The legalization of sports betting has been the center of debate in the state of Maine for quite some time, but it looks like we finally have a decision. Maine was looking to become the 21st state to legalize sports betting since the federal ban was lifted, but it now appears that that is going to have to wait.
Maine was hoping to approve a sports betting bill that would make both online and retail sports wagering legal state-wide, but the Governor had other plans. A quick veto by Governor Janet Mills threw a huge wrinkle in the plans, but the lawmakers in the state still had the final say.
Bill L.D. 553 was sponsored by Senator Louis Luchini, who was also chair of the committee that was able to hammer out the details of the bill. The bill was set to tax sports betting revenues in casinos at 10 percent while taxing online sports betting revenue at 16 percent.
Lawmakers argued that the revenue would help solve the budget crisis in the state, and would be used to provide funding for several new projects. The casino industry in Maine was in support of the bill, as were major sports betting companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
The bill was able to make it through both the House and Senate before landing on the desk of Governor Janet Mills. Mills was very clear about her opposition to the bill from the beginning, and she wasted little time in vetoing the bill.
Override The Veto
There was a chance that the bill could still become a law, but it needed to be overridden in the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives voted on Tuesday, and the vote did not go the way that people in the sports betting industry would have hoped. The final tally was 85 votes in favor of overriding the veto, while there were 57 votes against the measure.
Ninety-five votes were needed to override the veto and make L.D. 553 a law. The Senate voted to override the veto by a vote of 30-10 last week, leaving the decision ultimately up to the House of Representatives.
Fifty-six Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to override the veto, while 25 Republicans and four independents also supported the measure. Twenty-eight Republicans and 27 Democrats voted to keep the veto intact, which was largely expected by political experts in Maine.
Most critics of this bill have supported some form of expanding gambling in the state, but they felt that sports betting went against the state’s Constitution.
There is a chance that another sports betting bill could once again show up on the desk of Mills, but both the House and Senate would once again have to approve the measure. The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee could also sponsor a new bill and get it to Mills, or the Governor could sponsor a new bill herself.
All three outcomes seem unlikely at this point, but there could be some traction again in 2021.