Maine Sports Betting Bill Signed Into Law by Governor, Launch Still TBD

Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Monday signed LD 585 into law, which is legislation that allows for both retail and online sportsbooks in the New England state.

Last Updated: May 2, 2022 4:08 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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Legal sports betting in Maine is officially a go.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Monday signed LD 585 into law, which is legislation that allows for both retail and online sportsbooks in the New England state.

The bill will enable in-person betting at casinos and off-track betting facilities, while online sports wagering would be controlled by the state’s four federally recognized Native American tribes, who could partner with a mobile sportsbook operator such as DraftKings or FanDuel

There is no start date yet for sports betting in the Pine Tree State. However, wagering is just one piece of LD 585, which the governor’s office called “the most significant Tribal legislation enacted in Maine in more than 40 years,” as it also contains provisions dealing with tribal-state relations.

“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 press release.

Third time's the charm

Mills vetoed a previous effort to legalize sports wagering in 2020, while another betting bill got bogged down and stuck in the legislature last year. 

LD 585 was viewed as more likely to be signed by the governor, whose administration is trying to claim progress in patching up tribal-state ties. Part of that effort includes removing some gambling-related roadblocks that were part of a 1980 law. 

The same press release noted LD 585 “gives the Tribes the opportunity to benefit from online sports wagering, providing a meaningful way for Tribes to participate in the gaming industry in Maine from which they have been historically excluded.” 

A first for 2022

Maine has now joined three of its fellow New England states in legalizing sports betting. It is also the first state in 2022 to legalize sports betting at all, as Kansas lawmakers recently approved wagering-related legislation that has yet to be signed into law by the governor there. 

LD 585 requires bettors to be 21 or older and physically located in Maine to wager. Betting on professional, college, and amateur sports would be permitted, but not on any games involving Maine's colleges and universities.

The Department of Public Safety's Gambling Control Unit would regulate sports betting in the state. Sports-betting revenue would be subject to a 10% tax rate after certain adjustments, including the deduction of excise tax payments to the federal government.  

LD 585 sets out that 10, four-year, brick-and-mortar sportsbook licenses with a $4,000 licensing fee could be awarded. Each of the state's four tribes could receive a single mobile sports wagering license as well, which come with four-year terms and a $200,000 fee.

“I am proud of the work that the Wabanaki Nations and the State put into drafting this legislation, and I am grateful for the honest effort, the extensive research and the hundreds of hours of negotiations and discussions which bore fruit in this bill,” Mills said on Monday. “We will continue to work closely with the Tribes to make progress for the Wabanaki people.”

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