Senator Joseph Baldacci is an advocate of sports betting as he attempts to bring a legalized sports betting market to Maine. On Thursday, he announced in a news conference that he plans on proposing an amendment to legalizing sports gambling in the Pine Tree State.
What’s Included in the Bill to Bring Sports Betting to Maine
The amendment would allow casinos to apply for mobile sports betting licenses. This would also allow the Hollywood Casino Hotel at Bangor Raceway and Oxford Casino Hotel to operate retail sports betting. Oxford Casino could also do it at its gaming facility.
Currently, the bill permits the state’s four Wabanaki tribes to apply for licenses that include the Micmac, Maliseet, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy. This would ultimately give six percent of the state’s online gaming revenue to the tribes.
The tribes could gain control of a potentially lucrative sports betting market as the bill received approval from the state’s House 81-53. Senator Joseph Baldacci stated that he doesn’t have the tribes’ full support as they believe that allowing casinos to partake in the option would take away the sovereignty they have developed.
Maine’s Wabanaki tribes stated that the 1980 agreement has left them out of any amendments to the federal law that has benefited over 500 other tribal nations across the United States.
What is the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was a jurisdictional framework that governs gaming on tribal lands as there was no structure before this. This allowed traditional Indian games as well as bingo lottos and certain card games to take place on tribal lands.
However, in Maine, the settlement agreement made the pursuit of such enterprises contingent on voters on a ballot or legislative approval. House Democratic leader Michelle Dunphy stated that the sports gaming bill would correct anything wrong that’s taking place and help the Penobscot tribe prosper in her district.
She went on to say;
“It will also, however, be another important step in a long journey over 500 years in the making,…The journey of our communities transforming themselves from conquerors and occupiers among a proud people, to becoming neighbors.”
Sen. Baldacci also wants a win-win scenario to come out of this situation. He stated at a conference;
“We’re not looking to create divisions.”
What are the Projections for the Maine Sports Betting Market
Maine is home to over 13 million people, which has the eighth smallest population in the country. If the market launched, the monthly sports betting handles would be nowhere close to what states like New York and New Jersey bring in.
However, during a work session in March, Maine Gambling Control Unit Executive Director Milton Champion stated that the Pine Tree State could bring in $6.9 million from sports betting annually. This is compared to the $60 million per year the casinos contribute to the state.
Those who reside in Maine want to use a mobile sportsbook as they have been crossing state lines to go to New Hampshire. New Hampshire only offers Draftkings Sportsbook as the only mobile platform available in the state.