Maine legalises retail and online sports betting

Maine’s Governor Janet Mills has signed into law a bill legalising both retail and tribal-run online sports betting.

The Pine Tree State is home to four federally-recognised American Indian tribes; the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, which comprise the Wabanaki Nations.

Under this new legislation, bill LD 585, Maine’s tribes may now apply for a licence to offer online sports wagering. To retain a mobile betting licence, they must make a $200,000 payment every four years. They may partner with one online operator each.

Casinos and off-track betting facilities are also authorised to accept in-person wagers under this new law, including Churchill Downs’ property in Oxford. This will cost operators $4,000, likewise, to be paid every four years. Operators must further remit 10% of their adjusted gross wagering receipts to the State.

But this bill goes further than betting. Intended to improve state and tribal relations, LD 585 builds on prior efforts undertaken by Mills’ administration and Maine’s tribal entities.

These include a ban on the use of Native American mascots, replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the establishment of “a permanent commission on the status of racial, indigenous and Maine tribal populations.”

“This law provides meaningful economic opportunities for the Wabanaki Nations. It incentivises investment in tribal communities, and it formalises a collaboration process on policy that sets the foundation for a stronger relationship in the future,” said Mills.

“I am proud of the work that the Wabanaki Nations and the State put into drafting this legislation, and I am grateful for the honest effort, the extensive research and the hundreds of hours of negotiations and discussions which bore fruit in this bill.”