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SBD Staff Writer

by SBD Staff Writer

Updated Mar 20, 2024 · 2:03 PM PDT

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018, allowing each state in the country to propose and create their own laws and regulations for sports betting.

After several attempts to legalize sports betting, Maine has now officially legalized sports betting. The Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet tribes will control online sports betting, while in-person wagering will be allowed at retail casinos and off-track betting locations. Maine sports betting was expected to launch later in 2022, however, it could be delayed by eight months or even up to a year-and-a-half.

Maine does offer various other forms of gambling like pari-mutuel wagering, state lotteries, casino gambling, and charitable gaming. Charitable gaming includes games of chance such as bingo, raffles, and some card games with a maximum bet of $1 per hand. To accommodate the legal wagering options, Maine has two casinos, two horse racing tracks, and four off-track betting parlors.

Unlike many states in the US, local tribes were not permitted to conduct casino-style gaming on their lands. The four tribes in Maine must follow the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act; they must follow state laws and only offer bingo games with unlimited prize amounts.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Maine?

Online and mobile sports betting is now legal and live in Maine.

After a slightly contentious process, Maine sports betting was legalized in May 2022. Online sports betting and in-person wagering was expected to officially become available sometime in mid-late 2022, however, it could be delayed until 2024.

The Maine Senate approved a sports betting bill from Gov. Janet Mills, who signed the bill into law on May 2, 2022. The bill was passed by a 23-11 vote.

Previously, there was some hope that Maine would legalize sports betting in the 2021 legislative session.

Lawmakers settled on Senator Louis Luchini’s Legislative Document 1352 as the vehicle for legal sports betting in Maine moving forward. It addressed previous concerns that caused Governor Janet Mills to veto a sports billing early in 2020.

How we got here: The motion to legalize sports gambling was gaining momentum in the summer of 2019 as lawmakers in Maine voted to pass a bill, L.D. 553, which would’ve legalized both in-person and online sports betting. Other particulars of the legislation would’ve also legalized betting on electronic sports, but would forbid betting on high school and college teams based in Maine.

Unfortunately, Maine Governor Janet Mills vetoed the bill in January 2020, and attempts to overturn her veto in 2020 failed.

Mills’ objections stemmed from moral objections to legalizing additional betting in the state and balancing the already illegal gambling taking place, plus the fear of young and at-risk gamblers being able to bet responsibly. There was also pushback from the state’s two casinos, both of which were not on board with the plan.

The casinos are against online sportsbooks operating independently without having a tie to a retail location. They prefer online sportsbooks to form partnerships with state casinos.

The veto by Mills was first given a vote of 30-10 to override by the state Senate but was then upheld by a vote of 85-57 by the House.

Latest Maine Sports Betting News

Here are all the latest updates on Maine sports betting:

  • Nov. 3, 2023: Online sports betting officially launches in Maine.
  • May 10, 2022: Despite being legalized in 2022, Maine sports betting may not launch until 2024. A recent report on Maine sports betting suggests a delay in drafting rules and regulations could push back an official launch date by eight months to a year-and-a-half.
  • May 2, 2022: Gov. Janet Mills officially signed the Maine sports betting bill into law. Retail and online sports betting is expected to launch in Maine sometime later in 2022, likely before or during the NFL season.
  • April 20, 2022: Maine officially approved LD 585 through the Senate by a vote of 23-11. The Maine State Tribes will control sports betting, as the the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet Tribes will each be allowed to partner with one online sportsbook operator each.

Maine Sports Betting FAQs

Is Maine sports betting legal?

Yes, Maine sports betting is legal. Online sports betting and in-person wagering was legalized in Maine in May 2022.

When will Maine sports betting launch?

Maine sports betting was expected to become available in mid-late 2022, however, it could be delayed until 2024.

Which states near Maine have sports betting?

New Hampshire is the closest state to Maine that offers legalized sports betting.

Are there any professional sports teams in Maine?

There are no pro sports teams in the state of Maine. However, residents of Maine often cheer for teams in the nearby state of Massachusetts. These include the New England Patriots in the NFL, the NHL’s Boston Bruins, NBA’s Boston Celtics, and MLB’s Boston Red Sox.

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