Maine online sports betting laws
No state has come closer to legalizing sports betting, without actually doing so, than Maine. But hopes are high that could change in 2021. In early 2020, state governor Janet Mills’s veto of a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting was a significant setback. This time around, with a new bill, LD 1352, which includes changes such as tying online operators to land-based gaming venues, there’s hope that the governor will approve the measure.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is sports betting legal in Maine?
No. As things stand Maine sports betting has not yet been authorized, however, that could change with new legislation on the table in 2021.
Is online sports betting legal in Maine?
No, there is no Maine online sports betting yet.
In the summer of 2019, it seemed Maine was on the brink of introducing both retail and online sports betting. Both chambers of the legislature had passed bill LD 553, which laid out details of how sports betting would be regulated in the Pine Tree State.
Sports betting would be allowed in 11 locations: one racetrack, the state’s two commercial casinos, four tribal casinos and four betting parlors. Maine online sports betting would also be permitted, with online operators allowed into the state without having to partner with a land-based entity and it was proposed that there would be a tax of 16% on online bets and 10% on retail ones.
In January 2020, however, Maine governor Janet Mills vetoed the bill. She said she was “unconvinced that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic events”.
There had also been intense lobbying from the commercial casinos, who were unhappy that the bill did not stipulate that providers of Maine online betting would have to partner with a retail location.
The state’s lawmakers pushed back strongly on the veto and held a vote to override it. Although a majority voted in favor, the required two-thirds threshold was not reached and the veto stood.
Mainers’ hopes for legal sports betting in their state are high in 2021, with a new bill on the table. This bill addresses concerns that Governor Mills had noted with the 2020 legislation, including a clause that gets commercial casinos on board by tying Maine online betting to retail locations. The bill was recently sent to Governor Mills for approval.
Regulated and overseen by the Maine State Harness Racing Commission, the state is home to two harness racing tracks, including Scarborough Downs and Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway, eight parimutuel horse racing fairs each year, and a handful of off-track betting locations (OTBs) that offer parimutuel wagering on events held across the country.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was legalized in Maine in 2017 and has become highly popular since. All the main DFS operators, including DraftKings and FanDuel, offer games to customers in the Pine Tree State. DFS operators must pay a licensing fee of $2,500 if they have revenue of more than $100,000 – and they pay a 10% tax on gross revenues above that figure.
Even though there are no NFL teams in Maine, the New England Patriots count many Mainers among their fans. Hockey is also popular in Maine, as are baseball and basketball. The Maine Red Claws play in the NBA G League and attract plenty of interest. The state’s most prominent college team is the Black Bears ice hockey program at the University of Maine, who have won two NCAA championships.
Gridiron fans across New England pull for the Patriots, and those in Maine are no different. With six Super Bowls since the turn of the century, the Pats have been a big deal in recent years. The Maine Black Bears provide a point of interest for college football fans too.
If and when Maine sports betting is legalized, bettors will find plenty of responsible gambling resources in the Pine Tree State.
The fact that there are casinos here already, as well as DFS and a state lottery, means there is already an appreciation of the need for all forms of gambling to be administered responsibly.
Maine also features horse racing gambling, at off-track betting locations (OTBs) and on Maine betting sites including TVG and TwinSpires.
It is encouraging to find plenty of resources to help the small minority of gamblers who develop problems.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers an overview of the impact of problem gambling and a guide to the early signs that someone you know has an issue.
The AdCare Educational Institute of Maine also has a host of programs and services, as well as access to a problem gambling helpline.
The Maine Council on Problem Gambling brings together links to organizations, support groups and self-help resources.
The National Council on Problem Gambling offers screening tools, access to treatment resources and a confidential 24-hour national helpline.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. This opens the way for states to authorize sports betting.
The state legislature passes a bill to allow Maine sports betting, both retail and online.
The state’s governor vetoes the bill and an attempt to overturn her veto is unsuccessful.
The next push to legalize Maine sports betting takes another bill to the governor’s desk.
The short answer is nowhere – yet. The veto of the 2019 bill has set back the cause of Maine sports betting.
There remains a healthy appetite towards legalization, though, and if that does happen the first retail locations where sports betting might take place are the state’s two commercial casinos and off-track betting locations (OTBs) currently focused on horse racing betting:
|Hollywood Casino Bangor||500 Main Street, Bangor ME 04401|
|Oxford Casino||777 Casino Way, Oxford ME 04270|
|Favorites OTB||38 College Avenue, Waterville, ME|
|Winners Circle OTB||12 Mollison Way (Marco's Restaurant), Lewiston, ME|
|Winners OTB||20 Farley Road, Brunswick, ME|
|Sanford OTB||890 Main Street, Sanford, ME|
|Scarborough Downs||Route One, Scarborough, ME|
|Bangor Raceway||107 Dutton Street, Bangor, ME|
No. There are no legal Maine betting sites because no online sportsbooks have yet been licensed to run their operations in the Pine Tree State. Legislation currently before the Maine governor includes authorization for online betting. In the meantime, wagering on horse racing is available at off-track betting locations (OTBs) and on specialized Maine betting sites.
No. Maine online sports betting has not yet been legalized. The only forms of online wagering currently allowed are the state lottery and horse racing. Some offshore operators offer services to customers within the United States but it is advisable not to use these sportsbooks. In the event of a dispute, you will have no legal recourse.
DraftKings is one of the biggest Daily Fantasy Sports operators and is permitted to operate in the state as a DFS provider. DraftKings has diversified in recent years to offer sportsbook services but until Maine online sports betting is permitted, DraftKings may not target sports betting customers in the state.
Cash out is a facility offered by many of the leading online sportsbooks, so Maine online betting customers will have access to it in the event of legalization.