Maine lawmakers approve sports betting legislation

On the last day of Maine’s legislative session, lawmakers in the state approved a bill that would legalize sports betting.

The bill, titled LD 553, made it through the House and Senate in just two days and was approved by both chambers yesterday.

Maine has now become the third state to approve sports betting legislation since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

LD 553 will now head to Governor Janet Mills for final approval and, if signed into law, Maine could become the fifth state to legalize sports betting in 2019.

What will sports betting in Maine look like?

If signed into law, LD 553 would legalize land-based and state-wide online and mobile sports betting in Maine.

Sports betting licenses will be available to 11 land-based gambling venues in the state: one racetrack, two casinos, four tribal casinos and four off-track betting venues.

Maine’s bill would also legalize online betting but with one major difference to other states with online sports betting. Online sportsbooks in the Pine Tree State will not be required to partner with a licensed land-based venue.

This means that operators without a physical presence in the state, such as DraftKings and FanDuel would be able to offer sports betting independently.

According to a report from the Portland Press Herald, bill sponsor, Senator Louis Luchini said: “To me, it’s a strange way to write a law that would require a new business to come into Maine only if they tether their license to an existing business.

“We don’t require Amazon to tether to existing grocery stores and we don’t require Airbnb to tether to hotels.”

What else is included in LD 553?

Sports betting licenses will cost operators $20,000 per year, one of the lowest licensing costs in the nation.

Land-based revenue will be taxed at a rate of 10% and online revenue will be taxed at 16%.

The bill does not include a payment to the major sports leagues or mandate the use of official league data.

However, LD 553 prohibits wagering on all collegiate events that involve Maine’s college teams, regardless of where the events take place.

With the current provisions in place, Maine’s bill has the potential to create one of the healthiest sports betting markets in the country.

Elsewhere in the US

Maine is not the first state to approve sports betting legislation on the last day of the legislative session. Both the Indiana and Illinois legislatures approved sports betting bills at the last minute.

Indiana legalized land-based and mobile sports wagering last month, while Illinois legalized sports betting on 2 June.

At the time of writing, eight states have operational sports betting industries, while 10 other states have approved legislation and are pending launch.

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