On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, Maine’s state legislature passed L.D. 585 that will legalize retail and online sports betting throughout the state once signed by Governor Janet Mills. If enacted, the bill would give the state’s four federally-recognized Indian tribes the exclusive ability to offer mobile sports betting and the state’s non-tribal gaming facilities the exclusive ability to offer retail sports betting. The bill imposes a 10% tax on adjusted gross sports wagering receipts.
Under the bill, retail and online sports betting would be governed by the Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit (the Department). The Department would be authorized to issue up to 10 Facility Sports Wagering Licenses, which would allow license holders to conduct brick-and-mortar sports betting operations. Facility Licenses would be available to the state’s commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities and Oxford County casinos.
The Department would also be authorized to issue Mobile Sports Wagering Licenses to each of the state’s four federally recognized Indian Tribes. Under the bill, licensed Tribes could either conduct their own online sports betting operations or partner with a third-party online betting platform operator who may conduct online sports betting operations on the Tribe’s behalf, provided the operator has obtained a Management Service License.
Notably, the legislation also allows Mobile and Facility License applicants to request a “temporary” license from the Department. If granted, these “temporary” licenses would allow applicants to conduct sports betting operations as though fully licensed while the Department reviews their permanent license applications – a process that could take several months. Similar “temporary license” provisions have been used to accelerate sports betting “launch” timelines in several other states including, most recently, Louisiana.
TIMELINE FOR SPORTS BETTING LAUNCH
Even if Governor Mills signs the newly-passed sports betting bill in the coming days, sports betting cannot officially “launch” statewide until the Department promulgates sports wagering regulations and begins issuing licenses. As this juncture, it is too soon to tell how long those processes may take.
White and Williams will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and provide updates regarding significant developments.