Have you been keeping an eye on the world of mobile sports betting? In New England and Maine, things aren’t going so well. New England has long been home to many gambling and betting establishments, but Maine has been without a sports book since 2021, when the state took over the oversight of the failing enterprise.
No gambling. While Maine did pass a bill to legalize gambling, the legislature later put that measure on hold. Hawaii is also one of only two states right now without any major gaming entity of any type, and it appears that mobile betting won’t be arriving in the state anytime soon, if ever. The same holds true for Maine, where there’s very little chance of legalized gambling, at all. Why? Because both gaming groups – the Gaming Commission and the Maine Gaming Commission – are adamantly opposed to allowing anyone to gamble or conduct sports wagering anywhere within their jurisdictions.
These two gambling commissions have enough clout in the legislature that they’ve been fighting tooth and nail to prevent any changes to their current laws. However, despite their objections, recent history suggests that those efforts aren’t completely futile. For one thing, the legislature doesn’t really seem all that concerned about legalized gambling. They passed a bill that legalizes live wagering, but no laws that allow for betting from anywhere but the house. This means that visitors can still place bets on sporting events held in the state, just as they can in any other state.
But what about sports betting on the Maine State Lottery? Will visitors still be allowed to place a first bet on the lottery? It seems unlikely, given that the previous governor had declared a state lottery ban and refused to allow any gambling at the Lottery Control Board’s offices. Now, according to the Maine Daily Sun, the lottery has approved a new law that will allow people to place a first bet on the lottery even if they live in another state.
Maine, like many other states, is suffering from a lack of casino gambling, primarily because many residents don’t live near enough to any of the larger casinos to actually visit them. This has led many Maine casinos, such as the Portland Maine casinos, to seek out online gambling as a solution to this problem. Today, the three Maine casino owners are currently negotiating with the state to ensure that there will be no changes to their laws.
The new law, which was passed by lawmakers in January, is almost guaranteed to face a court challenge. Already, some Maine municipalities (including Bangor, Gardiner and Waterville) have filed suit against the gaming commission over the legality of the new law. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Maine Supreme Court just recently heard oral arguments from two of the local gambling board members challenging the constitutionality of the law. If the case makes it through the courts, the ruling could set a precedent for Maine’s regulated casinos and sports betting.
In the mean time, the new law provides Maine’s gambling interests with much needed certainty. For one thing, it establishes a maximum amount of money that any individual can invest in an account. It also requires that each account to maintain a certain minimum amount of money in it. These laws ensure that individuals understand the limits placed on their betting activities and that they are within the law when they exceed those limits. Because the law also outlines which gaming interests can conduct gaming across state lines, this also provides legal cover for Maine residents who wish to take advantage of the new law’s benefits to move their gambling activity to another state.
Because the drafting of the bill was done in committee, it is unknown when it will be signed into law. Lawmakers anticipate it will be signed into law before the start of the next legislative session, but it will probably be signed into effect much sooner. As the deadline approaches for the general election, Maine’s voters will have a final opportunity to cast a vote for or against legalized sports betting. If approved, the new law will go into effect immediately and will likely become a permanent fixture in Maine law. Both the Maine Gaming Commission and the Maine State House are eager to see legalized sports betting take effect as quickly and reliably as possible, ensuring long-term profitability for both entities.