- Maine has filed three sports betting bills.
- The legislative session ends in the middle of June.
- Maine would become the second state in the New England region to legalize sports wagering.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine legislators have held true to their word of ensuring proper oversight of legal sports betting in the state, as they have filed three sports betting bills over the last month.
“It is pretty obvious why we are doing it,” said Representative Jeffrey Evangelos, (I- Friendship). “It is fun and everyone else is doing it.”
Evangelos is the main sponsor of LD 1348, which was the first sports betting filed in the state.
His version would authorize sports wagering in Maine in both online and in-person outlets. Those under 21 would not be permitted to wager on sporting events, nor would participants of sporting events such as athletes, referees, coaches, or administrators.
Licenses would be granted to applicants who meet qualifications and pay a $30,000 application fee.
Renewals, which would need to happen annually, would cost $15,000. Operators shall also pay a 25% tax on their sports wagering income, which all but one percent will be dispersed to the Department of Education for essential programs and services. The remaining one percent will be sent to the state’s general fund.
“We are not reinventing anything. It is an established model that works,” said Evangelos. The established model he is referring to is the state of New Jersey, which sets similar regulations.
LD 1348 is in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, along with LD 1515.
Sponsored by Representative Dustin White (R- Washburn), LD 1515 would allow horse racing tracks and off-track betting facilities conduct sports wagering. Licenses would cost only $5,000 for the application fee and an additional $2,000 for renewing it.
White’s bill also lowers the permitted gambling age, where players as young as 18 would be able to bet on sports. The same restrictions apply as LD 1348, where those involved in the athletic program would be prohibited from wagering.
LD 1515 would see 18% of sports wagering income be allocated back to the state. Five percent would be given to the tribal governments, one percent would head to the general fund, two percent would help fund essential programs and services for students, and the other remaining eight percent would be evenly distributed among four outlets about the pari-mutuel wagering industry.
“Looking at the national attention, it is just going to trickle up to Maine. I’d rather be the first in New England,” said White.
The other Maine legislators agree though they have not taken any action in the committee yet. However, co-chair of the committee, Senator Louis Luchini (D- Ellsworth), is crafting his own legislative bill supporting the industry.
LD 1571 is expected to undergo its first reading on Tuesday, where it will likely be joining the other bills in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.
Luchini’s bill would only authorize tribal casinos to offer sports wagering. Under this measure, licenses would cost either $100,000 or $2,000 depending on the tribe’s status. Renewal fees would cost $50,000 or $2,000, respectively.
Those who are 21 would be allowed to put their money on the line either at the tribal casinos or through an online platform. Sports wagering income would be taxed at 11%, where 10% percent would journey to the Department of Education to fund essential programs. The remaining one percent would be sent to the general fund.
“Anytime we expand gambling we have to consider the negative effects. That always becomes part of the equation,” said Luchini.
The debate will likely begin this week, but much work has to be done on these bills before the June 19 adjournment date.
But according to the Executive Director of Maine’s Gambling Control Unit, Milton Champion, “There’s really not a hurry on this — we want to make sure we have the least amount of hiccups.”
Michael began writing as an NBA content writer and has spent time scouting college basketball for Florida State University under Leonard Hamilton and the University of Alabama under Anthony Grant. A graduate of both schools, he covers topics focused on legal sports betting, betting odds, and casino reviews. Michael likes to golf, play basketball, hike, and kayak when not glued to the TV watching NBA games.