Maine Releases Proposed Sports Betting Rules | lifestyle

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine began the formal process of introducing sports betting Wednesday by publishing proposed rules, but it will be months before the first bets are placed, officials said.

The law passed by state lawmakers went into effect in August, but the director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit said it’s important to move slowly to get the rules right.

A timeline proposed by Milt Champion suggested the licenses could be issued between April and January. He said he could not be more specific until the public weighed in in the coming weeks.

A public hearing is scheduled for January 31.

“I know it’s a hot topic. I know everyone wants it out during the Super Bowl or during March Madness. But let’s face it. That’s just not going to happen,” he told reporters so quickly.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills handed control of the mobile and online sports betting market to Maine Indian tribes, providing an olive branch after her veto threat defeated their proposal for more sovereignty.

Mobile and online betting is expected to account for 85% of Maine’s sports betting market, which will be a source of revenue for tribes. Each tribe can choose its own contractor, meaning there can be up to four licenses for the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy tribes in Indian Township and Pleasant Point, the Houlton Band of Maliseets and the Mi’kmaq.

Existing Maine casinos in Bangor and Oxford can also apply for licenses along with off-track betting parlors.

Thirty-six states have already legalized sports gambling since a 2018 US Supreme Court decision opened the door to sports betting.

New England, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island allow sports betting, and Massachusetts is waiting to launch after legalization, said Dan Wallach of the Sports Wagering and Integrity Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

In Maine, sports betting is expected to generate between $3.8 million and $6.9 million in state revenue in 2022, in addition to $64 million from casinos and other legal gambling in 2022, Champion said.

Champion said Wednesday that Maine did not reinvent the wheel with the proposed rules. Maine researched rules already in place in other states and modeled the state rules after them.

He said he would like to see bets made this summer when tourists visit the state, but said there are no guarantees.

It depends on factors, including how the public comment period plays out and the length of the attorney general’s review, he said.

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