The Maine Legislature is apparently ready to tweak the rules for sports betting even though it hasn’t launched yet. Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would include mobile sports betting and defining internet gaming.
State Rep. Laura D. Supica sponsored LD1777, which would allow the state’s four federally recognized tribes—known as the Wabanaki Nations—to have a monopoly on internet gaming in Maine.
That would include online casino games and mobile sports betting. The bill, which was introduced late last week, does not specify what casino games would be included.
Fantasy sports and horse racing were not included in the bill.
Online sports betting has been legal since 2022 but the state has yet to launch. Under LD1777, the Wabanaki Nations would have the exclusive right to offer online casino games, just as they do sports betting.
What changes, however, is that the partner the tribes select must have entities in both sports betting and online casinos. That shouldn’t be a problem. Most online operators, such as BetMGM, Caesars, and BetRivers offer sports betting and casino games on their sites.
LD1777 is still in its infancy. It is slated to go to committee by next week and then will begin the process of passing both the House and Senate.
Sports betting has struggled to launch in Maine, after being legalized last year. Maine Gambling Control Chief Milt Champion had said he was hoping for sportsbook operators to be up and running in time for the NFL season in September.
That appears extremely unlikely for two reasons. The first is his office was besieged with comments following a public rules hearing. Champion’s office has to sort through all the comments. There is another round slated for May.
The second reason is far more serious. Champion told the Portland Press Herald in early April that no sportsbooks had applied for an operator license.
The reason for that could be a high tax rate and proposed revenue sharing between the tribes and the operator.
It has definitely frustrated Champion.
“I was really looking forward to having a soft opening in June or July, and we’ll still work towards that, but right now with what we’ve received so far, it doesn’t look like it’s a process that would be rectified in that time frame,” Champion told the Press Herald.