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Maine Governor Has Until Friday To Make Decision On Sports Betting

Clause In State Constitution Gave Extension For Gov. Janet Mills To Make A Decision On The Bill Passed Last June

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Maine Gov. Janet Mills has until the end of the week to legalize sports betting in her state.

The state legislature passed LD 553 last June, which would legalize and regulate sports betting, and sent the bill to the Democrat’s desk.

Normally, Mills would have 10 days to sign the bill into law. According to the state constitution, however, if the governor takes no action, the legislature has adjoined for the year, and there is no special session scheduled, the decision gets bumped to the next session.

That’s what happened with sports betting and the next legislative session is upon us. The legislature reconvened this morning and Mills now has three days to act on the pending bill.

The bill easily passed through the majority democrat house and narrowly through the republican-majority senate last year. Mills has never officially taken a stance on sports betting, but many believe she doesn’t want to sign her name on any gambling expansion.

If she fails to sign it, the bill would then become law without a signature, which is what advocates of the bill believe will happen.

Republican Senator Scott Strom, a sponsor of the bill, wrote a column in the Bangor Daily News where he laid out his argument for Mills to sign the bill. He cited the need for regulated, safe, and legal sportsbooks for citizens, instead of a market “dominated by unsafe illegal sportsbooks.”

If passed, Maine would join Rhode Island and recently launched New Hampshire as the only states in New England with legal sports betting.

The bill would allow both online and brick-and-mortar sports betting. Mainers would be allowed to wager in-person at the state’s two casinos, its horse tracks, off-track betting locations and tribal locations, in addition to online and mobile options.

Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 16 percent and licenses would cost operators $2,000, one of the lowest fees in the country.