Three Sports Betting Bills Introduced In Maine Legislature

Rhode Island is currently the only state in New England that offers legal sports betting, but Maine is looking like the front runner to be the second.

There are currently three bills in Maine’s state legislature that could legalize the activity and have residents betting on sports by 2020. SB 553, introduced in January, acted as a placeholder bill, and two more bills have been introduced by state representatives.

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos (I) is one of the several sponsors of LD 1348, which was introduced in March. The bill is modeled after the one that made sports betting legal in New Jersey. Gamblers 21 and over would be allowed to place bets on both professional and collegiate sports at the state’s two casinos, racetracks, off-track betting parlors, and online.

Under Evangelos’ bill, a license would cost operators $30,000 and their revenue would be taxed at 25 percent. All of that would be funneled towards the state’s education programs.

“We are not reinventing anything,” Evangelos told the Portland Press Herald. “It is an established model that works.”

Rep. Dustin White, a Republican, is one of the many sponsors to a separate bill, LD 1515. His model would work slightly differently.

Under LD 1515, which was introduced last week, those that are 18 and over can gamble on sports and the betting would only take place at racetracks and off-track betting parlors. There would be no online or mobile betting if this bill became the law of the land.

Licenses would cost $5,000 and revenue would be taxed at 18 percent. The tax revenue would be split between education, state college scholarship funds, the state’s Indian tribes, and most of it would go to support the state’s harness racing industry.

Both bills have bipartisan support. According to the Portland Press Herald, there are several bills still being drafted and will be introduced in the near future.

There are no reliable estimates as to how much tax revenue Maine could generate with legal sports betting, but if recent results from other states are any indication, Maine would be well served to keep mobile/online betting in the bill.

Rhode Island was expecting $1 million per month in revenue. It’s only generating about $50,000. West Virginia brought in $862,000 in tax revenue since last September, but with four months left in the fiscal year, it looks like they will fall well short of its projected $5.5 million. Mississippi is only on track to generate half of its $5 million projections.

New Jersey and Delaware are the only states to reach their projected revenue and New Jersey is the only state with legal online and mobile betting.

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