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Maine Sports Betting Launch: Rules Are Live, But A Long Wait Ahead

Sports betting isn't nationwide yet as states like Maine continue to push for the launch of legal sports betting in The Pine State.

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The Maine sports betting launch isn’t here yet.

However, news on the state’s operator rules has arrived. Mobile sports betting providers hoping to operate in Maine must pay initial fees that exceed $200,000. On top of that, operators must pay their 10% in state taxes quarterly, carry millions of dollars in cyber liability insurance, and avoid using professional athletes, celebrities, or entertainers in their advertising in Pine Tree State.

Those are just some of the rules governing sports betting in Maine, which the state’s Gambling Control Unit released in a 56-page document. Regulators in Maine will next hold a series of public comment sessions beginning Jan. 31 in the state capital of Augusta before undertaking the process of licensing prospective retail and mobile sports betting operator. These sessions could push the state’s launch of legal sports betting into early 2024.

“I know this is a hot topic,” Milton Champion, director of Maine’s Gambling Control Unit, recently told WMTV-TV of Portland, Maine. “I know everybody wants it either out during the Super Bowl or during March Madness, but let’s face it, it’s just not going to happen. So we can look for next year.”

Maine Sports Betting Launch: Fees, Insurance, and Taxes

The Maine sports betting launch is clearly taking its time, given that Gov. Janet Mills signed sports betting into law in May of 2022.

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The Maine law gives the state’s Native American tribes sole access to legal mobile betting to generate money to benefit tribal healthcare, infrastructure, and education. Maine’s existing non-tribal gaming facilities, which include a pair of state-licensed casinos, will be limited to in-person sports betting.

Operators seeking to offer sports betting in Maine must first pay for a nonrefundable background investigation, which costs $5,000 for prospective retail sportsbooks and $10,000 for online operators. Application fees include $200,000 for a mobile license, $4,000 for a facility license, and $40,000 for a management services license. Licenses expire after four years and can be renewed at the same rate as the initial fee.

Prospective licensees in Maine must also carry two types of insurance. Those insurances include cyber liability, which protects against data breaches and other cybersecurity issues. Along with errors & omissions insurance, which protects against losses not covered by traditional liability insurance. Operators anticipating fewer than 100,000 player accounts and less than $15 million in revenue must maintain $5 million in each type of coverage. In comparison, operators anticipating more than 100,000 player accounts and greater than $15 million in revenue must maintain $10 million in each type of coverage.

The 10% of gross wagering receipts due to the state in taxes must be paid by 5 p.m. local time on April 10, July 10, Oct. 10, and Jan. 10 for each preceding quarter. Mobile operators must also use a geolocation system to “reasonably detect” the location of bettors to ensure they are within the state’s boundaries, as specified by law, and block any unauthorized attempts to access the system from outside the state.

Maine’s Restrictions On Sports Betting Ads

The platform must collect information to establish a sports betting account with a mobile operator in Maine.

At the minimum, that includes the user’s legal name and date of birth. The last four digits of a Social Security number or equivalent for foreign patrons, such as a passport or tax identification number. An email address and residential address (post office boxes are not acceptable). And lastly, a phone number. A customer can have only one sports wagering account for each operator or management service provider and cannot transfer funds to another user.

A sports betting operator or its management service provider may use sports wagering kiosks to conduct wagering transactions in conjunction with an approved sports wagering system. The kiosks will be placed in locations approved by the Gambling Control Unit. A sports wagering kiosk cannot redeem a sports wagering voucher with a value of more than $3,000 or issue a ticket with a potential payout of more than $10,000.

Sports betting license holders in Maine are prohibited from using cartoon characters, professional or Olympic athletes, celebrities, or entertainers in their advertising materials. In addition, television ads by sports betting operators may appear only during an event and only on the channel where the event is being telecast when wagers are offered in Maine. Television ads also cannot publicize promotions or bonuses, and promos cannot be described as “risk-free” if the user must incur a loss or use their own money to take advantage of the offer.

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Maine Following Suit With Ad Restrictions

State governments have begun to get tough on sports betting providers who try to skirt advertising rules.

Ohio, which launched sports betting on Jan. 1, is among the states threatening fines to platforms for infractions such as holding an event on a college campus or mailing advertising materials to residents under the legal betting age of 21.

Maine is learning from its predecessors when it comes to legal sports betting.

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