AUGUSTA, Maine – During a public hearing held on Friday in the Senate Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs in Maine, the topic of sports betting legislation was discussed in depth. A number of people spoke in favor of a regulated sports wagering market for Maine, from constituents to lawmakers, and representatives for sportsbook operators.
The Outlook For A Regulated Maine Sports Betting Industry
Regulated sports betting in Maine has a number of bills open for passage in 2021. In January of 2020, Governor Janet Mills vetoed ME LD 553 after it passed in the Maine State Legislature to open sportsbooks in the state. There are currently four sets of companion bills open regarding sports betting this year.
While the hearing went over all of the bills on the table, the focus seemed to be geared toward ME LD 1352. This proposal is the most competitive of all the measures open in the legislature for 2021.
It is very similar to that of the previous bill vetoed by the Governor last year with a few differences in the words used throughout the draft. Senator Louis Luchini is the sponsor of this bill that looks to regulate both retail and mobile sportsbooks in Maine. The biggest point of opposition for ME LD 1352 came with its inclusion of having non-tethered mobile operators.
People spoke out to say that allowing strictly online sportsbooks without having them tied to a retail location would take away from the business of sportsbook venues. However, Senator Luchini stated that there has been no evidence to suggest that mobile sports betting platforms affect land-based sportsbooks in terms of foot traffic in any way nationwide.
His bill would also allow for both commercial and tribal sportsbooks. Luchini said that ideally, no cap for operators would be seen in order to create the most competitive sports betting industry in Maine. Mobile sports betting operators will have a tax rate of 16% on all GGR while retail locations will be taxed at 10%.
One license will be allotted for each operator for a fee of $20,000. Casinos, OTB, racetracks, and tribal gaming establishments are considered eligible retail locations. Presently, the bill does not allow for collegiate sports betting for Maine schools, however, it was mentioned that they should be included within the proposal due to the number of fans in the state.
Other sports wagering bills that did not receive as much interest at the meeting but are still on the table for Maine in 2021 are ME LD 1404, ME LD 1405, and ME LD 1527.
What’s To Come For Maine?
Governor Janet Mills said she wanted a year to research sports betting before moving forward with any legislation. This was said at the time of her vetoing the 2020 proposal. She has now had a year to see how other states in the nation have done with their regulated sports wagering industries. Lawmakers are more confident that Maine will receive a sports betting market in 2021 through one of these bills; ME LD 1352 in particular.
The Maine State Legislature will adjourn on June 16, giving government officials about six weeks to move on any one of these measures. Should they do so, the hearing on Friday said that each proposal expects to go live with a sports wagering market in Maine by the Fall to get in on the NFL betting season.
This article is a reprint from LegalSportsBetting.com. To view the original story and comment, click here.