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Following a wave of uncertainty that swept the U.S. in 2016, Maine regulated daily fantasy sports in August 2017. Oversight was given to the state’s Gambling Control Unit and, today, Maine daily fantasy is thriving. For those who want to play daily fantasy in Maine, there are a variety of licensed sites, including DraftKings and FanDuel.
When it comes to sports betting laws, Maine is a strange state. Despite being in favor of gambling in general, it’s only possible to bet on harness racing. Does this mean the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Protection Act (PASPA) won’t change things? It’s tough to say. As it stands, sports betting in Maine has to be confined to a specific type of racing. However, as in the past, lawmakers are prepared to move in line with the rest of the country. So, if more states follow the lead of New Jersey et al. and regulate sports betting, Maine could easily follow suit and allow bets on more popular sports like football and hockey.
Although Maine is a pro-casino state, this attitude hasn’t led to any form of internet gaming. One of the state’s primary problems is its population size. With just 1.6 million residents, Maine online casino sites would struggle to generate a significant amount of revenue. However, as the industry grows, there’s no reason why online casinos in Maine couldn’t thrive.
Inside a casino, poker is legal in Maine. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean Maine online poker sites are legal. But, as we’ve said, the advent of liquidity sharing could change things. With New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware now sharing players, this could be an incentive for Maine to join the party. Indeed, if online poker in Maine did become a reality, residents may need a liquidity sharing pact in place to make the games profitable.
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In a general sense, Maine is a liberal state with regards to gambling. Although this attitude hasn’t always resulted in laws being accepted quickly, the underlying ethos has helped legalize various forms of betting over the years. To give you a snapshot, casino gaming, poker, horse racing and lotteries are all legal in the state. But for now, this hasn’t resulted in legal online gambling in Maine.
However, if past form is anything to go by, this could change in the coming years. In fact, as we’ll see later in this guide to Maine gambling laws, the recent advent of liquidity sharing between three states could lead to some interesting developments for the Pine Tree State.
A bill (LD 1520) was introduced that would amend the current tribal gaming laws and make it possible for the four tribes to offer casino games. Unfortunately, this bill didn’t make it through the legislative process.
A casino bill was passed in 2010 and gave rise to two venues in the state. Today, players can visit Oxford or Bangor if they want to bet on table games, slots and electronic gambling machines. Despite a relatively small population, Maine’s legal casinos are large-scale venues. Hollywood Casino in Bangor hosts approximately 1,000 slots, a poker room and more than a dozen table games.
Again, as laws were changed at the federal level, Maine moved with the national sentiment and introduced its own tribal gaming laws. However, due to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, the law is slightly different in this state. Instead of being able to offer casino games, four federally recognized tribes have been allowed to set up high-stakes bingo rooms.
In line with several other states, Maine established its own state lottery in 1974. Following a public vote, 80% of the local population voted in favor of regulation. In tandem with the state lottery, national games such as Powerball were added to the bill in 2004. Today, residents spend more than $230 million each year on lottery games.
Gambling in Maine started with the legalization of horse racing. However, as per the law, only betting on harness racing is permitted. In fact, Maine sports betting laws specifically state that wagering money on greyhounds has been illegal since 1993. Anyone caught betting on dogs can be fined up to $7,500. In line with the legalization of pari-mutuel betting in 1950, the Maine State Harness Racing Commission was formed. Scarborough Downs racetrack was officially opened the same year.
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