With Maine sports betting ready to go live Friday, DraftKings announced Tuesday it will join the market in the fourth and final license spot.
Shortly after the Maine Gambling Control Unit announced Maine sports betting would launch 9 am Friday, DraftKings unveiled a partnership with the Passamaquoddy Tribe to gain online access to the Pine Tree State.
“Building a relationship with the Passamaquoddy Tribe is a fantastic opportunity for DraftKings, as we look to bring customers in the state of Maine safe and legal sports betting,” DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said in a release.
DraftKings did not disclose a go-live date, but MGCU Executive Director Milton Champion told LSR Wednesday he expects the operator to launch Friday. Caesars partnered with the other three tribes eligible for online licenses in Maine and will debut Friday.
Surprising Maine sports betting deal
Earlier this year, the Sports Betting Alliance said its member operators, including DraftKings, would not pursue an online license in Maine. According to an SBA spokesperson at the time, the revenue-sharing requirements would make it difficult to operate within Maine.
Sports betting operators in Maine are entitled to 30% of sports betting revenue but could request up to 40%. The state’s tribal revenue-sharing agreement allows tribes to keep 50%.
Last week, Champion said he expected the Passamaquoddy Tribe to apply for a license before launch. DraftKings is the sole operator in neighboring New Hampshire and is also available in nearby Massachusetts, home to its Boston headquarters.
“The Passamaquoddy Tribe is excited to enter into a mobile sports wagering agreement with DraftKings,” Passamaquoddy Tribe Chief William Nicholas said. “We couldn’t have landed a better organization in the mobile sports wagering arena, and we look forward to continued progress and investment for future growth in the state of Maine.”
Maine in-person sportsbooks slow to apply
Facilities eligible for in-person sportsbooks are not rushing to open, according to Champion. BetMGM will open two in-person sportsbooks at OTBs in Maine following construction later this year.
A third OTB eligible for an in-person license has not applied for a license.
Likewise, casinos owned by Penn Entertainment and Churchill Downs also have not applied for licenses, Champion said.
Long wait for Maine sports betting
Despite Gov. Janet Mills signing sports betting into law in May 2022, bettors have waited more than a year and a half to place legal wagers.
Champion has worked on regulations since the signature. In May 2022, Champion suggested it might take until 2024 to launch but became optimistic this summer the market could be live before the new year.
“There comes a time when you just need to roll it out, let the wrinkles come, and then iron it out,” Champion told LSR last week. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel or come up with anything new.”