Maine almost got there in January of 2020. A bill was presented to Governor Janet Mills and she said no. A push to overturn the veto with two-thirds of both the Maine House and the Maine Senate came up well short. After all, the bill barely made it to the governor’s desk, which could have been part of the reason why she shot it down.
That means that another push will have to commence with 2021 in mind. The first casino opened in Maine in 2004 and the state has added on an expansion of gaming since then. Maine also has a lottery. But, Maine still does not have sports betting based on the decision from the governor.
The obvious comparison to draw is with New Hampshire, a state that does have sports betting. New Hampshire has retail and mobile gaming that is overseen by the lottery, but DraftKings has been contracted out to run the operation. Maine could have the same thing and would likely have a similar number of interested bettors and a similar revenue stream to aid with social and economic programs in the state.
Maine also compares to New Hampshire in that neither state has a pro sports team and has a limited number of Division I college and universities.
Perhaps New Hampshire’s success, or potential lack thereof, will be the catalyst for Maine in 2021. New Hampshire just green-lit betting in December 2019. Of course, the coronavirus outbreak will have a significant impact on state revenues for the first full year of sports betting, but New Hampshire can be the test case for Maine, where an expansion of gambling made it through the state legislature and would seem to be okay with the general public. There hasn’t been any reported great opposition to betting.
The first real big try came up short. Maybe Mills will change her tune with a better bill or with some facts and figures from New Hampshire. Her reservations were more on the social and moral side than anything else, so maybe a sweeter tax rate or a greater revenue stream for the state would get her on board. Whatever the case, Maine is close enough and the legislature is on the same page to the point where an approval of sports betting is coming.
It just won’t be until 2021 at the earliest.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Maine?
With Maine unable to pass legislation, the options are to go out of state. New Hampshire would be the most obvious answer, where interested Mainers can sign up for the DraftKings app and start betting while located in the state of New Hampshire. For right now, that is the best option.
Massachusetts has yet to approve sports betting, but will be doing so sooner rather than later. New Hampshire is closer, but for any Mainers going down to Boston or any of the other Massachusetts landmarks, it will only be a matter of time.
Another option is just to wait. Mills will be in office until at least 2023, so the legislature or the voters will have to either convince her in that time or root against her re-election down the line. There is also the hope that there is enough support to overturn any potential veto with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.
It seems like Maine is a favorite to get sports betting over the next couple of years, particularly as it spreads across the country, but it won’t happen in 2020.