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Maine House Votes To Uphold Governor's Sports Betting Veto

House Fell 10 Votes Shy Of Legalizing Sports Betting

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Maine fell 10 votes shy of getting legal sports after the House failed to get the two-thirds majority vote needed to override Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of LD 553 last month.

The bill went back to the House after the Senate voted 20-10 last Thursday in favor of the bill. It got the exact two-thirds majority it needed to override Mills’ veto.

The House voted 85-57 in favor of the bill Tuesday but needed 95 votes in order for it to become law. Of those 57 votes in support of the veto, 28 were Republicans, 27 were Democrats and there were two Independents. The 85 votes in favor of the bill were comprised of 25 Republicans, 56 Democrats, and four Independents.

Since the veto was upheld, an entirely new bill will have to be drafted and passed through both chambers before making it back to Mills’ desk. At the earliest, that won’t happen until 2021.

According to the Portland Press Herald, critics of the bill attacked it from both a moral standpoint and as a stance in support of the state’s two casinos. The casinos argued that online sports betting should be tied to a brick-and-mortar location, but the proposed bill would allow companies like DraftKings and FanDuel to enter the market and operate without a physical presence.

Supporters of the bill argued that Mainers are going to bet on sports anyway, whether it be through an offshore site or by visiting New Hampshire, which recently legalized it.

“Adults know how to spend their money and should be able to do so as they choose fit,” said one of the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Scott Strom. “We already allow betting on horse racing in Maine and I consider that a sport and I see no reason not to allow betting on other sports as well.”

New Hampshire legalized sports betting and in its first month of operation, the state government took in an extra $1.2 million in tax revenue. Those numbers are slightly skewed from a very profitable Super Bowl for the state’s sportsbooks. Estimates for tax revenue from sports betting in its neighbor to the northeast is around $5 million annually.