As New England focused on the preparations to launch retail Massachusetts sports betting at the end of the month, a neighboring state got in on the action.
The Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) made public Wednesday morning a 56-page document detailing proposed rules for sports wagering in the state.
The rules can be found here.
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Sports betting was adopted by the Maine Legislature and went into effect in August 2022, but the state took its time to get the rules right.
A series of public comment sessions will begin in Augusta on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. That also happens to be the first day of retail sports betting in Massachusetts. Once those sessions have been completed, MGCU can begin the process of approving retail and mobile sports betting providers.
“I know this is a hot topic,” said Milton Champion, director of the MGCU, during a news conference after the rules were released. “You know, I know everybody wants it either out during the Super Bowl or March Madness, but let’s face it, it’s just not going to happen.”
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Maine Betting Could Be Year Away
It is expected that the first live wagers can’t be placed or accepted until a time frame between April 2023 and January 2024.
Mobile and online wagering in the state is expected to account for 85% of the sports betting market in Maine, providing a conduit for revenue for the tribes. The tribes in the state will get about half of the earnings from sports wagering and the state’s General Fund will get 10%, which could be between $3.8 to $6.9 million, according to Champion.
Each tribe can select its own vendor, meaning there could be up to four licenses for the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy tribes at Indian Township and Pleasant Point, Houlton Band of Maliseets and Mi’kmaq.
The state’s existing casinos in Bangor and Oxford also can request licenses, along with off-track betting (OTB) parlors.
Currently in the New England region, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have sports betting in operation with Massachusetts knocking on the door for retail later this month and mobile launching sometime before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in mid-March.
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