It seemed like legal sports betting in Maine might be a long shot after Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill in early 2020.
Frustrated would-be bettors in the Pine Tree State can let any lingering animosity go, though, as Mills signed LD 585 to allow retail and online Maine sportsbooks.
“This law provides meaningful economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations. It incentivizes investment in Tribal communities, and it formalizes a collaboration process on policy that sets the foundation for a stronger relationship in the future,” Mills said in a statement
Legislation in Maine is effective 90 days after the session ends. The 2022 session ended April 25 so sports betting could start in late July or early August, just in time for NFL betting.
Maine sports betting details
Sports betting in Maine was legalized as part of a larger bill addressing tribal sovereignty.
As part of the deal, only the state’s three federally recognized tribes will get a mobile ME sports betting license. Those operators can choose to build their own book with B2B software or sign an agreement with one of the many available B2C operators including DraftKings, FanDuel or Caesars Sportsbook.
There are an additional 10 retail licenses for casinos, horse tracks and off-track betting facilities.
There was another sports betting bill approved by both chambers last year but left on the appropriations table. That would have given mobile access to both tribes and commercial operators.
Tax scheme is operator-friendly
Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 10% under the bill, but the tax is not levied on gross revenue.
Operators can deduct both federal excise tax payments, as well as promotions.
Licensing fees are relatively low as well. A four-year mobile license will cost $200,000, while a retail license for the same length is just $4,000.
Previous veto of Maine sports betting was odd
There were plenty of people scratching their heads in January 2020 trying to figure out why Mills vetoed the sports betting bill passed in 2019.
In her veto letter, Mills acknowledged the work done by the legislature to try to bring sports betting away from the black market. She stated she remained “unconvinced” a majority of people in Maine wanted legal betting. She then added this line:
“In addition, while legalized sports gambling may attract some revenue to the state coffers, the same economic premise in theory would justify legalizing all forms of gambling – betting on the weather, spelling bees and school board elections, for instance.”