Maine sports betting has been live for less than three months, but gambling legislation is again a hot topic in the Pine Tree State.
The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee discussed multiple gaming bills Wednesday, including potential iGaming legalization. Later this month, the committee is slated to discuss legislation that would shorten the length of Maine sports betting licenses.
Maine sports betting launched in November. Online sports betting is legal through the four tribes in the state.
iGaming in Maine a possibility?
The committee discussed LD 1777, a bill that would legalize iGaming for tribes in Maine. Both House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson support the bill, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Maine could tax iGaming at 10% under the bill.
While there is plenty of legislative support, the state’s two casinos voiced opposition to the bill. Gov. Janet Mills said she would veto an iGaming bill last session, and had vetoed sports betting legislation prior to the 2022 bill that succeeded as part of a broader tribal package she supported.
A good idea with tweaking?
Maine Gambling Control Board Chairman Steve Silver supports iGaming expansion, but hopes it can be done with an open market.
“Maine absolutely should consider legalizing Internet Gaming,” Silver wrote in a written testimony. “Overall, LD 1777 needs more modification before moving forward. I urge you to adopt an open, free-market approach that includes the Tribes and the casinos while also reconsidering the proposed taxation and regulatory model.”
Silver also raised concerns about the broad definition of internet gaming.
More casinos in Maine?
The committee also discussed LD 1944, which would expand the gaming opportunities for the state’s tribes. At least five new casinos could be built under the bill.
Like the iGaming bill, the state’s existing two commercial casinos spoke against the bill.
Members also heard a bill to legalize historical horse racing and electronic beano. The proposal carried similar opposition.
Change to Maine sports betting?
The committee is set to hear LD 2117 on January 22. This bill would require Maine sports betting licensees to renew yearly rather than every four years.
Maine Gambling Control Unit Executive Director Milt Champion is behind the bill.
“It’s my bill to bring it in line with other areas of oversight,” Champion said. “With acquisitions, executive changes, etc., a four-year span makes it difficult in the review of renewal applications.”
Maine sports betting so far
From the November 3 launch through December, sportsbooks took $82 million in wagers.
DraftKings controls 80% of the market share through the first two months of action.