Maine Sports Betting Sets Focus on One Bill, Will it Pass?
Maine went into this legislative season with four bills that would legalize sports betting. These bills all had different approaches and details; however, three were just thrown out by the Senate committee tasked with reviewing them, The Maine Legal and Veteran Affairs Committee. Now we are only left with a single bill, LD1345.
Bill Details for LD1352
The bill that was chosen to advance calls for $100,000 in fees for each two-year license. It also has a tax rate of 16% for all mobile sports betting. That tax rate drops to 10% for retail sports betting. Both of these rates are in line with the bills that we have seen passed recently. However, the discrepancy between online and retail tax rates is quite high.
Restrictions on sports betting include wagers on any Maine-based college, as well as restrictions on some prop-bets. These prop bet restrictions were actually suggested by the NFL and are for minor things that are not game-related.
Changes to LD1352
The bill, first introduced by Senator Louis Luchini, originally did not require any kind of partnership between online sportsbooks and retail casinos in Maine. However, this is what the Committee is looking to change. While the group likes the bones of this bill the most, they are requiring some form of tethering to be added.
Examples of this form of licensing can be seen in states like New Jersey or Pennsylvania. In these states, to operate an online sportsbook or online casino, you need to partner with a land-based casino or racetrack inside the state. Basically, the retail casinos, race tracks, and in some cases, card rooms are given the online sports betting skins or licenses. Then, they can partner with the likes of DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, etc., and pass that license to them through a partnership.
Governor Janet Mills
In 2020 the Maine legislature did its job of supplying the state with a sports betting bill. This was a sports betting bill that they felt did a fantastic job of meeting the needs of the state, the people, and the sportsbooks. However, when the bill got to Governor Janet Mill’s office, she rejected it, and no sports betting bill was completed.
While Janet Mills claims that this was to protect that state as it was not “ready” for sports betting, this most likely had to do with the fact that tethering was not included in the bill. Penn National and Churchill Downs, two big casinos, were both against the bill. Janet Mills received 80% of her donations from a select few industries that include big casinos.
Hopefully, the combination of Luchini’s bill and the additions of tethering are enough to appease the Governor and get through the State Congress. The bill is still quite a ways away as it has just left Committee, and it is left needing revisions. However, getting sports betting down to one bill was a big step in this legislative process.