Home > New Bill in Maine Would Expand Parimutuel Wagering Options

While Maine continues to work on its rules in advance of rolling out retail and online sports betting later this year, a Senate bill is set for a hearing next week that could change how the state operates its parimutuel wagering on horse racing.

Sentae Bill 732 — sponsored by state Senator Bradlee Farrin (R), along with three other Republicans and three Democrats — would replace the state’s current Advance-Deposit Wagering (ADW), which only allows Penn National to take wagers on horse racing in the state.

The new bill would allow other companies — such as FanDuel (TVG), BetMGM and Caesars — to operate in Maine, as they do in other states.

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The current system, in place since May 2020, allows for only Penn National and has not brought in the revenue that had been projected.

The agreement with Penn National is in the third year of a five-year deal, but the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) can opt out at any time during the remaining time period.

The bill, currently in the state’s Legal and Veteran Affairs Committee, will be heard March 8 and is the only item on the committee’s agenda that day.

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How Maine Sports Betting Will Work

On Jan. 11, the MGCU unveiled to the public a 56-page document detailing proposed rules for sports wagering in the state. While in the rule-making process, applications can be submitted and background investigations will be completed to prepare for issuance of licenses when rules finally become adopted.

The comment period for the proposed rules began Jan. 31 and ends Friday.

Once those comments have been discussed and completed, the MGCU can begin the process of approving retail and mobile sports betting providers — likely including national players such as BetMGM Sportsbook.

It is expected the first live wagers won’t be placed until sometime between April 2023 and January 2024, but that could be moved up if all items have been completed, approved and implemented.

Maine sports betting was adopted by the state legislature and went into effect in August 2022, but the state took its time to get the rules right and then submit them to the public. The state did so last month.

Mobile wagering is expected to account for 85% of the sports betting market in Maine, providing a conduit for revenue. The tribes in the state will get about half of the earnings from sports wagering. Different entities, such as the state’s General Fund, management service companies and others, will get smaller percentages.

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. A potential of 14 total licenses could be issued, which likely would include many of the major national sports betting apps.

In the New England region, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have live sports betting. Massachusetts just launched retail sportsbooks on Jan. 31, with mobile sports betting coming next Friday, March 10. 

Stay close to U.S. Betting Report for updates on news as well as reviews of national mobile sports betting apps.

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