Is sports betting legal in Maine?

Yes, sports betting is legal, but it’s unavailable right now, and no sports betting sites are active yet. Maine lawmakers and Gov. Janet Mills signed off on LD 585 in early May 2022, and the law became active in August 2022. The delay was due to the fact that Maine law requires new bills to wait 90 days before becoming effective. 

There could be as many as four online sportsbooks and 10 sportsbook locations (based on the number of licenses the law allows) coming to Maine in the near future. All four of the federally recognized tribes in Maine can offer online sportsbooks, and each license allows for a single skin.

When will sports betting launch in Maine? 

The most likely launch date for Maine sports betting is sometime in mid-to-late 2023. The executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, Milton Champion, has repeatedly declined to put a hard deadline on the start date, but he did lay out a path for Maine sports betting to go live in the summer of 2023 during a January press conference.

Next steps for Maine sports betting

The law became effective in Maine in August 2022. However, legalization has put quite the onus on the Maine Gambling Control Unit. It took regulators several months to draft the proposed rules to manage sports betting for both online and in-person sportsbooks, and they were finally released in January 2023. A notice of a public hearing regarding the rules is set for January 31.

Champion also mentioned that he has begun to reach out to stakeholders. This process is still in its early phases.

So, while there is definite progress for sports betting in Maine, it is slow progress and there is no firm date about the completion of the administrative side of things, to say nothing about the licensing process itself (once it begins). The law does not mention any requirement for the renegotiation of tribal compacts, but there’s an outside chance that such a step might also become necessary as the launch approaches.

What’s happening in Maine sports betting right now:

Possible Maine sports betting sites

LD 585 authorizes the four federally recognized tribes in Maine —  the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation — to offer online sports betting in the state. They will each partner with an existing online sports betting company, and more than one tribe can partner with the same sportsbook. That means up to four big online books could be offering their services in the Pine Tree State soon.

The question, of course, is which will be the lucky four. There are several possibilities, but a few prominent names seem more likely than others. Here are our best guesses for possible sports betting sites in Maine:

  1. BetMGM
  2. Caesars
  3. DraftKings
  4. FanDuel
  5. PointsBet

One name not on our list is Barstool Sportsbook. Barstool is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, which owns the Hollywood Casino in Bangor. As such, it seems a bit less likely because it is a natural competitor to the tribes. It’s possible that Barstool might get the nod from one of the groups because of its in-state familiarity, but partnering with the competition seems a bit antithetical to the tribes’ needs.

Maine sports betting law

The road to sports betting has been a long one in Maine. Though the law only recently received approval and went into effect, its passage represents the culmination of more than two years of work in the Maine Legislature. Lawmakers in both the state House of Representatives and Senate warred with one another and with Gov. Janet Mills over the issue. When the 2022 session rolled around, the focus was on a new bill, rather than rehashing the old ones.

LD 585 passed the House, the Senate and the governor’s desk in early 2022. It became effective in the state on Aug. 2, 2022. According to Maine law, there must be a 90-day moratorium before any new legislation can take effect.

Key takeaways from the Maine sports betting law

Where to find sportsbooks in Maine

The 2022 law states that commercial racetracks, casinos and OTBs are eligible to offer sports betting. We list a few of the qualifying locations below. The expectation is that you will find a sportsbook at most if not all of these locations once legal betting launches.

  1. Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway, Bangor
  2. Oxford Casino Hotel, Oxford
  3. Winners Sports Grill and Off Track Betting, Brunswick
  4. Winners Circle OTB, Lewiston
  5. Favorites OTB, Waterville
  6. Sanford OTB, Sanford
  7. Scarborough Downs, Scarborough

Legal gambling in Maine

There are two casinos in the state. Hollywood Casino in Bangor (owned and operated by Penn National Gaming) is the closest to a full-service Vegas-style gambling venue in Maine. The property offers slots, table games, a poker room, live horse racing with pari-mutuel wagering and simulcast betting on races around the country. The other option is the Oxford Casino Hotel in Oxford (owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc.). Although it doesn’t have the racetrack or poker room, the property still has slot machines and table games for Mainers and visitors to play. Here are the contact details for the two casino properties:

People in the state may also take part in the Maine Lottery, which offers draw games, instant win games and fast play games. Multi-state drawings like Powerball, Mega Millions and Megabucks Plus are all available, as are several in-state drawings. The Maine Lottery does not offer internet sales, but it is possible to purchase lots of tickets in advance.

Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Maine?

Yes. DFS is legal to play in Maine. LD 1320 in 2017 explicitly allowed the practice under state law. Both DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as other smaller DFS providers, are available in the state.

Is it legal to wager on horse races in Maine?

Yes. There are live harness races at Hollywood Bangor each year between April and November. In addition, the state is home to five off-track betting locations, most of which are standalone properties away from the track itself. 

People in Maine can also bet on horse races online. However, they may only do so through a single site — www.hollywoodraces.com. While most states that allow advance deposit wagering allow multiple vendors, the Maine Gambling Control Unit has only authorized Penn National Gaming to offer online horse betting in the state.

Popular sports to bet on in Maine

In terms of population, Maine is not a very big place. In fact, there are eight cities in the US alone that have more people living in each of them than the entire state of Maine. A consequence of the low number of inhabitants is that there are no major professional sports teams in Maine. 

As a result, most Mainers tend to root for teams from New England. In particular, the sports teams in Boston get the majority of the support. As we noted, Maine does not allow betting on in-state college teams. Here are the most popular teams in Maine that are also likely to receive the largest handle once sports betting launches officially:

Maine sports betting history

2022: While the 2021 bill sat on the appropriations table with slim hopes of finishing the deal because Gov. Mills was unlikely to sign it, the governor added online sports betting exclusivity to a tribal sovereignty package. 

Some changes happened throughout the process, including adding retail sports betting for commercial gambling entities. Despite some concerns over the process to reach this bill and usurp the bill that passed in 2021, the legislation eventually garnered enough support to pass both chambers. Mills signed the bill. However, according to the Maine Gambling Control Unit, the launch might not happen until 2024. 

2021: Both the House and Senate passed a sports betting bill granting online sports betting access to the state’s commercial gambling entities and tribes. The legislation ended the session on the appropriations table, where it languished into the 2022 session with slim hopes of anyone reviving it.

2020: When the Maine legislative session resumed on Jan. 8, Mills had three days to veto the prior year’s Maine sports betting bill or allow it to become law. On the final day, she cited concerns about expanding gambling in the state and vetoed the bill. It seemed unlikely that the Maine Legislature, with an overwhelming Democratic majority, would be willing to override the veto of a governor from their own party. However, lawmakers showed support for legalizing sports betting in Maine by making a strong push for the override.

After the governor lobbied to protect her veto, House Speaker Sara Gideon ran the vote. The vote in favor of the override was 85-57, but the override failed as it needed 94 votes for a two-thirds majority. 2019: Maine seemed to come out of nowhere to pass a sports betting bill through both chambers on the final day of the legislative session in June. Mills declined to sign the bill but also didn’t veto it within 10 days. In most states, the bill becomes law with no action from the governor. Maine’s constitution instructs that, if the Legislature is no longer in session, inaction stalls the decision to the first three days of the next legislative session.

Maine sports betting FAQ

Can I bet on sports in Maine?

Not yet. There are no sportsbooks open for business in Maine at this time. However, sports betting is legal in the state, and regulators are working toward a launch.

There may be some online operators that claim to accept bets from within Maine, but these sportsbooks are operating outside US laws. These books could close up shop or refuse to pay out any winnings and there would be no legal recourse for the bettor. 

How many online sports betting sites will launch in Maine?

Just four online sports betting sites are anticipated in Maine once the state officially launches. The 2022 law allows one online skin for each of the four federally recognized tribes in the state.

Will I be able to bet on my phone?

Yes. The law allows the state’s four Native American tribes to offer online sports betting and they will likely partner with an online sportsbook to do so. There could be up to four sportsbook apps live in Maine.

Who regulates sports betting in Maine?

The Maine Gambling Control Unit. The MGCU is in charge of both publicizing the rules for the new industry and managing the industry itself once it launches.

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