Maine sports wagers near $40 million in May

Sports Betting

Gamblers in Maine are making use of new online betting with $39.9 million of wagers in May.

Milton Champion, executive director of the state’s gambling control unit, said Friday that he found betting operations have gone smoothly since online betting began in November 2023. That includes high-volume periods such as the Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness.

“In all avenues of oversight, the operators have been very cooperative, and just great to work with,” he said. Gov. Janet Mills granted Maine’s federally recognized Native American tribes’ exclusive rights to operate online sports betting, with 10% of the tribes’ adjusted revenues going to the state. 

The state unit’s data on revenues is split between two vendors: Boston-based DraftKings, which the Passamaquoddy tribe selected for its vendor, and Caesar’s Sportsbook, of Reno, Nevada, the vendor used by the Penobscot Nation, Maliseets and Mi’kmaq.

Overall, DraftKings brought in the most, with just over $33 million in gross receipts alone from May, through April 2024. After nearly $178 million in winnings payouts, federal taxes and other fees, the Passamaquoddy Tribe earned a net receipt of more than $23 million. Of that, state taxes added up to $2.3 million.

Caesars secured $42.8 million in gross revenues from November 2023 through April 2024. The Penobscot Nation, Maliseets and Mi’kmaq split nearly $2.3 million after paying out $40.5 million in payouts, fees and federal taxes. State revenues from Caesars totaled more than $229,600.

Between both vendors, state revenues since November 2023 totaled more than $2.5 million. 

Champion said it will take a full single calendar year to truly grasp whether the venture into online sports betting will earn Maine what officials are estimating in terms of tax revenue. 

Initial estimates, Champion said, ranged from $3.8 million to as high as $6.9 million.

“I’d been leaning a little bit more toward the six,” Champion said, but acknowledged that $3.8 million is more realistic.

So far, Champion said, revenues are on track to at least beat the $3.8 million estimate. For the first four months of 2024, he said, state revenues add up to $1.6 million. If the trend continues, he said, that could make for as much as $4.8 million for the year.