Maine Legislature Puts Sports Betting Bill On Hold Again

Maine Legislature Puts Sports Betting Bill On Hold Again
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Once again, online sports betting legislation in Maine has been put on hold and will not be heard from until the next session begins in 2022.

The last actions on LD 1352 took place on June 30 when it was passed to be enacted by the House and was placed in special appropriations on a motion by state senator Catherine Breen (D-Cumberland) pending passage to be enacted within state Senate.

After 20 days of inaction and no movement, both the state House and Senate on Thursday voted to carry certain bills and matters to next year (the state’s legislative session was supposed to have ended June 16) and LD 1352 was not one of them listed.

This means one of two things moving forward: Legislation will be brought up again for discussion when the next session begins in early December, or the current draft of sports betting will be scratched and legislators will start the whole process over again.

“Sports betting will remain on the appropriations table until next year. The good news is that it doesn’t need to go through the entire process again,” Christine Kirby, Communications Director for state Senate President Troy Jackson, said in an email to Tuesday morning.

Gov. Janet Mills (D) Mills vetoed sports betting legislation in 2020.

How Maine Got Here

Engrossed by the House and Senate on June 17 and June 18 respectively, sports betting legislation had been approved and looked promising in an initial round of votes.

That last step of pending enactment within the Senate still needed to happen in Maine before the bill could be sent to Mills. If it had been sent to the governor, she would have had 10 days to either sign the bill into law, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature.

It had appeared the bill was sent to Mills on June 18, until those late June steps took place.

On June 16, LD 1352 was amended in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, adding a tethering requirement among several changes including:

  • Capping the number of digital licenses to three;
  • Increasing the licensing fee from $20,000 to $100,000 for two years;
  • Allowing bettors to wager on tournaments in which University of Maine teams are participating but not on games in which the Black Bears are competing;
  • A requirement that a percentage of the tax revenue derived from sports betting would be for the State Harness Racing Commission, the Sire Stakes Fund, and the Agricultural Fair Promotion Fund.

What’s In The Bill

The bill allows statewide mobile betting with a 10% tax for brick-and-mortar wagers and 15% for digital.

It also would allow for retail/mobile wagering tethered to one of the state’s two casinos, five off-track-betting parlors (OTB), one racetrack, or five federally recognized tribes. LD 554, which was passed on June 17 by a 97-40 vote in the House and a 22-13 vote in the Senate, gave initial approval to four Native American tribes in the state to have gaming businesses on their properties.

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