Maine Sports Betting Making Progress

Sports betting might be technically legal in the state of Maine, but that doesn’t mean that there are any operators currently accepting wagers. Governor Janet Mills officially signed a sports betting bill into law in 2022, and it’s taking the state a long time to get things up and running. 

Progress is being made by the Maine Gambling Control Unit, and that is the group that will be regulating and running the industry. The MGCU has been working on coming up with the official rules for the industry, and there have been multiple drafts made. 

The most recent change in the rules is a loosening on the advertising restrictions that were previously in place for potential sports betting operators. Regulators in Maine want to ensure that those under 21 are not targeted, and that all of the advertisements promote responsible gambling. 

Residents in Maine are now going to get a chance to comment on the most recent draft, and changes could always be made before those rules are officially passed. If this current draft of rules is accepted though, Maine residents should be able to place their bets at some point in early 2024. 

Caesars Setting to Become Leader

Caesars Sportsbook has a chance to dominate the sports betting market in the state of Maine as some of the top competition isn’t even expected to apply for a license. Caesars has already announced a partnership with three of the four Native American tribes, but it’s unclear what they intend to do with the sports betting licenses. 

The three tribes in Maine that are now partners with Caesars include the: Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, and Penobscot Tribes. Caesars could choose to use all three of those skins to create a monopoly on the market, or it could choose to allow other operators into the state. 

The sports betting alliance is made up of BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, and FanDuel, and those are some of the biggest operators in the industry. That group of operators are not going to be applying for a license in Maine due to concerns over revenue sharing. 

BetMGM is going to factor into the sports betting scene in Maine, but only as it applies to retail sports wagering. It plans to partner with several OTBs to launch retail sportsbooks throughout the state, but the BetMGM Sportsbook app won’t be operators. 

Penn Entertainment is expected to launch the Barstool Sportsbook as a retail option and Churchill Downs could be looking to do the same at its casino. 

Changes Have Already Been Made

Maine could have set up a sports betting market similar to what is found in other states, and it had plenty of options to look at. Instead, Maine chose to go in a completely different direction and it’s expected to hurt the overall numbers. 

Native American tribes are going to be getting 50% of the sports betting revenue, and the state will just keep 10% of the profits. That number could change in the future, and the tribes could look to come up with their own revenue sharing plans. 

This most recent draft of sports betting rules did come with some changes, but they were very minor in nature. Lawmakers spent a few years trying to come up with a bill that would get passed, and the regulators didn’t want to make big changes. 

The Attorney General is going to have to approve the final rules at some point, and that is what will cause the most significant delay before the launch.