Maine working on legalizing sports gambling
The New England state could compete with Rhode Island for sports gambling customers
Rhode Island got the ball rolling in the New England region, becoming the first to offer sports gambling. It most likely is about to receive some competition, as Maine is said to be discussing five different sports gambling bills and legislative hearings were held last week to push the efforts along. Fortunately, the state already has a solid gambling market, which should make it easier to introduce any sports gambling legislation.
The state’s Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee listened to testimony last Friday on all five of the bills that have been submitted to Maine’s Congress. Each bill offers a slightly different take on how the activity would be rolled out and managed, but they all look to capture at least a small portion of what has been estimated to be an industry worth as much as $150 billion each year.
On hand for the hearings was Michael Sweeney, the publicity director for the Scarborough Downs racetrack. He anticipates that legalizing the activity will not only help the state’s coffers, but provide a boost to small companies such as the one he represents. He told lawmakers on Friday, “This is an opportunity for industries that are home-grown, locally based, small mom-and-pop businesses to grow and thrive.”
There is still a lot of debate over the success of legalized sports gambling. After Rhode Island legalized the activity late last year, it has seen an increase in revenue, but it hasn’t been anywhere close to what the industry or lawmakers had anticipated. Opponents are using this as a foundation for trying to stop Maine from legalizing the activity, but they’re not taking into account that Rhode Island has only been offering sports gambling for about six months. It’s going to take much longer to develop a true indication of the activity’s success, or its failure.