Can Maine sports betting legislation recover from a bizarre veto?
Sports betting is back on the agenda Maine.
It is. Louis Luchini filed SB 1352 with the ME Senate this week.
He will hope for a better fate for himself than last year.
If you don’t succeed at first …
Luchini was behind the final sports betting bill, which made it to the governor’s desk in February 2020 before vetoing it. Lawmakers passed the Sports Betting Act in Maine in late 2019 Governor Janet Mills took advantage of a parliamentary quirk to delay the implementation of the bill by months.
Mills said at the time:
“I still don’t believe the majority of the people in Maine are willing to legalize, sponsor, support and encourage betting.”
Mills cited bizarre arguments about concerns like extending betting to local elections and the spelling of school bees. When it emerged that lawmakers could override their veto, Mills successfully campaigned for lawmakers to uphold their opposition.
This bill was also rejected by the owners of the two Maine casinos: Penn National and Churchill Downs.
After the veto, Penn said it only supported ME sports betting for those who had it “Hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the state.” In other words, the casinos wanted tethering like in New Jersey Sports betting.
What is included in the new ME sports betting bill?
The 2021 version of the bill would do little to address these concerns.
Mobile sports betting licenses in Maine might be available to any “Qualified Game Unit”. This includes sports betting providers that are licensed “in any jurisdiction” in the US.
In other words, it doesn’t require sports betting to work with a local casino.
The bill also calls for one $ 20,000 License fee and 10% Tax on GGR.
Penn and Churchill Downs did not respond to a request that they would support this bill.
Bar stool sports betting bigger this time
However, Penn National may have had a change of heart. For one, Bar stool sports betting now lives in three states with solid market shares.
CEO Jay Snowden named Maine as a potential new market in a CNBC Taken earlier this year.
Of course, he did not state whether this was part of an open or a connected market.
Maine has an incentive to take part in sports betting
Maine risks losing taxpayers’ money to neighboring jurisdictions if sports betting is not completed this year.
Rhode Island and New Hampshire Sports betting is currently in operation in New England.
New Hampshire, Maine’s immediate neighbor to the south, is on its way $ 1 million a month in taxes from his DraftKings-Execute operation.
Connecticut will probably do something this year as well. Meanwhile north of the border Canada is expected to legalize sports betting in 2021.