Following a slow begin to the year, sports betting legislation continues to develop momentum as another state is about to legalize the industry. This time it’s Maine, as both branches of the state legislature recently approved LD 553, which would authorize sports betting inside state borders.
The bill was introduced in the end of January, but it was largely kept around the down-low while negotiations were becoming produced behind the scenes, with no additional actions taken till mid-June. From there, it was out of committee and through each the Home and Senate, such as amendment approval, in two days.
The legislation authorizes up to eleven brick-and-mortar licenses, corresponding to the eleven land-based gambling venues in the state: the two casinos, four tribes, four off-track betting parlors, and also the lone harness racing track.
That’s all pretty regular as far as sports betting bills go, but Maine is doing issues a little differently when it comes to online and mobile licensing. All of the brick-and-mortar licensees will be allowed to have online sportsbooks, but so will any other operator. The majority of the time we have seen on-line gambling bills passes, any operator or provider who comes from outdoors of the state (say, a PokerStars or perhaps a Betfair) must partner with a licensed casino within the state. In the Maine bill discussions, this really is known as “tethering.”
In Maine, though, tethering will not be required. Rather, any operator that wants to open an internet sportsbook need only be a “gaming entity that offers sports wagering via mobile applications or digital platforms in any jurisdiction in the United states of america pursuant to a state regulatory scheme.”
Obviously, they still should apply for and be granted a license, but they don’t require to possess any connection at all to an existing casino in Maine. Not all lawmakers were on board with this, as they preferred the tethered route, arguing that land-based companies happen to be paying state and nearby taxes and happen to be hiring workers, some thing that should be rewarded.
State Senator Louis Luchini disagreed, telling the Portland Press Herald, “To me it’s a strange way to create a law that would need a new business to come into Maine only if they tether their license to an current company. We don’t require Amazon to tether to current grocery shops and we don’t need Airbnb to tether to hotels.”
The concept is to encourage the “free market” to determine who gets to operate in the state. Maine most likely will not be able to sustain too numerous on-line sportsbooks because of its limited population, so might as well encourage those that really wish to compete to come on in.
The bill passed the Senate by a narrow vote following a compromise was made which would require online-exclusive sportsbooks to pay much more towards the state. While these tethered to casinos will pay a ten percent tax along with a $2,000 licensing charge, online-only operators will spend a 16 % tax along with a $20,000 licensing fee.
Governor Janet Mills is expected to sign the bill.