The Bill Was Introduced Last Year in June

February 19, 2020 Matt Speakman

The Senate of the state of Maine voted 20-10 on Thursday to pass the legislation of a bill by Governor Janet Mills to allow sports gambling.

Janet Mills posing

Governor Mills © Janet Mills/Flickr

The bill introduced by the Senate in June last year will unlock the door to both in-person and online sports betting in the state, however, the House will also have to decide to amend, requiring a two-thirds majority, in order for the legislation to become law.

This legislation was among three that Governor Mills rejected in January and was among 40 which she had kept since June’s final legislative session finished. The vote on Thursday was overwhelmingly bipartisan in which five Republicans joined 15 Democrats to vote for the veto. Nevertheless, seven of the Republicans and three of the Democrats gave positive votes. Measurement, L.D. 553, is a combination of seven measures that came to the Legislature in 2019 and would allow just about any individual interested in playing a piece of profits. This encountered no organized resistance in the Legislature.

It would allow casino owners to operate sports-betting activities, off-track betting parlors, harness racing tracks and Native American tribes in Maine. The bill would also allow online companies to register for licenses that would permit them to operate regardless of casinos.

Luichini Encouraged His Colleagues to Put a Veto

Last month’s veto letter from Mills underscored tax concerns and concentrated on the potential danger to children and minimal-income Mainers from the bill. In the past few weeks, gambling owners in Bangor and Oxford have been actively pressuring politicians to retain the veto, they support legislation that would allow sports gambling to be tied to casinos.

Luchini suggested restricting sports betting to casino-related activities would be unreasonable since the casinos currently have a gaming monopoly. He pointed out to the fact that ever since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 removed the federal ban for sports betting, it has been legalized in 20 states.

However, Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, who is a primary sponsor of the bill, has encouraged his coworkers to put a veto.

“The rationale for these bills is large because the illegal market in the U.S. is massive, as most of us know. And anytime you bet through a bookie or an illegal online website, you run the risk that you don’t get paid because they just don’t have anybody to account to” – shared Luchini.

Maine’s Marketplace is Not Opened To Foreign Businesses

Opponents of the bill, including Senator Scott Cyrway, claim that allowing foreign businesses to access Maine’s marketplace is unacceptable to casino owners who’ve already invested in the state, hired employees here and paid taxes there. According to Cyrway two casinos made investments more than $1 billion in the state and opened 1000 employment positions.

Luchini also said that the legislation of Maine takes that into consideration by charging mobile sports betting companies at 16 percent as opposed to 10 percent for those operated from Maine’s physical sites.

The bill would also mandate casinos to receive the same permits as casinos, allocate funds to discourage problem gambling, require the posting of help-line statistics, and authorize the state’s Gambling Control Board to regulate the promotion of sports betting.

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