A bill giving control of online sports betting to tribes in Maine heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.
Advanced by the House last week by an 81-53 vote, the bill was passed by the Senate 23-11. Backed by Mills, the bill has been highly opposed by commercial casinos in the state as it would essentially cut them out of mobile wagering.
However, the bill allows for the two Maine commercial casinos to offer retail sports betting.
Cornering the mobile betting market in Maine
Mobile wagering across the US has proven itself as the top generator for placing bets. According to Milton Champion, executive director of the state gambling unit, roughly 85% of customers place bets online.
The three tribes mentioned in the bill are:
It’s unclear how each tribe will go about offering mobile Maine sports betting. But in places like Michigan, tribal entities partner with mobile operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to offer sports betting.
Every Senate Democrat and two Republicans backed the measure, including Democratic Sen. Joe Baldacci.
Baldacci and other lawmakers were part of a late push to reintroduce a bill allowing commercial casinos and tribes to apply for mobile licenses. The two commercial casinos in the state are the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway (Penn National Gaming) and Oxford Casino (Churchill Downs).
Tribal officials argued that allowing commercial casinos to participate in mobile wagering would dilute their revenue share.
How this impacts Maine
Although allowed to offer retail sports betting, Chris Jackson, a lobbyist representing Hollywood Casino, said it was unfair to cut the casino out of mobile betting.
Even though other issues like tax relief and new consultation processes were included in the bill, gaming dominated most of the discussion. In March, Rep. Jennifer Poirier said,
“The section that I cannot support is the monopolization of sports betting and online gaming.”
Once implemented, Maine sports betting can help recoup tax dollars lost to neighboring New Hampshire.