Maine to launch online mobile sports wagering in November

Sports Betting

Regulators expect sports betting in Maine to go live this November, the most certain date given so far in a protracted four-year process of getting it into law.

Betting on sports was allowed under a 2018 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Gov. Janet Mills vetoed one attempt to legalize it here in 2020 before making a 2022 compromise with the state’s four federally recognized tribes giving them full control of the larger mobile betting market, leaving the in-person side for established casinos and off-track betting parlors.

The state now looks like it will beat an initial estimate that betting could go live as late as 2024. But implementation has taken longer than most other states. Maine is among the last to enter the market, with 34 having live betting now, according to the American Gaming Association.

Final rules for the program were sent by Maine gaming regulators to Attorney General Aaron Frey’s office after a Friday deadline for public comments, putting betting on track for November. The rules were mostly uncontroversial, except for strong controls on advertising in an initial set that were opposed by TV networks and were weakened in a second draft.

Temporary or initial licenses will be in place by that day, allowing betting to go live. Caesars Sportsbook will be a major player after signing a mobile betting agreement with the Penobscot, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq tribes. The Passamaquoddy tribe has not announced a partner.

The market is expected to be small, with Maine regulators expecting no more than $6.9 million in annual revenue, according to a fiscal estimate last year. Operators will be taxed at 10 percent of gross revenue. The mobile portion is expected to account for roughly 85 percent of betting.