the next one.

If Mills had not vetoed the bill, it would have automatically passed into law.

The bill sets out how sports betting would be open to Maine’s brick-and-mortar gaming venues, such as commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and commercial and tribal casinos.

LD 553 would also permit mobile operators to apply for licenses without the need for a land-based partner in the state. Land-based licensees would be taxed on 10% of sports wagering revenue, with mobile subject to a 16% tax rate.