Maine could be next in line when it comes to the eventual implementation of allowing wagers on sports, according to a mid-January report from Portland Press-Herald.
With several of its surrounding states – including both Rhode Island and Connecticut in New England specifically – already attempting to pass legislature that would legalize sports betting, several bills within the state legislature have afforded Maine the possibility of legalizing sports wagering. Multiple bills are currently “heading for debate” as a result of the state’s legislative session.
It’s worth noting that a recent string of bills and proposals throughout the United States has stemmed from a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that initially opened the door for individual states to regulate sports betting. Though the first month of the 2019 calendar year has yet to come and go, at least 30 states are now entertaining the idea that has become whether or not to allow citizens to place wagers on sports. Speaking to the Portland Press-Herald, a spokesperson for Senate President Troy Jackson said in a formal statement:
“The general idea is to establish a regulatory structure for sports betting in Maine after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this past spring. It also gives the Gambling Control Board significant authority to regulate sports betting.”
Similarly to Connecticut, it appears as though Maine is attempting to keep everyone happy in this scenario as some of the state’s new bills could potentially give casinos in both Bangor and Oxford authorization to offer sports-related wagers as well. Other options stemming from some of the new legislation would be to grant such permission to the state’s American Indian tribes as well.
The possibility of regulating online sports betting in Maine also remains in the cards at the moment. “They still feel a little skeptical about that,” Rep. Benjamin Collins said in regards to the tribal interest in the legalization of sports betting, in addition to other gambling-related enterprises. “This is not an opportunity for them to make a ton of money but maybe a little bit.”
Collins, a democrat who notably sponsors one of the bills designed to aid Maine’s American Indian tribes, added that an eventual compromise would have to be met to accommodate “casinos, off-track-betting parlors, and the harness race industry” in addition to the state’s American Indian tribes.
Presumably serving as at least somewhat of a catalyst for the recent arrival of this group of bills, Collins also noted that the legalization of sports betting in Maine would become a multi-million-dollar market, “but probably not in the tens of millions,” in the state alone. The market does exist, however, with the Twin Rivers casino in Rhode Island noting that citizens from Maine have been coming to the casino.
Although Maine still remains a little ways away from actually bringing such bills to law, the necessary steps and measures are certainly being taken – even if the process will continue to take some time. A sponsor of another yet another bill in favor of legalizing sports betting, Sen. Louis Luchini has not even drafted his version of a bill yet as he continues to research what other states throughout the country have been doing in order to secure a well-rounded model for the future.
“The goal would be to ensure there is an adequate regulatory framework for sports wagering, as it’s becoming legalized across the country,” Luchini said.