Proponents of sports betting in Maine have one final opportunity to get bill LD 553 over the line after it was vetoed at the weekend by Governor Janet Mills. The veto is likely to be the subject of an override vote on Thursday this week but will need a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate for Mills to be overruled.
The senate was expected to hold the vote on Tuesday but held back until Thursday because a number of lawmakers were not available to participate.
For supporters of legalized sports betting in the state, the vote represents a last chance saloon for getting LD 553 enacted in its current form. Should a majority vote against Mills fail to happen, it will likely signal the end of the line for the bill, with a rewrite that could delay the introduction of sports betting in Maine for at least another year.
Maine lawmaker Senator Bill Diamond, quoted by NECN, will have little effect on the status of the bill. “I would expect that the veto will be sustained. Maine is a gambling state for sure, we just want to do it right.”
While January marks the start of Maine’s new legislature and, theoretically, the possibility of a compromise bill, Diamond remained unconvinced of a positive outcome. “We’d have to find out first if there is a path for both sides to get there,” he told NECN. “If there is, then maybe it’d be worth putting the time in and if it isn’t, it’ll probably have to wait until next year.”
As industry observers will quickly point out, a year is a long time in a US sports betting sector that has already seen rapid changes and developments. The fact won’t have been lost on those Maine policy makers who support a regulated sports wagering sector in the state, with neighboring New Hampshire and Rhode Island already up and running and generating revenue.