Maine’s governor rejects sports gambling bill
By Bob Garcia
Governor Janet Mills believes state residents don’t want sports gambling
Just when it looked like the Pine Tree State would finally have legislation to see sports gambling within its borders, the intentions were crushed by the governor’s pen. Governor Janet Mills just vetoed the bill that would have set the ground for becoming the third state in the New England area with legal sports wagers. The bill was sponsored by Senator Louis Luchini and it was passed back in June before being handed over to Mills.
According to the reasons provided by Mills for her rejection of this bill, she states this is a good effort to bring on an activity to the state, not a lot of taxing nor regulation. But Mills is not convinced Maine’s citizens are yet ready to welcome sports wagers. “But, respectfully, I remain unconvinced that, at this time, that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse, and promote betting on competitive athletic events,” said Mills in a letter sent to members of the Senate.
Had this bill been approved, it would have allowed tribal operators, racetracks and off-track betting parlors in the state to enter into the sports wagering world. The bill had support from both parties, and the opposition group had concerns surrounding the access of the activity to young people, but not around the bill itself. The fact that not legalizing sports gambling in Maine will allow tax revenue to leave the state’s border; however, Mills is still not convinced. “Finally, we are also told that Maine needs to legalize sports gambling in order to preserve its existing market share in the betting industry,” said the governor in her letter. “That premise is still speculative, and, in any event, merits a longer-term analysis, given the constantly changing dynamics of gambling in New England.”