Maine Sports Betting Bill Granted One More Hope to Survive

Maine Sports Betting Bill Granted One More Hope to Survive

Maine Gov. Janet Mills will call a special session of the state legislature, giving Maine’s sports betting bill a slim chance to survive.

Maine’s sports betting bill was passed in late June, but was pocket vetoed by Mills. In Maine, state law allows the governor to simply not sign a bill, or pocket veto it, and said bill dies after 10 days without a signature. Once pocket vetoed, a bill is no longer subject to a traditional veto process and subsequently can't be overridden by a supermajority of lawmakers.

However, if a special session is called in Maine, and the session lasts more than four days, any bills that were pocket vetoed become eligible for a lawmaker override.

That means that if the session last more than four days, and Mills issues another veto, legislators could then overturn the veto and sports betting would pass into law.

Maine’s Sports Betting Still Unlikely

The hope that sports betting will see the light of day in Maine remains extremely slim at best. Like all special sessions, this effort could last for several weeks or just a few hours. This session will consider a combined $163 million in bond borrowing for an upcoming ballot measure, a comparatively small amount compared to the state's $8 billion annual budget. This leaves a five-day debate unlikely.

Even in a prolonged session the bill may not have enough votes for an override. The House only needed a voice vote due to overwhelming support, but the Senate only narrowly passed the bill 19-15.

Maine Public Radio also reported that Maine’s Democratic leaders would be opposed to introducing any other conversation to the special session, casting further doubt on the session running past four days and a veto override occurring should a traditional veto be required.

Maine Continues to Fall Behind

Since the last report on Maine, the New England area has continued to evolve in the world of gambling.

New Hampshire was in the news recently when the U.S. Department of Justice appealed a decision by the U.S. District Court that ruled in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission regarding the new DOJ opinion on the Wire Act of 1961.

Massachusetts saw a massive addition to its gambling market with the late June opening of Encore Boston Harbor, which immediately saw profits soar with $16.79 million in profit in the first week of operation alone.

Rhode Island’s sportsbooks have continued to see growth after a poor May, rebounding in June with its best month of sports betting revenue so far.

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