Maine Sports Betting Veto Override Could Turn On One Vote Thursday

Posted on February 5, 2020

The Senate waited three weeks for the stars to align to push for an override of the governor’s veto of legalizing Maine sports betting.

It didn’t happen Tuesday, but it may happen Thursday, and one man could make the difference.

Senate and House sponsors of the bill tell Legal Sports Report that the reason the vote didn’t occur Tuesday was the absence of Senate Minority Leader Dana Dow.

Sen. Louis Luchini indicated that Senate leadership met before the session started and determined this wasn’t the day to run the vote to overturn the Maine sports betting veto.

With Dow expected back at the next Senate session Thursday, legislators hope the vote count could finally add up.

Puzzling together Maine sports betting override

When Gov. Janet Mills vetoed his LD 553 on Jan. 10, Luchini wasn’t optimistic about an override.

Overturning a veto requires a two-thirds vote. With 35 members in the Senate, 24 votes are needed from a full chamber.

The bill only passed originally by a vote of 19-15. Override chances got a boost when Senate President Troy Jackson began stumping for votes, according to legislators.

With so few seats, absences can play a major factor. Leadership began checking each day, holding out for a day when the headcount is favorable.

House waiting for a turn to override

If the Senate were to vote to override Thursday, Rep. Scott Strom said a House vote would likely occur next Tuesday.

Despite the House being overwhelmingly Democratic (89 Democrats, 56 Republicans, six independents), Strom said that he is comfortable the votes are there to override the sports betting veto.

He added that Democrats like that the bill allows participation of the state’s Indian tribes.

The Maine Senate will be back in action at 10 a.m. Thursday. Lawmakers have until the conclusion of the legislative session April 15 to override the sports wagering veto.

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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