Maine is now officially the 34th US state with legal sports betting after Governor Janet Mills signed a bill authorizing the practice.
In a statement Monday, the Democratic governor expressed her gratitude to the Wabanaki tribes, which include the four federally recognized tribes in the state, and her administration in penning LD 585, a broader tribal sovereignty bill that includes a sports betting component.
“This law provides meaningful economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations,” Mills said. “It incentivizes investment in tribal communities, and it formalizes a collaboration process on policy that sets the foundation for a stronger relationship in the future.
“I am proud of the work that the Wabanaki Nations and the state put into drafting this legislation, and I am grateful for the honest effort, the extensive research and the hundreds of hours of negotiations and discussions which bore fruit in this bill. We will continue to work closely with the tribes to make progress for the Wabanaki people.”
Tribes Get Monopoly on Mobile Sports Betting
LD 585, aka the Tribal-State Collaboration Act, calls for each of the four federally recognized tribes in the state to be eligible for a mobile sports betting license. The four tribes are:
- Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
- Mi’kmaq Nation
- Passamaquoddy Tribe
- Penobscot Nation
The mobile sports betting licenses will have four-year terms and incur a one-time fee of $200,000. The tribes would have the option of either running their own sports betting operation or partnering with a third-party platform.
Licenses for 10 retail sportsbooks will also be available. Retail licenses also have a four-year term but cost $4,000. LD 585 provides that commercial racetracks, casinos, and off-track betting facilities would be eligible for the retail licenses. Supplier licenses will cost $40,000.
There are no tribal casinos in Maine, and only two commercial properties: the Oxford Casino Hotel and the Hollywood Casino & Raceway Bangor.
Under LD 585, Maine will levy a 10% tax on sports betting revenue. Betting on Maine-based colleges and universities in sporting events will be prohibited, but wagering on a game that is part of a larger tournament in which a collegiate team from Maine is participating is allowed — so long as a Maine team is not participating in the actual game being wagered on.
Sports Betting in New England
Maine law stipulates that a bill becomes law 90 days after the legislative session during which it was passed has concluded. Since the 130th Maine Legislature adjourned on April 25, that means LD 585 will take effect on July 24 — just before the start of the upcoming NFL season.
When Maine does start accepting sports wagers, it will join three other states in New England in doing so — Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. But each state manages the vertical differently:
- Connecticut: Two federally recognized tribes and the state lottery offer sports betting. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe have partnered with DraftKings and FanDuel for online and retail sportsbooks at their respective facilities, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation is partnered with SugarHouse Sportsbook, a brand of Rush Street Interactive (RSI).
- New Hampshire: DraftKings has a monopoly on sports betting in the state through an exclusive partnership with the New Hampshire Lottery. It offers mobile sports betting in the state, and has retail sportsbooks at three locations: The Brook in Seabrook, South Side Tavern in Manchester, and Filotimo Casino & Restaurant at the Dover Bowl Complex in Dover.
- Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Lottery has a monopoly on mobile sports betting. Its Sportsbook Rhode Island platform is powered by IGT and managed by William Hill. Retail sportsbooks are at two commercial casinos in the state: Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort and Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel.
Considering that DraftKings and FanDuel are both active in parts of New England, it is quite likely that they will be interested in launching in Maine. The southern end of Maine shares the Boston media market with parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island, so spending on advertising in the Boston area to attract customers is likely to drive interest in both brands once the Maine market launches.
Other sportsbooks deemed likely to launch in Maine include Bally Bet, BetMGM, BetRivers (another RSI brand), Betway, Caesars, PointsBet, Unibet, and WynnBET.