Maine sports betting kicks off Friday after a long wait following passage last year.
Following more than 18 months of regulatory work, Maine sports betting will launch at 9 am Friday, according to a Maine Gambling Control Unit release Tuesday. Maine bettors can begin account registration and deposits Wednesday.
“We’re excited. We’re raring to go,” MGCU Executive Director Milton Champion told LSR last week. “The day after we go live, I’m going to Disneyland. There comes a time when you just need to roll it out, let the wrinkles come, and then iron it out. We didn’t reinvent the wheel or come up with anything new.”
Maine sports betting options limited
DraftKings announced Tuesday it entered an agreement with the state’s fourth tribe, the Passamaquoddy Tribe. Lobbying group Sports Betting Alliance, which represents DraftKings, BetMGM, Fanatics and FanDuel, previously said its members would not participate in the online market.
BetMGM has contracts with several OTBs in Maine, while Penn Entertainment and Churchill Downs have casinos that can open in-person sportsbooks.
Pick’em down in Maine
While Champion gets the sports betting industry up and running, he recently shut down daily fantasy sports pick’em products in the state.
This summer, he sent Underdog a complaint regarding their prop-style pick’em product.
Earlier this month, he concluded his investigation, resulting in a nearly $400,000 fine and a cease and desist order, and Underdog pulled out of the state.
Long road to Maine betting
There have been multiple attempts to legalize Maine sports betting, including legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Janet Mills in 2020. Last year, Mills signed sports betting into law as part of a larger tribal sovereignty package.
In May 2022, Champion told LSR it was possible sports betting could take until 2024, and he took his time in setting up the industry.
“I’m the executive director. I’m not going to do anything to embarrass myself,” Champion said at the time. “I need to look into a lot of things, from acquisitions to violations. Shouldn’t I be looking at this industry a little longer than just willy-nilly, ‘Here’s the rules and application, go for it.’”
Despite a suspension in May, Champion and the MGCU were able to push the launch to this week.
Wheel not reinvented in Maine
The initial draft included strict advertising rules that would have required MGCU approval of advertisements.
Industry pushback caused Champion to lighten the restrictions. However, they still do not allow operators to advertise promotional offers. Operators also cannot use celebrities in advertisements.