New enabling legislation has been introduced this week which, if approved, will facilitate legal sports betting in the state of Maine. Senate Bill 1352 was unveiled by Senator Louis Luchini in the Main State Senate, just over one year after Bill LD 553 – which also sought to legalize sports wagering – was thrown out by Governor Janet Mills.
The new bill calls for the authorization of a sports wagering license for the state under the auspices of Maine’s Department of Public Safety Gambling Control Unit.
The legislation sets out that sports betting licenses will only be available to commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities, casino operators and federally recognized tribes, with one license per operator costing $20,000.
Land-based licenses will attract a 10% tax rate on retail income, while mobile revenue will be levied at 16%. In-state college betting will not be allowed.
While the emergence of Bill 1352 will be warmly welcomed by proponents of a legal sports betting industry in Maine, it must still find favor with Governor Mills. Despite broad support for last year’s bill, she vetoed it on the grounds that in her opinion it lacked understanding of the experiences of other states’ efforts to legalize sports wagering.
She stated at the time: “Before Maine joins the frenzy of states hungry to attract this market, I believe we need to examine the issue more clearly; better understand the evolving experiences of other states; and thoughtfully determine the best approach for Maine.
“That approach needs to balance the desire to suppress gambling activities now being conducted illegally and the need to protect youthful gamblers and those least able to absorb losses under a closely regulated scheme.”