October 4, 2023
Regulators in Maine have passed one of the final steps in getting ready for its legal sports betting market launch between November 5 and 15. The Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) has sent the proposed adopted rules to the Attorney General’s office for final legal checks and eventually approval.
Once approved, the Secretary of State’s office will take approximately three to five business days to post the adopted rules.
The law legalizing Maine online sports betting was signed by Governor Janet Mills in May 2022. It granted potential for mobile betting licenses exclusively to the state’s four federally recognized tribes. There will be 10 licenses for Maine retail sportsbooks issued. That includes two left open for the Maine casino venues Hollywood Casino Hotel Bangor and Oxford Casino & Hotel.
“So, I just grab that same package that everybody’s signed off on, and I just take that over to the Secretary of State’s Office,” said Milt Champion, executive director of the MGCU.
“And once they publish it for adoption, then we’re good to go. And at that point, anybody that’s submitted an application request for a temporary license, which is part of the requirement, then I will start kicking out licenses that day.”
Navigating Through Regulatory and Ethical Waters
Three of the four licensed tribes, the Mi’kmak Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and the Penobscot Nation, have opted to collaborate with Caesars Sportsbook as their management service provider.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe has yet to choose an online operator partner, but it is unlikely to be also Ceasars. BetMGM has submitted an online operator application, so it is rumored that they will be second legal online sportsbook in Maine.
BetMGM has also applied for on-track-betting licenses at two Maine horse racing tracks, in Waterville and Sanford.
Whatever sportsbook operator does enter the state will have to adhere to the state’s specific rules. Notably, one rule is prohibiting bets on games involving Maine colleges. In 2023, several Massachusetts retail sportsbooks have already been fined for breaking that particular rule.
While wagers on national tournaments like March Madness will be permissible, outcomes for Maine-based schools, such as the University of Maine and Bowdoin College, will be off-limits to bettors. This measure aims to safeguard the integrity of local educational institutions and their sporting events.
New England Sports Betting
The introduction of sports betting is poised to be a substantial revenue generator for Maine, with projections ranging from $3.8 to $6.9 million, according to a 2017 Oxford Economics Analysis commissioned by the American Gaming Association.
Maine joins the ranks of New England states allowing legal sports wagering, alongside Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Vermont legalized sports betting this year and is expected to launch in 2024.
However, Champion says the MGCU did not pay any extra attention to their neighbors sports betting efforts, but instead looked further afield across the U.S.
“We worked our rules from six to eight other states nationwide, some of which were Colorado, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Montana, Wyoming, and Mississippi,” he said.