Maine Daily Fantasy Sports
Maine became the 15th state to officially legalize daily fantasy sports when Governor Paul LePage’s inaction turned a bill into law in August 2018. The law now declares that fantasy sports are a game of skill, and therefore exempt from the other gambling laws in the state. This also means that there is a different minimum age for this game than for much other gambling; players must be at least 18 to participate daily fantasy sports.
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Gambling Laws in Maine
The gambling laws in Maine are some of the most black-and-white in the whole of the United States, apart from those with sweeping laws that make all forms of wagering illegal. In Maine, types of gambling are legal across most of the different sections, though each are regulated and restricted in some way. For example, Mainers are able to visit a casino to play slots, baccarat or roulette at one of the two legally operating casinos. They are also able to bet on the ponies with pari-mutuel wagers at the racetrack or off-site locations, though no other sports betting is currently allowed. There is a long-standing lottery that only allows tickets to be sold in person, and participating in daily fantasy sports is totally legalized as of 2017. The only exception is for poker, which has clear-cut rules for land-based games – only allowed in the casinos – but relies only on the federal laws to cover online poker.
Sports Betting in Maine
At this stage, the only forms of bets allowed on sports in Maine are the pari-mutuel wagers made at the horse racetrack. This was the first form of gambling in the state, having been legalized in 1950. This only applies to harness racing, as a law in 1993 specifically banned greyhound racing. However, as a fairly pro-gambling state, Maine is only of many that are currently working out the kinks for the best way to legalize other forms of sports betting in the state. It has proposed a bill to be considered in the 2019 sitting, which could see online and land-based sports betting legally allowed.
There are two locations in Maine that offer a selection of casino games, both owned by out-of-state corporations. They are the Oxford Casino and Hotel and the Hollywood Casino in Bangor, which is technically a racetrack that also allows some form of casino gambling – a “racino”. None of the four Native American tribes that are recognized in Maine have been allowed to run casinos, which is a little out of the ordinary compared to most other states, where the situation is reversed. There are currently no online casino options legal in Maine.
Mainers have few options when it comes to playing poker, as it is only legally allowed to take place within the casinos. Both the Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino offer a small selection of poker tables, including Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em and 7-Card Stud. The Hollywood Casino offers a number of different tournaments and timed offers too, which adds a bit of extra excitement. When it comes to online gambling, there are no specific laws banning the practice however there are also no online poker rooms based from Maine. As the law states that poker must be played in one of the legal casinos, it is assumed that the authorities could also crack down on gamblers playing poker online, if they should choose to do so.
There is a state-run lottery in Maine, which has been running since 1974 after being voted in by Maine residents in a referendum. It is currently a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), meaning that it includes national games such as Powerball in its offerings, as well as a number of other draw games. None of the tickets are available for purchase online, though. As with all government operated lotteries, the profits are all to be funneled back into the state, with over $1.24 billion being sent to the State Government General Fund since the program’s inception. This has benefitted local schools, higher education and health services, among others.
History of Gambling in Maine
Though Maine has a long history of gambling dating back to the first legalization of horse racing in 1950, there haven’t been a lot of big changes taking place. That being said, all of the changes that do occur have been firm and resolute, both in banning some forms of gambling and regulating others. The table below gives a quick overview of some of the most important changes to the laws.
|1950||Pari-mutuel wagers on harness racing is legalized, with the Scarborough Downs racetrack opening the same year.|
|1974||A referendum passes with Maine residents voting to start a state lottery.|
|1988||Maine introduces tribal gambling contacts, allowing the four tribes to offer high-stakes bingo.|
|1993||All forms of greyhound racing are banned.|
|2010||A law is created to allow two casinos to operate, the Oxford Casino and the Hollywood Casino in Bangor open soon after.|
|2014||A bill tries and fails to expand the tribal contacts to include casino games.|
|2017||Maine passed laws to allow licensed and registered fantasy sports contests.|
Maine State Facts
The most northeastern state in the US, Maine is particularly well known for its seafood, providing more lobster to the rest of the country than anywhere else. As such, it holds annual Lobster Boat Races in Boothbay Harbor, though making bets on the outcome of the event are not allowed. The same goes for the state’s Lobsterman Triathlon, which is instead followed with a Lobsterbake.
|Offline Location||Hollywood Casino Bangor|
|Commissioner||State of Maine Gambling Control Unit|
|Spoken Languages||English, French|
|Sports Team||Maine Red Claws|
|Tax Authority||Maine Revenue Services|
Gambling Age in Maine
In order to enter one of the two land-based casinos in Maine, players must be at least 21 years of age, with the Oxford Casino stating that “two forms of ID may be required”. When it comes to participating in the daily fantasy sports, the law created in 2017 allows players over 18 years. The Maine Lottery also prohibits sales of tickets to under 18s, though it does state that those younger than 18 may receive tickets as gifts.
Online Gambling Age:
Responsible Gambling and Addiction Prevention
Maine does not have an affiliation with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), instead offering services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services state agency. Here, it runs the Maine Council on Problem Gambling, which offers self exclusion services, as well as Webinars aiming to educate the population on the early warning signs and treatment options for problem gambling.
Upcoming Regulation and Expected Changes
There is currently a bill heading for debate that offers options for ways to legalize sports betting in Maine. The options include allowing only Native American tribe-run locations to have permissions, while another path would allow the two casinos in the state to add sports betting to their offerings. The bills also aim to legalize online and mobile wagers for sports bets.