Maine lawmakers review three sports gambling bills
The state would become the second in the region to legalize sports gambling
In the New England region, only one state currently offers legalized sports gambling. Rhode Island was the first to embrace the activity, but it certainly won’t be the last. Next up might possibly be Maine, which is reportedly reviewing three separate sports gambling bills. The legislation is based on similar framework already approved and proven in other states in the U.S.
A placeholder bill, Senate Bill 553, was introduced in January. Since then, two more bills have been filed – LD (legislative document) 1348 and LD 1515. LD 1348 is sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Evangelos, among others, and would allow sports gambling for anyone 21 years of age or older. Bets would be allowed for professional, as well as collegiate, sporting events at Maine’s two casinos, at off-track betting parlors and racetracks, and online.
LD 1348 also stipulates a license fee of $30,000 and a tax on revenue of 25%. The money would be destined for the state’s education system and Evangelos states, “We are not reinventing anything. It is an established model that works.”
LD 1515, which is sponsored by Representative Dustin White, was introduced last week. It would authorize anyone 18 or over to gamble, but the activity would be limited to Maine’s racetracks and off-track betting parlors. No online gambling is authorized.
Licenses would be much cheaper – just $5,000 – and revenue would be assessed a tax of 18%. That money would go to education, scholarship funds, Maine’s native Indian tribes and the state’s harness racing industry.
Both bills already have bipartisan support, which is a good start. However, the battle is just beginning and there is still a lot of work to be done.