5/14 Forever: Maine Still Waiting For its First Sports Bet to be Placed

Maine is one of several states where legislation legalizing sports betting has been recently signed into law. However, sportsbooks in the Pine Tree State have not yet been able to open up to the public.

Dimers.com contributor Michael Krumholtz explains.

 

The law Gov. Janet Mills signed in early May says the state’s four federally recognized Native American tribes can partner with sportsbooks to offer online sports betting. In addition, casinos and betting facilities will be able to provide retail sports betting.

That’s good news for Mainers, but they’ll still have to wait a while longer before they can place their first bets. Because of a lengthy regulatory process ahead and having to build up infrastructure in a place not known for gambling, state officials think it may not be until 2024 that the industry is open for business.

That would be a longer wait than other states in the region, which normally have been able to have betting operations start taking bets about six months after a law was made.

“Maine is not Las Vegas; Maine is not Atlantic City,” Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, told News Center Maine last month. “But that doesn’t make it lesser of a regulatory responsibility on my part, and so I’m going to make sure we get things done correctly.”

State-mandated hearings and lengthy background checks on operator applications are among the bureaucratic hold-ups that could push the rollout to sometime beyond next year.

As part of this process, Maine is still waiting to confirm which betting sites will actually be able to partner with the local tribes. But it is expected that the big brand names such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM will be in the mix to land deals in the state.

Maine officials have said they will tax industry revenue at a rate of 10 percent, which is in line with many other states that have successfully rolled out sports betting. However, state leaders aren’t expecting that this completely tilts the scales when it comes to income for the state. Projections from the state show that Maine could rake in just up to $5 million within the first two years that sports betting is available. 

For comparison’s sake, neighboring New Hampshire took in $11 million in tax revenue from the industry in 2020 after launching in December 2019.

We’ll see if those numbers fluctuate in favor of Maine as they get a more solid grasp on their rollout. For now, state officials are expecting that the vast majority — 85 percent — of money generated from the industry will come through online platforms, as has been the case in other states.

Still, we’ll have to wait, as the legal process that includes public hearings and written comments is scheduled to take as long as a year and a half. A more optimistic timeframe shows Maine getting wrapped up with the regulatory hurdles and being able to roll vendors out by next spring.

So while there is understandable excitement from the public from the recent news that Maine has now legalized sports betting, it may be longer than most people think before they can start placing their bets.

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