Maine sports wagers surpass $237 million 

Sports Betting

Gamblers in Maine are making use of new online betting, with nearly $237 million in wagers in the first six months.

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 $197 million in gross receipts alone from November 2023 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. 

Whether that will happen, Champion said, remains to be seen. The first four months of the year, he noted, are particularly busy for sports gambling.

“I’m going to be really interested to see how those summer months work out as well,” he said.

With 2024 being an Olympic year, Champion said betting on the Olympics might give online betting a boost this year. 

There is little indication that the first six months of online betting have had an impact on gambling addiction.  

A spokesperson from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that its Office of Substance Abuse Problem Gambling indicated there was no sign of an uptick in calls for assistance due to online sports betting.

Champion said his office also monitors systems for self-exclusion. Similar to gambling casinos, he said customers who fear they are gambling too much can volunteer to haver online betting vendors block them from using the service. So far, he said, only four people have asked to be excluded.