Discussions on the legalization of Maine sports betting will have to wait until at least January of 2022 to begin again.
The Maine Senate wrapped up its 2021 legislative session this week without taking action on House approved sports betting bill, LD 1352, which would have legalized statewide in-person and online sports betting.
The next legislative session for the state will open on Jan. 5, 2022.
No 2021 Maine Sports Betting
The proposed bill requires online sports betting operators to be tethered with either the two existing Maine casinos, one racetrack, five OTBs and potentially Maine’s four Native American tribes. The original bill’s sponsor Senator Louis Luchini (D-7) originally wrote the bill as not having a tethering requirement, which became a controversial point of the betting plan.
Another bill, LD 554, which would allow Maine’s four Native American tribes to offer gambling on their lands, was passed by both the House and Senate in June.
The sports betting bill had a strange path through the Maine legislature. Luchini tried to kill his own bill in the Senate after an amendment was approved that required online sports betting license operators to be tethered to existing Maine casinos.
Maine Online Sports Betting Tethering?
His original draft of the bill proposed a Maine sports betting plan that would open the state to an uncapped amount of online sports betting licenses that would not have to be tethered or partnered to a brick-and-mortar facility.
Tethering is “anti-competitive and anti-free market,” he explained during a June Senate session, and would ultimately result in less consumer choice for his constituents.
“The end result is less consumer choice for our constituents and higher operator costs for our platforms. That cost won’t get absorbed by the online platforms, it will get passed on to the tens or potentially hundreds of thousands Mainers who want to place bets on the online apps. That will come in the form of worse payouts and odds,” Luchini said in June.
New England States Legalizing Sports Betting
When Maine takes up discussions again in 2022, they could potentially be the fourth New England state to legalize sports betting. Rhode Island was the first state to legalize sports betting in May 2018, followed by New Hampshire in July 2019.
Connecticut has since legalize online and in-person sports betting in May 2021. Massachusetts will also hold a hearing on a new sports betting bill this week.