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Maine Legislature Passes Sports Betting Bill

Bill Requires Governor's Signature Within 10 Days To Become Law

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The Maine state legislature passed a bill last week that would make it the second state in New England to legalize sports betting.

The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, who could sign it into law.

Mills has not officially taken a stance on sports betting, but some outlets are reporting that she vetoed several bills the night before the final day of the legislative session, so that lawmakers could respond while they were still in session. None of the sports betting bills were vetoed, which some see as an indicator that she will sign the bill.

LD 553, sponsored by Sen. Louis Luchini and Rep. Scott Strom, was one of several sports betting bills introduced to the legislature.

In the final two days of the legislative session, the bill passed a committee, easily passed through the House and narrowly passed the Senate by a 19-15 vote.

The bill will allow both online and retail sports betting. Residents of the state will be permitted to place bets at the state’s two casinos, its horse tracks, off-track betting locations, and the tribal casinos, as well as placing bets online.

After lobbyists from the casino industry failed to convince lawmakers to keep DraftKings and FanDuel out of the market, lawmakers compromised with a tiered tax system. Retail operators will be taxed at 10 percent rate, while online operators will be forced to fork over 16 percent of their revenue.

The initial fee for a gaming license is $2,000, which is one of the lowest rates in the country. Betting on collegiate sports that include a school from Maine is prohibited.

Mills has 10 business days to sign the legislation, making July 3 the deadline for when Mainers will know if they can bet on sports in their state. If passed, the law will go into effect 90 days after Mills signs it, which would give the state legal sports betting in time for football season.