Who would have thought that Maine would be up there with the quick movers of opening up sports betting to its residents? In May 2019, seven Bills have been presented to government, with the seven quickly reduced to one. It is anticipated that this remaining Bill will incorporate the core principles of all seven and will include mobile sports betting.
By the end of this month, a comprehensive outline of how an open sports betting market would work, regulatory and operationally, will be put forward. This together with the one Bill will be discussed at length. This possibly being the last hurdle of deliberation required before sports betting legalization can be either passed or rejected.
Should Maine pass the Bill, based on the speed of other States such as Pennsylvania, it would require approximately one year or more in order to operationalize.
Where does Maine stand compared to other New England States?
All states in New England have been discussing the legalization of sports betting. With the exception of Rhode Island, which has already legalized sports betting, Maine is at the forefront of putting forward any sports betting Bill for discussion. Presumably the unexpected momentum shown in Maine is recognition by Maine lawmakers that they do not want to be left behind. Perhaps there is fear that if Maine does not follow suite, then a part of the gaming revenue pie will be lost to other states. However some argue that Maine is so small (both in population and geography), that the lost revenue will not be significant.
On the flip side, if Maine were to be the first mover among New England states, not only will it retain its share of the revenue pie, but will possibly draw revenue from other states that have yet to legalize. This would certainly shock peer New England States into action – whether it legalizes sports betting or not, to at least come to a decision.
So far opposition to opening sports betting laws to Maine residents has been far and few. That’s not to say, that there are not any legitimate concerns, but should opposition to the changes in laws to sports betting be successful a more concerted effort is required. The against argue that opening sports betting to the people will promote gambling addiction, whilst proponents argue that there is already a black market in sports gambling, and therefore it should be regulated in order to capture lost revenue.
Will Maine become the second New England state behind Rhode Island to legalize sports betting? It remains to be seen, but they are currently leading the New England pack.