The Maine legislature has approved a bill authorizing in-person and mobile sports betting. The legislation now moves to the desk of Governor Janet Mills for one last signature before becoming the law of the land.
LD 533 was approved by the House and Senate this week, with one final vote pushing the bill over to Governor Mills on Wednesday evening. Barring a surprise veto from the governor, Maine is set to legalize sports betting for people 21 and older via sportsbooks and mobile betting apps.
A first look at the language of the law paints a promising picture for players and operators alike with the free market slated to play the most important role in shaping the industry.
Lawmakers opted to take a “free market approach” by not requiring mobile operators to partner with land-based casinos. Under the Maine sports betting law, a “qualified gaming entity” that is authorized in any other US jurisdiction may apply for a license in Maine without having an existing physical presence within the state.
The issue of “tethering” was debated earlier this week with some lawmakers in support of requiring operators to partner with land-based casinos in a manner similar to how it’s done in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Other lawmakers, including bill sponsor Senator Louis Luchini, argued against tethering requirements. At one point during the debate, Senator Luchini put it this way:
“To me it’s a strange way to write a law that would require a new business to come into Maine only if they tether their license to an existing business. We don’t require Amazon to tether to existing grocery stores and we don’t require Airbnb to tether to hotels.”
Maine Sports Betting Highlights
Both chambers eventually settled on the non-tethered version of the bill and have since passed it on to the governor. If the bill is approved as expected, it will allow commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racetracks and off-track betting facilities (OTBs) to apply for in-person and mobile betting licenses.
Additionally, other qualified gaming entities will be permitted to apply as well to offer online betting via websites and mobile apps to customers located within state lines.
Other key points from the bill include:
- Allows wagers on professional, college and amateur sports such as the Olympics
- Allows wagers on motor sports and eSports
- Sets a minimum age of 21 to bet on sports in Maine
- Prohibits wagers on high school sports and other events in which the majority of participants are under 18
- Prohibits wagers on games involving Maine college teams
- Law does not require integrity fees or force operators to buy official data from the sports leagues
- In-person sportsbooks pay a 10% tax
- Mobile betting apps pay a 16% tax
- Creates five licensing classes for in-person sportsbooks, mobile betting apps, suppliers, management services and employees
Types of Licenses
|Facility sports wagering license||Authorizes licensee to accept in-person wagers||$2,000|
|Mobile sports wagering license||Authorizes licensee to accept wagers via internet and mobile devices||$20,000|
|Supplier license||Authorizes licensee to sell goods and services to be used for sports wagering||$20,000|
|Management services license||Authorizes licensee to manage sports wagering on behalf of a mobile or facility license holder||$20,000|
|Occupational license||Required for employees of licensed sports betting operators||$250|
Regulatory Body and Rules
Regulation and oversight to be provided by the Gambling Control Unit (GCU) within the Department of Public Safety. The Director of the GCU is tasked with forming additional regulations deemed necessary to ensure a safe and functional industry.
Those regulations must address, at a minimum, the following topics
- Qualifications for obtaining a sports betting license
- Methods of operations of sports betting providers such as permitted systems to process wagers, the use of credit, types of receipts to be issued to bettors and protocols to promote healthy gambling habits
- Whether or not the state should establish a maximum wager size
- Minimum security standards for physical and mobile sportsbooks
- Types of people (such as pro athletes and league employees) who should be prohibited from betting
- Minimum internal control standards related to finances and recordkeeping