Gov. Janet Mills vetoed ME LD 553 on Friday.

  • Lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session approved ME LD 553 during the last few days of the session.
  • Governor Janet Mills held the bill into 2020 to delay her potential approval or rejection of the measure.
  • After her veto decision, Maine residents will have to wait before they can place legal land-based wagers in the state.

AUGUSTA, Maine – After a long wait from residents to hear the opening bell for legal Maine sports betting, the wait will have to continue.

Though legislators in the 2019 legislative session agreed to terms on legalizing the activity, Governor Janet Mills decided to let her decision on the measure roll over to the 2020 legislative session. As the session began on Wednesday, Governor Mills had until Saturday at midnight to approve ME LD 553, allow it to pass, or veto it.

The latter became the result on Friday, as Governor Mills made her decision during the afternoon. This was one of the 40 bills that Governor Mills had held from the last legislative session, as she claimed this measure needed work surrounding many technical issues.

In a letter to the Legislature, Mills expressed her reasons for vetoing the agreed-upon measure.

“The Supreme Court said we could regulate it; but that does not mean we have to,” said Mills in the letter.

Governor Mills wants to see more of a “delicate balance” when it comes to bringing a black-market activity out from the underground. As the state was ready to collect sports betting revenue from taxation, Mills expressed that “overregulation and overtaxing may drive it back underground”.

The state would have collected 16% of mobile sports betting revenues as well as 10% of land-based sports wagering venues – rates much higher than other states with legal sports betting.

Still, Mills remained “unconvinced at this time that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic events.”

Despite being vetoed, the bill will venture back to the Legislature, which has the option to override Governor Mills’ decision. Senators such as Louis Luchini (D- Ellsworth) – the bill’s sponsor – are disappointed regarding Mill’s veto but were alerted before the final decision was announced.

However, to close her letter, Mills expressed that she is ready to work with the Legislature in order to bring legal sports betting to Maine.

“Should the legislature override this veto, or should Legislature take up a similar measure next year, my administration will continue to help with drafting and analysis to best the address the unique needs of our state.”

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