No Special Session for Maine, Sports Betting Bill on Hold Until 2020
On June 19th of this year, Maine’s proposed sports betting bill passed both legislative chambers on the last day of the session. From there, the bill was sent to Governor Janet Mills for approval. After sitting on her desk for a few weeks, the Governor opted not to sign bill LD 553. Proponents of sports betting within the state were still holding out hope that there could be a special session for this bill over the summer. Unfortunately, that won’t happen either.
What’s Next for Sports Betting in Maine?
On Friday, July 12th, Legal Sports Report broke the news that Maine’s legislature decided against holding a special legislative session this year, effectively killing any chance of sports betting in 2019.
According to state policy, this bill will be held over to the next legislative session where it can become law after three days into the session. However, the Governor also has the power to veto this bill within that three-day period. Maine’s next session begins on January 8th, 2020. So, the bill could become legal on January 10th at the earliest.
A Quick Look at Bill L.D. 553
The bill would allow sports betting on state-wide mobile apps as well as retail sportsbooks at brick and mortar facilities. It differs from other state’s sports gambling legislation, as it does not demand that online sports betting providers make deals with retail locations in order to operate.
The tax rate would be set differently depending on the type of operator. Online operators would be taxed at 16% of their revenue while brick and mortar sportsbooks would be taxed at 10%.
There would be no limit set on the number of online operators in the state and any gaming facility would be qualified to offer sports gambling. This would mean a huge expansion of gambling in the state, which is the reasoning the governor gave for putting the bill into limbo.
Maine Is Falling Further Behind
Because of Governor Mill’s refusal to sign the bill, sports gambling in Maine won’t arrive until after the 2019 football season, which is the most popular sport to gamble on in the United States. In addition to Maine’s dropping of the ball, its neighbor New Hampshire just legalized sports betting in time for the football season. Nearby states of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have also legalized sports betting within their borders. In fact, New Jersey is reshaping the entire sports betting landscape with their recent success.
Maine is falling further behind the curve and is losing out on millions of dollars in revenue during the football season alone. With the Super Bowl and March Madness taking place in early 2020, it would be extremely foolish for the Governor to ignore this bill any longer.
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