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Maine Legislators Hope to Expand Online Gambling beyond Sports Betting

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Maine legalized online sports betting in May 2022 and the market launched in November 2023. Since then, the state’s federally recognized tribes have been operating sports betting services and there are now reports that legislators are looking to expand the gambling options available to residents of the state.

Legislative Efforts to Increase Gambling Options

Numerous bills aimed at expanding gambling activities have been introduced. These proposals also focus on enhancing tribal sovereignty throughout Maine and aim to bolster tribal and rural communities, alongside the economic development of the tribes. Additionally, these bills are designed to generate additional funds for various public services.

Related: Maine with strong results after sports betting launch in November

One notable bill, LD 1777, sponsored by Rep. Laura Supica and supported by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson, seeks to extend gambling options to include online gambling as well as sports betting. The bill would legalize both online games of skill and chance “in which an individual wagers money or something of monetary value for the opportunity to win money or something of monetary value.”

Two other significant proposals by Rep. Ben Collings, LD 1944 and LD 1992, suggest the creation of casinos on tribal lands and the operation of various gaming terminals by the tribes, respectively.

Opposition to New Bills

These proposals, through taxation, aim to raise funds for numerous initiatives across Maine. However, they may encounter resistance, particularly from Gov. Janet Mills, who has previously opposed gambling expansion in the state.

In a previous instance, Mills vetoed a bill proposed by Collings that sought to allow tribes to operate casinos. Despite her stance, Mills did approve a 2022 proposal granting exclusive online sports wagering rights to the tribes.

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