Maine Senate overrides veto on sports betting legislation

Maine appears to be making progress on sports betting.

Maine’s Senate has voted to override Governor Janet Mills’ decision to veto a piece of legislation that would authorise sports betting in the state.

The Senate voted 20-10 in favour of the measure when asked: “Shall this Bill become a law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor?”

Now that the veto has been overridden, the proposed legislation, Legislative Document 553,  is now set to move forward and become law.

Why did Mills want to veto the bill?

In January, Governor Mills chose to veto Legislative Document 553 on the grounds that the people of Maine are not ready for sports betting. However, she praised the bills attempt to regulate sports wagering and bring the activity away from the unregulated market.

Mills also said that she would rather study the successes and failings of legal sports betting in other jurisdictions before legalizing the activity in Maine. On top of this, Mills was concerned that the bill would not do enough to prevent the exposure of young people to gambling advertising.

The Senate initially passed the legislation in June 2019, however, nothing progressed for six months. This was due to a clause in the state’s constitution titled Article IV, Part III which states that the governor isn’t obliged to sign or veto a bill at the end of a session, until 10 days after the following one begins. This means that the bill would have passed into law without any obstacles if Mills had not vetoed it.

What’s covered in the legislation?

The proposed sports betting bill, Legislative Document 553, would legalise land-based sports betting at Maine’s commercial racetracks, off-track betting venues and commercial and tribal casinos.

The bill would also authorise online and mobile betting, however, operators would not be required to partner with a land-based gambling venue in Maine to apply for a license. By taking this approach Maine would create an entirely free and competitive online sports betting market.

Legislative Document 553 proposes a tax rate of 10% on sports wagering revenue for land-based licensees while online operators will be taxed 16% on mobile betting revenue.

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